Trick-or-treating is one of the great American traditions, and despite media scares, we can still enjoy a safe night out celebrating the Great Pumpkin. Maybe you'll be accompanying your hobgoblins door-to-door this year, or perhaps they're venturing out on their own, trick-or-treating with friends. With a little common sense and some savvy safety precautions, there is no trick to enjoying a safe and fun Halloween. So relax, have fun, and follow these tips.
1. Plan your route ahead of time and check your state's Megan's Law Sex Offender registry. If there is an offender living in your neighborhood, be sure to skip that house or tell your child and their friends not to ring that doorbell. If they ask why, let them know the person who lives there is "not a safe grownup."
2. Children under 12 should be accompanied by a responsible adult.
3. Teens should trick-or-treat with at least one or two other friends -- never alone.
4. If a child gets lost or feels scared or threatened for any reason, they should ask a MOM WITH KIDS for help.
5. No child or teenager should ever enter the home of someone they don't know. Accept all treats at the doorway only.
6. Be very wary of any stranger who tries to accompany you as you trick-or-treat. If kids are on their own, they should say NO and get away from that person quickly.
7. Tell kids to stay in the open: Don't take shortcuts through alleys or unlit backyards.
8. Kids on their own should never get into a car with anyone ... unless they have already gotten permission from their parents ahead of time.
9. Visit only houses that are well lit.
10. Carry a flashlight, a watch and a fully charged cell phone. (Make sure kids on their own do so as well.)
11. All kids should have some form of identification with them, even if it's just a slip of paper with their name, address and phone number pinned inside their costume.
12. If older kids want to change their plans, they must CHECK IN with a parent first. (That cell phone sure comes in handy!)
13. Set a firm time limit on how long kids can be out on their own.
14. All treats must be inspected by a parent first. Do not eat any unwrapped or partially wrapped treats.
15. Wear brightly colored clothes or use some reflective tape on your costume or bag.
16. Openly discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior at Halloween.
|Pattie Fitzgerald has been successfully teaching child-predator safety and awareness since 2001 with her child-friendly school curriculum, keynote speeches and parent education seminars. For more information, visit www.safelyeverafter.com.|