Kids love Halloween–and why wouldn’t they? They get to dress up as anything they want and end the night with a bag full of candy. As a parent, Halloween can be a bit more stressful: There are people out causing trouble and playing pranks; you’re taking your children to strangers’ homes; and your kids end up with a bag full of candy, which you need to make sure hasn’t been tampered with. Not to mention the sugar rush.
Make sure your family stays safe during this ghoulish time of the year with these trick-or-treating safety tips.
Pick the Right Costumes
The best outfits for your little creatures are ones that they enjoy, of course. But for safety’s sake, there are a a few things to consider when choosing your children’s Halloween costumes:
- The outfit should be flame-resistant. If the costume is a popular classic, you can usually find review of it at online shopping sites like Amazon.
- Make sure the outfit is short enough to prevent tripping and tight enough to avoid getting tangled.
- Avoid masks that can make it difficult to see, breathe, or hear.
- Make sure everyone, including chaperones, wears comfortable shoes.
- Try to pick outfits that don’t include weapons because these can easily be misinterpreted at night. The only thing that should be in your trick-or-treaters hand is a candy bag and a light. Adding a prop in the other hand may make it difficult for him or her to juggle everything in tiny hands while holding onto you.
Meet the Residents
Before Halloween night, schedule a meeting among interested neighbors to find out who wants to entertain trick-or-treaters that night. By confining the evening’s festivities to your apartment complex, you’ll know everyone on the other side of the door.
In addition, you won’t have far to walk to hit several homes. Plan a route to the participating apartments that confines the kids to well-lit pedestrian pathways and avoids the parking lots and driveways. Set a start time and end time for all the trick or treating, preferably before the sun goes down.
Ask all the participating renters to leave their entry lights on and to put out a Halloween decoration, so the kids will know where to go that night–but warn against using candles or open flames, which can be dangerous. Recommend that they clear their outdoor entry areas so groups of kids can easily gather in front of their doors without hurting themselves or damaging property. Advise the adults to pass out only factory-wrapped candy or small toys.
Accompany the Kids
Even within the relative safety of the complex, a responsible adult should accompany the kids while trick-or-treating. If you have lots of children going, divide them into several groups, with each group headed up by two or three adult chaperones. Older kids may want to wander on their own, so make sure there is at least one fully-charged cell phone with them. They should also remain in a group the entire night.
Stagger group routes among the participating apartments to avoid inundating one place with too many people. As an added safety measure, make sure each kid and adult carries a flashlight, even if the complex is well-lit. There may be patches of dark that make it hard to see who is walking there.
Inspect the Goods
Tell your kids not to eat anything until you’ve had a chance to check it out. They may have gathered their bounty not only from the complex, but from school or from any business that might have been visited that day. Eliminate anything that is not in an original factory wrapper, such as baked goods, or in a wrapper that may have been tampered with. You’ll also want to watch how much candy your kids eat, or there may be some tummy aches in the morning.
Sponsor an After-Party
Ask your apartment property manager if you can throw a post-trick-or-treating party either in the community room or in an outdoor common area. Make the gathering a potluck and ask those who would have given home-cooked goods to trick-or-treaters to bring the edibles to the party instead. You can even have a costume parade and offer prizes to those wearing the most interesting costumes.
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Photo Credit: Dave Malkoff