Several of us here at SMG battle every year with the Halloween question of where to go trick or treating. Should we just do the trunk n’ treat at the church activity? just the neighborhood go around? both? How much candy are we going to allow. And then there’s the safety issue, beyond the sugar. So for this post we thought we could give you some Halloween safety tips to help you make some of your very hard Halloween decisions as you enjoy the family fun.
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The Trunk Event – Safety Haven
Lenore Skenazy at her “Free-Range Kids” blog posted an article about how Trunk or Treats are just another way for parents to insulate their kids from the world. She says that Halloween is all about kids walking the neighborhood and exploring, and doing all that at night (scary) – maybe even without the parents. In her view, a trunk or treat event doesn’t allow children to grow up.
Of course, the trunk event is the ultimate in keeping Halloween safe for your children, especially if it’s among people you know, like your church congregation. Knowing where your children are, at such an event, would still be important, but certainly it becomes more like trusted friends getting together to enjoy some fun.
The biggest concerns with trunk events would be safety with people and vehicles. Have a clear time when the cars are to arrive, and an ending time when cars can leave without children running around the parking lot unattended.
Halloween at the Mall
If you have a mall in your area, look at its schedule of events. Oftentimes there will be a trick or treating activity which would offer fun in a safe environment.
Be aware that many of these mall events have strict rules and may require you have a ticket to attend. The rules may also dictate costume restrictions. For example, the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, Illinois’ rules for its “Mall Trick-or-Treat” are:
- No adults or children over the age of 12 are allowed to wear a mask while inside the center.
- Costume accessories that resemble a weapon of any kind will not be permitted inside the center.
- Use of silly string, blow horns, or any form of a powdery substance is strictly prohibited from the center. If any of the above items are observed inside the center, they will be subject to confiscation.
- Fighting of any kind is strictly prohibited while on center property. Anyone caught fighting will be asked to leave.
Neighborhood Trick or Treating Safety Tips
Safe Kids Worldwide has some of the most concise neighborhood trick or treating safety tips. The point would be to talk to your children ahead of time to review safety, even if you are going to accompany them. Here are the major points –
- STREET SAFETY: Review how to walk safely on sidewalks and crossing streets. Remind children that it is harder to see people in the dark, and to take extra care that a car sees you before crossing the street.
- BRING A LIGHT: Ideally, your children would have either reflective material attached to the costume or a light with them (like a glow stick or flashlight) so that they are easier to spot in the dark.
- CONSIDER SUPERVISION: Safe Kids Worldwide says that “children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.”
- AVOID MASKS: Masks tend to make it harder to see where you are walking and often restrict peripheral vision. Encourage your children to choose costumes without masks.
- DRIVE SAFELY: For the adults, either avoid driving on Halloween or take it extra slow and cautious. Certainly backing up from your driveway during peak trick or treat hours needs to either be avoided or taken with extra care.
Check out our article on 10 Simple Halloween Food Ideas for fun Halloween parties.