Knock, Knock: Boo’s There: How to Keep Your Trick-or-Treaters Safe Door-To-Door

Halloween trick or treating

Halloween is a night of revelry and merriment, mystery and indulgence. It is the one night when even the most protective parents allow their ghouls and goblins to take candy from strangers. They are encouraged to demand it actually - by threat of force or mischief, if necessary.

As parents, we want to minimize the threat of harm to our children. So here are more than half a dozen safety tricks to make sure that your children have nothing to fear while they are out scouting for candy this Halloween.

  • Instruct children to approach well-lit houses only. In addition to avoiding tripping hazards, kids need to know that houses without much lighting on Halloween are probably either empty or belong to homeowners who are attempting to avoid trick-or-treaters or have run out of candy. It is as important for your children's enjoyment of the evening that they avoid a grouch as that they avoid a fall.
  • Halloween is a terrifying time for animals, and many will be on the defensive. My daughter dressed as a black cat when she was four. Viper Voodoo, our beloved ten-year-old black cat, saw her and bristled. He let out unearthly howls and circled my shocked and horrified preschooler. I grabbed the mask off her face and shielded her body just as he hissed and leapt forward. Children should steer clear of animals who don't know them. If their costumes include masks, or face paint or prosthetics that conceal their features, they should also give the family pet a wide berth.
  • Take children to familiar neighborhoods. Preferably visit only the homes of friends, family, and acquaintances. In addition to the comfort of knowing from whence the candy came, your children will also have options for safe places, should you become separated.
  • Young children should be in the company of an adult or a significantly older sibling. Everything looks different at night. Between the costumes and the sugar high, youngsters can easily become disoriented or panic. Especially young children, even in groups, might unwittingly accept assistance from unscrupulous individuals, or be more susceptible to candy-swiping by trouble-making teens.
  • Older children who are trick-or-treating without an adult need to stick together.
  • Children should never enter stranger's homes or cars, for any reason whatsoever.
  • On sidewalks and in yards, watch for open flames. Also keep an eye out for tripping hazards, such rocks, flower pots, or garden hoses.

Remember to watch where you are walking, as well. A couple years ago, I dressed as a rag doll to take my daughter door-to-door. At the very first house, I helped her avoid stickers in the grass and open flames as we made it up the driveway and sidewalk, and schooled her again on candy-requesting etiquette while we waited on the front porch. Just as the homeowner started to open the door, I stepped back to give my daughter her space, and my Mary Janes caught on a garden hose that had been left unwound and stretched across the edge of the front walkway. The homeowner looked completely bewildered to find a five-foot-tall dejected rag doll splayed on his sidewalk - so much so that it was necessary for my daughter to repeat her plea for goodies a couple of times.

With the right preparation and precautions, you will not have the same thing happen to you. Happy Halloween!

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