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Halloween - Safety Tips for Parents
Originally I come from South Africa and Halloween was never a big deal there - in fact it was a complete non-event. When we immigrated to New Zealand, we discovered Halloween when we had vast numbers of children knocking on our door for candy. Now that we live in Australia we see a similar thing each year - the shops are full of Halloween paraphernalia. As a parent I can't help but be concerned when children roam the streets each year at Halloween - there are ways we can enable them to have both fun trick-or-treating and keep them safe at the same time.
- Safety in Numbers -Never allow your child to be alone when trick-or-treating. If they are very young then a responsible adult should always be with them.
- Plan your Route - Plan exactly where you will go for the evening - this way they don't expect the evening to go on all night and they know where and when you will finish. For older children (teens) who may not want you trailing after them, this allows you to know where they will be.
- Set up your own trick-or-treating with friends - To really protect your children you could arrange trick-or-treating among a few of your children's friends. Drive (or walk if close enough) to their homes and this way all treats will be safe and edible.
- Find local events that you are happy with - some schools or communities plan special Halloween events where there is supervision. This is a great way to celebrate without worrying about your children.
- Talk to your children - All year we teach our kids to be aware of strangers. We don't want them thinking that at Halloween all these rules go out the window. They need to know that they are not to engage with strangers or go into a stranger's home. They also need to be aware of food or candy that is given to them by people they don't know. Having you there makes this easier to inspect candy. All candy should be store wrapped.
- Street Safety - Talk to them about road safety and remaining on the sidewalk at all times. They need to wear visible and bright clothing so that they are noticeable to traffic. Make sure their clothing is not too dark especially if you are out at night.
- Safety - Teach your children to avoid houses that have dogs, are badly lit or dark, require them to be hidden from your street view. They also need to avoid candles or anything flammable as Halloween costumes are usually made of synthetic fibres.
- Halloween safety kit - All kids, even teenagers should carry certain items with them when trick-or-treating. They should have a charged mobile phone and a torch for when it gets dark.
- Keep it in your home - Another idea is for you to host a Halloween party in your own home. For young children you could have a Halloween treasure hunt and decorate your home accordingly.
Of course all these things apply to you when other people's children come to your door. Remember to light up your home and have appropriate, wrapped candy for them when they come.
There are many ways to keep our children safe during Halloween and the idea is to have fun. We want our kids to enjoy the experience but at the same time educate them so that the next generation of trick-or-treaters will be equally safe on Halloween nights.