Witches and werewolves and ghosts, oh my! Take your family of goblins and ghouls trick-or-treating with these rules for Halloween safety.
Vampires go to sleep when the sun shines, and werewolves stay inside when there is a full moon. If even monsters have rules to keep them safe on Halloween, shouldn’t your little goblins and ghouls?
Practice Halloween safety with these seventeen rules for trick-or-treating.
1. Supervise Children
Kids should always be accompanied by a responsible adult or guardian—emphasis on responsible. It’s even better if you go as a group. The more eyes watching the little ones, the better. For older kids, consider setting a curfew, such as returning home by a specific time, and make sure they are going out in a group with friends rather than alone.
2. Choose Safe Routes
Familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets are ideal for trick-or-treating. As an extra layer of safety, plan a route in advance to avoid wandering into unfamiliar areas.
3. Stay Visible
In addition to choosing well-lit routes, make sure costumes are visible, especially in low-light conditions. Bright, reflective costumes or the addition of reflective tape can help drivers see trick-or-treaters. Or you can carry flashlights or create a cool glow-in-the-dark stick figure costume out of glow sticks to make it easier for drivers to spot your little goblins and ghouls.
4. Use Crosswalks
Using crosswalks and obeying traffic signals are a key part of Halloween safety. And also encourage your kids to look both ways and make eye contact with drivers before crossing. Tell them to not even run between parked cars, which can be just as dangerous.
5. Follow Traffic Rules
Remind kids that traffic rules apply, even on Halloween. They shouldn’t jaywalk or walk in the middle of the road even if there are no sidewalks. In that case, walk on the side of the road facing traffic to see oncoming vehicles.
6. Respect Property
Halloween decorations can be fun and creative, but that doesn’t mean kids can play with them. Remind kids to be respectful of people’s property, and that includes staying on designated walkways and not trampling gardens or damaging decorations. Instead of fighting about it, you can ask your kids how much effort they think the owners put into decorating their homes.
7. Be Cautious with Pets
If you visit homes with pets, make sure your kids don’t just pet the animals all willy-nilly. First, have them ask if the pet is friendly and okay with crowds. And then if you get the OK, remind kids to approach the animals cautiously and respect their boundaries. Keep a safe distance from unfamiliar animals to avoid potential incidents.
8. Stay in Well-Lit Areas
While some spooky ambiance is part of the fun, avoid dark, secluded areas, which even the most well-lit streets have. Stick to the streets you know and the neighborhoods with lots of activity. You can still get that Halloween thrill without turning the night into the first five minutes of a scary movie.
9. Check Candy
Of course, if you’re thinking about Halloween safety, you can’t forget the candy. Before kids dig into their hard-earned spoils, check them for signs of tampering or damage. Discard any homemade or unwrapped items for safety reasons (but the homemade treats from your friend’s house should probably be alright).
10. Say Thank You
Encourage children to be polite and express their gratitude with a simple “thank you” after receiving treats, because even goblins and ghouls have to be polite. It’s the Halloween spirit.
11. Keep Allergies in Mind
If your child has food allergies, be vigilant about checking candy ingredients. Consider carrying allergy-friendly treats to swap with unsafe candies, or visit Teal Pumpkin Project houses, which offer non-food trinkets.
12. Avoid Strangers
Teach children never to enter anyone’s home or car, even if they offer more candy or enticing treats. It’s essential to maintain a healthy level of caution when interacting with strangers.
13. Respect Local Laws and Guidelines
Some communities may have specific rules or guidelines for trick-or-treating, such as designated hours or areas. Be sure to follow any local restrictions or curfews to stay within the legal boundaries.
14. Emergency Information
Kids usually want to trick-or-treat at all the houses, which means you have a lot of ground to cover. In case you get separated, make sure your child has identification with your contact information, such as a wristband or a note in their pocket.
15. Be Mindful of Noise
Keep noise levels down when approaching houses, especially if it’s late at night. Not all neighbors may appreciate excessive noise during trick-or-treating hours.
16. Practice Gratitude
Many people put effort into their decorations and enjoy being part of the Halloween festivities. Encourage your children to appreciate this and the generosity of Halloween traditions. You can further encourage this by hosting a little candy swap or giveaway with siblings or friends.
17. Don’t Overindulge
While enjoying some candy is part of the Halloween experience, too much will make your kid’s stomach hurt. Save your family from the Halloween hangover by limiting the amount of candy they can eat. (Although, it’s always nice to let your kids eat just a little bit more on Halloween.)
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Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in editing and publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.