For many children, being allowed to trick or treat without an adult is a rite of passage and a coming of age moment on a par with no longer thumb sucking or tying their shoe laces on their own. Whether you feel fine letting them out alone at age 8 or 18, there are still several safety precautions you should enforce to make sure they arrive home safe and happy, with a bucketful of yummy candy!
Here are the ten safety measures you should implement before your child goes out on their own this Halloween.
- Make a map of the route they’re to take, and give them strict instructions not to veer off the route. You can also roughly calculate the time they’ll be home, giving about 2-3 minutes at each house.
- Give them a curfew, and make sure they know to stick to it. It’s a good idea to have them home before it gets completely dark, as it becomes more difficult to be safe, and tripping, cars and older teens can become a bigger hazard.
- If your child has a mobile phone, make sure they take it with them and have it stored in a concealed but easily accessible place. Program your home number into the speed dial, so if they have any issues they can contact you quickly.
- Instruct them not to eat any candy or chocolate on the way, as it may have been tampered with. When they get home, make sure to check over their spoils and throw away any treats not in commercial packaging, or with packaging that’s been tampered with.
- Remind them to avoid houses without lights outside, even if they’re decorated, or dark houses without decorations. Let them know that some people do not celebrate Halloween, and may not be forgiving of them trick or treating, and dark porches are not a safe place for them to be.
- Make sure they know they are not allowed to enter any stranger’s houses or vehicles, especially if they offer them treats to come inside. If they wish to go into a friend’s house, let them know they need to call you first to ask permission, or get their friend’s parents to call you.
- Refresh their road safety knowledge, as most accidents on Halloween are related to cars. Make sure to practice crossing at designated crossings, remembering to look both ways before they cross the road – try giving them a pupil reward sticker every time they cross the road safely to reinforce this. If you can, choose a loop route with sidewalks where they can stick to one side of the road and then come back along the other to minimize the number of times they have to cross roads.
- Make sure their costumes fit well and don’t present a tripping hazard, and avoid large masks or headwear that could obscure their vision. Shoes that fit well are also a must, and if your child will be out after dusk make sure they have reflective tape attached to both the front and back of their outfits so they can be seen by motorists. If your child uses thumb sucking gloves, try to incorporate these into their costume so they don’t have to feel shy about wearing them outside the house.
- If they have an accessory to go with their outfit, for example, swords or sticks, make sure this are made of a flexible material like foam so they won’t injure anyone if your child trips or falls. If they aren’t, leave them at home.
- Make sure to remind them of these rules every year they go out alone to remind them how to be safe when trick or treating alone.
Do you have any more safety tips for Halloween?