How to Make Halloween Less Scary for You & Your Kids
By Diane Tait
|Image courtesy flickr|
There’s nothing more heartwarming than watching the kids in the neighborhood cavorting in from door to door in their adorable costumes on Halloween. Trick or treating has been a seasonal rite of passage for children for generations in the US. When I was little, about the only scary thing about Halloween from my mother’s perspective was whether I was going to get sick from eating too much candy. Of course, that was then and this is now. Today, parents of trick or treaters of all ages are concerned about many perils when they let their kids wander freely on the street at night. If Halloween scares you, this blog should help calm your nerves.
1. Who’s afraid of the Boogie Man? – While parents back as far as the 50’s were concerned with adulterated treats and kidnappers, the statistics proved otherwise. Likewise are the fears of today’s adults that their children will get kidnapped while trick or treating. Since kids that are trick or treating travel in packs, the odds of them being snatched off the street on Halloween are low. It’s far more likely that they’ll be accosted by older kids intent on taking their candy away from them by kidnappers. While it’s always a good idea to accompany small children when Halloween rolls around, don’t kill the fun for the older kids. Just make sure they know to stay with their friends and let them know when you expect them home.
2. Halloween Couture – While it’s all too easy to grab a factory-made costume off the shelf at the local big box store, make sure if you do that it fits your child. Particularly if the costume comes equipped with a cape or sash, pay particular attention to how low it hangs. Also check to make sure that pants cuffs aren’t long enough to hobble your little trick or treater. Another factor to consider when choosing costumes for your children is the color scheme of the costume. While dark colors might seem spookier, they also make your children hard to see when they cross the street. While you can’t paint a reflective orange stripe on little Dracula’s black cape, if your child selects a costume that’s hard to see at night, you can provide the Count with a penlight or a glow in the dark trick or treat party favor that can help motorists see them easily.
3. How to stop a prop from giving someone a pop – What swashbuckling pirate would be caught dead without a sword, or a devil without a pitchfork? When it comes to accessories, make sure that they are soft and flexible. While a plastic sword doesn’t seem like a threat to anyone, you’d be surprised at how easy it is for hard plastic accessories to wind up injuring or tripping a child. Also make sure your kids turn off all their electronic devices, since it’s hard to watch the traffic if they’re sending a text or posting on Facebook. (I’m just glad my generation didn’t have all the hi-tech distractions of today’s youngsters.)
|Image courtesy flickr|
5. Plan on going out on Halloween? – If you plan on going to a Halloween party during the time that trick or treaters are on the street (typically from 5:30-9pm), take particular care since kids in costume can and do sometimes dart out into the street. If anything, you need to drive slower than usual while rolling through residential neighborhoods. You should also make it a point to eliminate distractions such as cellphones so you can concentrate on what’s going on around you.
6. Have you considered hosting a Halloween party for your kids? – If having your kids out after dark on Halloween gives you the heebie-jeebies, why not host a party for them and their friends? This way you can keep an eye on them instead of chewing your fingernails to the quick until they come home. Plus, it will even give you an excuse to don a costume as well.
|Image courtesy flickr|
7. Lay down the law – Before you do let your kids roam free to trick or treat, make sure you brief them on the dos and don’ts. This should include all the items I’ve already covered in this blog, plus a couple others, such as staying on the sidewalks and never entering anyone’s home or car to collect a treat.
8. Post trick or treat inspection – It’s also a good idea to inspect the treats your children collect before allowing them to eat any. Discard any that aren’t sealed. This step is especially important if your child has any kind of food allergy. You also may want to do what my parents did when I came home with a bag crammed with candy: Ration them out a few pieces at a time. This way the candy will last a long time and you won’t run the risk of your child bouncing off the walls on a sugar high or coming down with a tummy ache after gorging on the sweet stuff.
Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance. To find out more about how you can save money on home owner’s insurance, go to her site or fill out the form at right.