“Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!” I remember hearing that when I was a child growing up. For most Americans, October 31st is a night filled with walking from house to house and receiving treats while dressed in costume. And when the practice began to pick up steam, the times were a bit different. Neighbors knew each other by name and left their doors unlocked at night. Kids would wander around the neighborhood for hours a day without even needing to tell their parents where they went.
Today, we understand that the times have changed, that crime is a more realistic occurrence and that you can never be too careful. But one day a year, we let all of our better judgement go and encourage our children to walk around in the dark to strangers houses to take candy and food from them. I am not saying that the act of “Trick or Treating” is bad, but we need to go into it with the right mindset and prepare our children with tips on how they can stay safe.
10 Tips to Stay Safe While Trick-or-Treating During Halloween
1. Know the area
Before you go out trick or treating, make sure that you and your children know the area well. Many families go to different areas to trick or treat and not knowing how the streets are laid out may get you lost or put you into a dangerous situation quickly. So, before you go out, drive around the area if you are unfamiliar with it so you won’t have any surprises (except for the occasional spooky costume).
2. Stick Together
You also want to make sure that you stick together. Obviously young children need to be accompanied by an adult that they can rely on to keep them out of danger and get them out and home safely, but even older children and teens should stick together in groups. One person can be an easy target for attack or kidnapping, so having several children stick together in a group is the best idea.
3. Avoid poorly lit areas
On a night when spooky and scary are considered fun, you should still be smart and safe. Stick to well lit neighborhoods if possible, or go trick or treating before it gets too dark. If your neighborhood doesn’t have street lights or if the area is naturally dark, carry a lantern or flashlight with your group. This will help you avoid any potentially dangerous areas and make sure that vehicles see you as you walk down the street.
4. Never go into a stranger’s house or car
If you send your children out by themselves or with a group of other children, you need to make sure they understand that they should never enter a strangers home or car. If someone asks them to come in for a moment, they should kindly say no thanks and wait outside or move on. Also if a “kindly” stranger offers to drive them home, they should avoid getting into the vehicle at all costs.
5. Never eat un-inspected candy
Most kids and parents know this already, but un-inspected candy is inedible candy. That means that before a child eats a piece of candy, their parent needs to make sure that it is properly wrapped and doesn’t include any contaminants or dangerous items. make sure that your kids don’t eat anything until you give them the all-clear.
6. Watch for cars
Twice as many children are killed from cars on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Make sure that your children are careful when walking and have lights and/or reflective gear when they are walking down the street. Also, make sure that they move to the shoulder of the road any time they hear or see a car approaching. It is best to accompany your children so they stay safe.
7. Have a meet-up spot
Being lost is a terrifying experience for a child. They tend to panic and get even more lost, so make sure that before your family or child’s group leaves that you choose a specific destination to meet up if someone gets lost. This could include your house if you live in the neighborhood or a prominent, public location in a neighborhood that you don’t live in. A public playground or marker such as a highly visible street sign may be a good place to meet if you get separated. You definitely don’t want to be headed in opposite directions while looking for each other.
8. Make sure your child stands out
Every year there is a specific costume that every kid wants. So it is no wonder that you may have seen television skits or heard stories about parents taking home the wrong kids. If your child insists on a popular costume (especially one where there face is covered), make them stand out with the addition of some reflective tape with their name on it or an accessory that only they would have. You also want to make sure that you watch your child as they walk to and from each door to make sure they don’t get switched up.
9. What if you (or your child) gets attacked / grabbed?
Even when you take steps to stay safe, children can still be attacked. Having a game plan beforehand is essential. For children, they usually will not be able to fight free of an adult attacker, but they can use a very powerful weapon, their voice, to get attention of someone who can help. The best way to stay safe is to avoid getting grabbed, so make sure your child’s costume doesn’t make it hard to escape. Let them wear shoes they can run in if necessary and avoid flowing material that can be grabbed easily like capes.
10. Have fun
Even though this time of year can be scary, you can still have fun. Just be smart and think before you go trick or treating. Make sure your children understand the dangers they may face but encourage them to carry on the tradition safely.
If you have any questions for your family’s safety, please let us know. Comment below or message us at Beaufort MMA.
If you live in the area around Beaufort, SC, we would love to offer you a free self defense class. We offer classes for children 5 years and older, teens, women and men. Your first class is always free and the environment and instructors are professional and safe. To schedule a free class, please call us at 843-882-7688.