Safety guidelines for Halloween Trick-or-treating with your family

As Halloween approaches, many families are excited and gearing up to go trick-or- treating with their little ones. The costumes have been picked and the treats have been bought. This time of year can also be tricky and bring on anxiety and safety concerns for parents. Here are a few tips to ensure that you and your littles have a safe and treat-filled night.

Start out early:

You have heard the saying, “the early bird gets the worm.” The same is true for the early trick or treaters. You don’t have to wait for darkness to descend for you and your mini trick-or-treaters to start knocking on doors. Being early can have its benefits: Those giving out candy will just be happy to have trick-or-treaters and may very well hand out the good stuff. Also consider that your children won’t be fighting a slew of other children.

Stay with a crowd:

There is strength in numbers. You don’t have to party with the entire neighborhood, but you can find a small group who are walking towards your destination/planned route and keep a steady pace with them. The idea is to stay near the crowd so that you don’t find yourself alone with your kids on a dark street. You might meet a new mom or dad and hit it off. You never know; you and your children might make friends and have potential playdates!

Carry a flashlight and some reflective gear:

Carry a flashlight and give your children some reflective gear. Wal-mart sells glow stick necklaces and bracelets for $1.00. There are streets where the street lights are sparsely spaced, which could lead to you and your troop walking a stretch in the darkness. Glow Sticks or light up shoes are a fun way for the kids to accessorize their costumes, but also an easy way for you to keep track of them in the dark.

Skip the overcrowded and gory houses:

Although many people thrive on the thrills and the scary aspect of trick or treating, many of the little ones are anxious and extremely scared of the gory haunted house scenes. I find it helpful to observe from a safe distance. The more gore and heavily decorated a haunted house is, the more crowded and hectic of a scene you will encounter. Save yourself the fright and beat the trick-or-treaters to the next house.

Be vigilant about allergies and possible triggers:

Both of my children have food allergies, so I have to be extra vigilant during this season. I read the labels, but if I am not sure, the item goes in to the “mommy stash.” The girls, ages 5 and 3, know that if either parent tells them the item has tree nuts or peanuts they cannot eat it. They know the consequences of having an allergic reaction and have not pushed back or resisted. Some houses decorate with flashing lights or strobe lights, which can trigger those individuals with seizures.  Some houses also have a smoke/ fog machine that can trigger those with asthma. Most do not have a warning posted, so it’s incumbent on the parent to quickly inspect the premises.

Escort your child to the door:

A lot of parents walk to the houses with their children, but then stand off to the side while the child walks to the door. I suggest actually escorting the child to the door. This gives the child a sense of confidence, but also eliminates any possible issues. The parent can visually verify the child is not being given unwrapped candy or that the child is not being invited to cross the threshold and enter the house. Some children are scared or even allergic to pets and the parents can see this and ward off any issues that might take place.

Last but not least, HAVE FUN!

This is a time to bond and make memories with your little ones. It doesn’t have to be all gory and full of carnage.  If walking around your neighborhood is not an option, some churches around NWA are hosting Trunk-or-Treat events where families can trick-or-treat, play games, win prizes and eat in a safe and controlled environment!

Happy Halloween ya’ll!      

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