It’s that time of year when families are getting ready for the fun and fear of Halloween. With the right management the fun can be increased while the fear decreased. Lets start with minimizing the fear.
This is not the Halloween of your childhood. Times are very different and parents need to be mindful of the areas they live in and the community they are surrounded by. There are lots of things parents can do to manage Halloween to get the most out of it for your family. Here are my top five tips:
1. Survey other parents you associate with to gauge what their plans are for Halloween. How safe is trick or treating in your neighborhood? Talk to other parents and neighbors about their experience with this age-old tradition. If you have concerns about homes you don’t know then only take your children to the homes of family and friends that you are familiar with. If you are overly concerned about your neighborhood allay or magnify your fears by investigating if any sex offenders are in your neighborhood. Family Watchdog, www.familywatchdog.us, is a free service to help locate registered sex offenders in your area. Use the site to help educate your family on possible dangers in areas they visit.
2. If trick or treating is an option make sure your children are wearing costumes that can be seen in the dark. Use reflective tape or consider face paint instead of masks that may obscure children’s vision. Carry glow sticks to help being seen. Depending upon your community it may be safer to go with children until they are in high school. Pre teens may gripe and complain but it is better to be safe than sorry. A parent or responsible adult should always accompany children under 12. Only visit homes you are familiar with. This is not the time to meet your neighbors.
3. Always check candy from unknown sources before children begin to devour it. Spill it all out and create two piles, what to keep and what gets tossed. Open packages, loose candy and fruit from unknown sources get tossed in the trash. Only keep closed secure packages.
4. Organize a Halloween party for your children’s friends at your home. This can be as much fun for the children as it is for the adults. Everyone must come dressed in a costume. Have parents bring a dish or plan an activity. Include dads in the plans and make it fun for all.
5. Organize a community Halloween party by reserving or renting a community space or library that can accommodate a large number of people to serve your community with a fun filled evening that keeps all of the children safe. Have stations for each family or as many as possible so children can recreate the experience of trick or treating by going around to different stations to collect candy.
Halloween can be a safe and fun time for parents and children. Keep in mind the above tips and a spooky good time can be had by all.