Halloween is a favorite holiday for kids. You get to dress up in costume and go door to door for candy. For parents, once the costume is chosen and shopped for, the next obstacle is dealing with the safety issues of Halloween.
It is not being overprotective to not allow your child to wander off alone on Halloween night. As a parent, you should know where your child is going and with whom.
Once a child gets to be in late elementary school, trick-or-treating with Mom or Dad feels like they are being babied. How does a parent handle a tween who wants to have some independence on a holiday that can have many dangers?
The best rule is to never allow your child to trick-or-treat alone. Allowing an 11 or 12 year old to trick-or-treat in a group in a neighborhood that you know is one way to keep them safe without ruining their fun. Many towns have curfews which can work in a parents’ favor.
Get together with your child’s friends parents and decide on a meeting place to start from. Have all the parents bring their children to the designated house. Go over the rules with them such as where they are allowed to trick-or-treat. Most children this age have a cell phone. Make sure that it is charged and turned on. Arrange with them a time for them to call you to check in.
Tell the group that no matter what, they are to stay together. The usual rules apply such as never go into someone’s house and do not wander off into an area that is off-limits for treat-or-treating. Have a designated time (mutually agreed upon) that they will all end up at someone’s house where they will be picked up by their parents.
For younger children, going door to door can be tiring. An option to traditional trick-or-treating is community events where families get together and trick-or-treat by having trunk parties. These events happen in parking lots of churches or community centers. The children do not have to walk far and they go from trunk to trunk collecting candy and treats. Some malls accommodate trick-or-treaters and this is great especially for moms with toddlers. You can window shop while you trick-or-treat with your little ones.
Another option that can ensure your child’s safety on Halloween is to forget about trick-or-treating and host a party at your home. Get some dollar store decorations, make Halloween treats, play music and maybe some games and you have a safe environment for your child and his friends. You can give out prizes for costumes or have the kids make a Halloween craft. You can even carve pumpkins.
For some age groups, allowing them to watch scary movies in costume will be entertainment enough. Just provide snacks and allow them their space to enjoy themselves and they can celebrate Halloween without you worrying about their safety.
You do not need to spend a lot of money or even preparation time to throw together a last-minute Halloween party. Most kids can be easily entertained without a lot of effort. Plan on it being noisy and remove breakable items, just in case, and your child and his friends will have a fun Halloween.