By Cameron Crane
It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the grocery aisles are filling up with candy, and slowly but surely the faux cobwebs and jack-o'-lanterns are showing up on our neighbors’ front yards. It’s official. Halloween is just around the corner.
While many are focused on making sure their children look adorable in their new elephant costume, or just the right level of scary in their zombie costume to be age-appropriate, others are fighting a good case of nerves. Whether it’s your child’s first Halloween, or first Halloween with friends, the idea of trick-or-treating can be both exciting and unnerving. For good reason, too. I mean, isn’t Halloween a night of mischief? And under what other circumstance would you send your child to a neighbors’ door just after sunset dressed as the Grim Reaper?
Luckily, there are many easy rules you can follow to ensure that your Halloween is safe and successful.
Here are six agreements every child should make before heading out to trick-or-treat:
- Choose a buddy to stay with throughout the night. Whether it’s Mom, Dad, a babysitter, or a friend, operating on the “buddy system” is a great way to avoid losing your ghoul in a sea of pirates and princesses.
- Don’t eat open candy and check all treats before eating. Although it is rare to find, checking for tampered packaging is a must. Luckily, sorting through candy at the end of the night and admiring the sugary reward for your efforts can be fun, and will prevent overconsumption. Make sure to be wary of hot apple cider and candy apples too, unless they are coming from a parent-approved neighbor you know and trust.
- Only approach houses that are well-lit and look welcoming. Believe it or not, not everybody is excited about the idea of trick-or-treating. To avoid a dangerous situation (or most likely just the grumps), make sure you look for an invitation before approaching a house. Houses that are giving out candy usually have lights, pumpkins, or packs of other children leaving.
- Don’t go in to a stranger’s house. Most of your neighbors will be more than happy to make the exchange on their front porch or at the front door. There is no need to go inside. Can’t pass up on Mr. Martin’s famous haunted house? Make sure it is parent-approved and supervised.
- Stay on the sidewalk and obey traffic laws. Halloween is not an excuse to explore the neighborhood from the middle of the street. Be sure to stay on the sidewalk and cross the street at crosswalks, no matter how tempting the decked-out house across the way is.
- Make sure you can be seen. Adding a glow stick or reflective tape to costumes will enhance visibility, so you can be seen by both your buddy and any oncoming traffic.