I used to work for a dispatch center that dispatched police and emergency services. The one question we always got asked around this time of year was “How old does my child need to be to trick-or-treat by themselves without an adult?” Well, to tell the truth there usually isn’t any “law” stating an age. The child must be mature enough to handle him/herself in public and know how to reach help if needed or get in contact with an adult if lost.
While you may not be up to going trick-or-treating with your kids this year, or they don’t want their “mommy” with them because they might get teased and what not. It is always good to have the kids go in a group and stay in a group. After each house they need to count each other to make sure that they still have everyone in the group. If someone got left behind, they will need to go find that person if possible or report it to an adult.
I remember being a kid and not wanting my lame parents to be with us when we trick-or-treated with my friends in their neighborhood, however my parents were protective and at least still came along but they stayed out in the car and just stayed a respectful distance behind us. One year it decided to rain, and another we even got snow, so having my parents van there was a great treat for us because we opted to use the van to take us from house to house so we weren’t out in the weather too long. A vehicle also serves as a great place to put your candy when your buckets start to get too full. An empty bucket or almost empty bucket usually gets more candy than a full one **hint hint to all those trick-or-treaters out there**.
Another aspect that you need to consider when thinking about letting your child trick-or-treat without you is the type of neighborhood that they are going to be doing it in. If the neighborhood is a safe neighborhood and well known as safe to you, then it will be easier letting them go with their friends. Especially, if the neighborhood is your own, and everyone there knows your kids.
If you are still worried about your child trick-or-treating without you even though he has a group of friends to go with and the neighborhood is safe, maybe try to get a trusted adult to dress up and go with them. Someone that they like to hang out with and consider “fun”. Maybe it’s the neighbor’s older son, your oldest daughter, their aunt or uncle? Whoever it is they will feel less like they are being “babied” and more like they are grown up trusted children out on their own if they have someone they admire with them instead of an adult.
And if you still don’t feel comfortable letting them trick-or-treat without you being right there with them this year….don’t let them. You are the adult and your child is your responsibility. Your child might not like it, they might throw a tantrum, but you have to do what you are comfortable with doing as well. Trust me – the child will choose going to get candy with his “mommy” and being teased by his friends over not going and not getting any candy at all. As a special treat, contact some of the houses you will be going to ahead of time and tell them about your situation that your child is embarrassed to be out there with you this year but you don’t feel he’s old enough yet and ask them to give him extra candy at their house. This way when he is comparing candy counts with his friends that teased him for having mom with him, he will have more candy than they will and then it won’t seem like such a bad idea that mom came along.