Be Street Smart with your kids on Hallowe’en

Ghoulins, goblins, witches and magicians. It’s that scaaaaary but fun time of year again when kids are out late knocking on doors and getting all dressed up to get as many goodies they can get their hands on. For most kids, it’s a day full of excitement and anticipation, but for some parents, it’s a day full of fear and anxiety as the street celebration can sometimes turn ugly.

Hallowe’en is a time when practical jokers, troublemakers and bullies come out into the limelight, so teaching your kids to be cautious and alert is the best way to avoid danger and accidents.

To make the best of the Hallowe’en spirit, educate yourself and your child with the following street smart safety tips:

Hallowe’en is a time when practical jokers, troublemakers and bullies come out into the limelight, so teaching your kids to be cautious and ….

Choosing an appropriate costume

First and foremost, choose a costume that fits your child and that he enjoys wearing. Sometimes, we get caught up with the creativity and originality of our children’s costume’s that we forget to account for the safety factors. He should be able to move, breath, see and be safe in the outfit. He should be visible in the dark. I know this sounds like common sense, but sometimes, we overlook these details from when so much excitement builds around the festivity. If he must wear black or dark colours as part of his costume, add a fluorescent tape or reflectors on his outfit.

Be an invisible chaperone

Accompany kids under 13. It could be embarrassing for your self conscious child to be seen with his parent, but if you feel you need to chaperone him for the evening, then stay far enough back so you don’t look like you’re part of the masquerade crew. Stand at the curb and just watch your child go to the door by himself.

Teach your child the rules on the road

While some streets are well lit, others could be inviting for prowlers. Give your child a flashlight and advise him not to go in areas that are too dark.
Don’t talk to strangers: While some may have the intent to have some innocent fun on Hallowe’en, others may see it as an opportunity to play up a mischievous role. Adults in masked outfits will find it easier to approach unsuspecting children. Keep the children safe by taking precaution by avoiding conversation with strangers on the streets.

Watch the traffic

Be sure that your kids are extra careful when on the road. Hallowe’en doesn’t give kids the excuse not to watch for cars on the road.

Skip unlit homes

Homes with no lights usually means trick-or-treaters are not welcomed. Teach your kids to skip those homes and go to ones with pumpkins on the doors or those whose porches are lit.

Go to friendly looking neighbourhoods

Stay in your neighbourhood to be on the safe side. Your home is walking distance and you’re more likely to know the type of people who live around you. Choose to trick-or-treat in areas that are more family oriented as those are the ones who generally participate in fun, innocent Hallowe’en tradition.

Be cautious when approaching haunted decorated homes

Some people take the Hallowe’en spirit a little beyond the traditional treats for visitors. Some like to add a scare factor by creating an ambiance that strikes visitors with fear. Teach your kids to be cautious when approaching these homes. They may experience a trick or treat visit that will scare them for a lifetime.

Curfew

If your kids are older, be sure to give them a curfew time to be at home so you are not up late worrying about the kind of trouble they can be in.

Hallowe’en is a fun time of the year but not everyone sees this as an opportunity for innocent fun. Take precaution and teach your kids to be alert on the streets and you will sleep better knowing that your kids are safe and sound.

Chanelle Dupre

Chanelle Dupre is a writer of parenting articles and was a single parent for 20 years to two sons now in their late 20's. She had a column in 3 newspapers and this blog is a curation of old and new stories around the challenges of single parenting and ideas on how to make life easier.

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