Pretty soon your house will be buzzing with excitement and anticipation. Children are getting eager to turn into goblins and ghouls, and are thrilled to parade up and down the streets, filling their bags with loot. Since Halloween is almost here, it’s a good time to consider these 10 tips before the big night to help keep everyone safe and happy.
1. Accompany little ones. This sounds obvious, but for little kids, it’s definitely important to walk around the neighbourhood with them and even help them out at each house. Kids who have entered the double digits (10 and up) may not want you coming up to the door of each house, so you might want to linger back or walk behind your child and their friends.
2. Remind your kids about manners. Remind them about showing respect. It’s a good idea for your kids to know the rules ahead of time, like saying please and thank you, not pushing ahead of other kids and not ringing on doorbells late at night or when lights are turned out on the front porch.
3. Stay outside. Remind children that they should remain outside the house when accepting a treat. Even if they’re invited inside to experience an amazing haunted adventure, they should resist the temptation to enter.
4. Choose your candy-carrying bag carefully. A pillowcase (decorated for Halloween even) is a great way for kids to lug all their loot. And if it gets too heavy, they can even throw it over their shoulder. But for younger ones, the temptation to keep filling it might be strong. Try a much smaller bag or bucket to keep the haul small.
5. Stay safe. Be seen. Along with glow sticks or flashlights, encourage your kids to wear some reflective or light-coloured clothing so that they are easily visible to traffic. You can also add reflective tape to your child’s outfit. Avoid long outfits that they can easily trip over.
6. Avoid masks when possible. Try to avoid costumes that require masks that cover the entire face or eyes. Children need their eyes to guide them down dimly lit streets and small eye holes in masks are often not good enough to allow them to see their way safely as they walk. Makeup is a great alternative.
7. Sort through the goodies together. When you and your children finally arrive back home, ask them to dump everything on the floor and sort through it. You can make several piles: one for items they don’t want to keep (the smallest pile), one specifically for candies, another for bags of chips or popcorn and the last for miscellaneous items, such as pencils. We also make sure that every item is in a sealed wrapper. Candies that are loose automatically get thrown away. Candies that cannot be identified also get thrown away.
8. Have a candy swap. If you have more than one child, your kids may choose to swap items with one another—but you may want to monitor the exchange to make sure that it stays fair. (And if you’re quick about it, it also gives you a chance to grab a hold of a few of your favourite treats!)
9. Avoid treating it like forbidden fruit. We’ve found that if you whisk away the candies too soon or become too strict about how and when the children can have theirs, they crave them more. We’ve also found that by just leaving the bowl of candy on the kitchen table post-Halloween, the children often become immune to seeing it sit there and after a few days, lose interest and walk by it without reaching into it.
10. Respect differences. Some families choose not to take part in Halloween festivities. Although it may be difficult to convince your children why anyone would not want to dress up and get goodies, encourage sensitivity and tolerance towards others’ beliefs. You may even want to become familiar with the story behind Halloween and how it came to be and then share some of this with your children.
Be safe and Happy Halloween!