Halloween is definitely a favorite holiday in our home! My son talks about trick-or-treating all year long, and insists on keeping out his jack-o-lantern bucket at all times in case there is an opportunity for someone to drop treats in there. Ever the optimist.
I love every part of the Halloween season--pumpkin patches, carving pumpkins, decorating spooky ginger bread houses, picking out costumes, and of course TRICK-OR-TREATING!
Trick-or-treating is seriously so much fun! You get to jump from house to house and friendly neighbors "ooh" and "ahh" at your costumes and drop a piece of candy in your bucket. SO. FUN. But with little kids, it can also be a little stressful.
So how do you keep your kids safe while they trick-or-treat?
Dress for the Weather
Coming from a girl who lived in a bunch of different places and experienced Halloween in all kinds of temps, I know how annoying it is to have to cover up when you've spent a ton of time (or money) on the perfect costume
. Now that I live in Southern California, I don't have to deal with any extreme weather, but if you're living farther north or in the rainy PNW, you'll have to adapt the costumes to the elements. Check the weather a day or two ahead of time, and that way you can get a couple things to add to your little ones' costumes to make them appropriate for the temp. A lot of costumes will look just as good with a thermal shirt underneath, or even some sweatpants!
This is especially important for our littles when we're going from door to door, but it's probably a good idea to talk to your kids about how they should interact with strangers when they're trick-or-treating. When we took my son for the first time, he was trying to walk into every house we walked up to--which was both adorable and eye opening. So, give your kids some rules like "knock on the door/ring the doorbell and then wait on the first step." It will help them understand that they are still a guest and need to be respectful. Also, let your child know that they need to be able to see you at all times. Even though we want to trust our neighbors, neighborhoods, and people in general, you can never be too careful when it comes to your kids. So making sure that they are within a few feet and no farther than one house over will cut down on any unnecessary stress for parents.
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting treats whenever you walk up to someone's door, and if you don't have a neighborhood that blocks off the streets (so smart!) from cars, you'll need to make sure they're staying on the sidewalk and only crossing the street when you're holding their hand. If you're going with your spouse or a group of friends, it would be a good idea to have one parent helping the kids closer to the door, and the other parent down on the sidewalk to keep littles from running out where they aren't safe.
It's always a good idea to have your bigger kids go with a group of friends instead of heading out solo. I recommend getting in touch with the parents of the friends that they'll be going out with, and either setting up a group text or even just a quick call to confirm the kids they'll be hanging out with for the night. Always remind your kids to stay with their group no matter what! Even if some of them want to go a little quicker/slower than others, you never leave a friend behind!
This is another one of those things that you wish you didn't have to think about, but as a parent, you should probably be thinking about it--better safe than sorry. Let your kids know that you can never be too careful, so to wait until you get home to dig into the candy-- while this won't actually change anything if the candy is dangerous in anyway, it will ensure that you're there if anything were to happen when they open up one of their fave treats.
This was something that my parents always insisted on when we went out with our friends trick-or-treating. If we were old enough to have a cell phone, we would have to call every half hour and let them know what street we were on. If we were a little younger and didn't have a phone, we would have to make our way to one friend's house in the group and check in with their parents. It was also nice to get off our feet for a minute, grab a quick snack, and then head back out!
Trick-or-treating is arguably the funnest part of Halloween, and is such a good learning experience for our kids on how to be nice to our neighbors, how to be polite and safe, and how to have tons of fun!