How To Keep My Kid Safe This HalloweenRemember when the only challenge you had at Halloween was which superhero your child wanted to be? It’s a whole new world out there these days with everything from candy concerns to clown threats. What’s a trick-or-treater to do when all he or she wants is to come home with a bag full of loot that hopefully will carry them through to Thanksgiving Day?

In addition to plain ol’ common sense precautions like knowing your Danbury neighbors, registering your home on the Nextdoor app to identify your home as a safe candy-giving pit stop, here are some tips to keep your kids safe and your sanity in check.

3 Tips to Keep My Kids Safe This Halloween

  1. Pick a costume wisely. Think about safety when your child is choosing their costume. That Darth Vader choice? Too dark. Your kid will not be seen by passing motorists. Body-con costumes are best. Make sure the costume fits. Think Goldilocks. It should not be too long or too bulky but just right.
  2. Shine your light! Use flashlights, glow sticks, and/or reflective tape to make your kid as visible to motorists as possible.
  3. Plan ahead. Tell your child exactly where you will go so they know the route. Maybe take a test run with them a few days earlier in the daylight so they know exactly where they will be going. Avoid dark streets, crazy intersections, and neighborhoods that are unfamiliar.

What can I do to protect my kids from “sketchy” Halloween candy? 

It’s hard to know what’s sketchy and what’s not, but at minimum instruct your child not to eat anything until the loot bag is spilled open on your kitchen table for inspection. If it’s not sealed tight, throw it away. If it looks old or wrinkled or smashed, rinse and repeat. While you will likely cringe and feel guilty, throw out any/all homemade items. Don’t worry, the creator already posted a picture of it on Instagram so they’re good. If it looks like it’s from last year’s post-Halloween candy sale, it likely is. Toss it. Best idea yet? Keep the trick-or-treaters under your roof and throw a cool party. It’s likely to be a much healthier and safer choice and your kids will have a blast.

When can I send my kid out trick-or-treating alone?

Never. Ok, that’s probably a bit of helicopter parenting coming through. But what is a good age to send out your offspring into the darkness without your trusty Range Rover with the high beams on? Only you know the answer to this question but here’s a few things to keep in mind. Never send your kid out alone – even if they try to convince you that their friends are up the street. Give them a specified area to stay in and tell them that you will be glued to your trusty mobile device with its GPS-enabled app to track their whereabouts. (Ok – that’s a lot of helicopter parenting but hey, it’s 2016!) Lastly, give them a curfew. They won’t like it but as we all know, kids need rules.

From Safe Kids Worldwide to AAA, to local law enforcement agencies, most safety groups consider 12 an appropriate age for kids to begin trick-or-treating without an adult chaperone. The American Academy of Pediatrics is more hard-lined: they argue adult supervision – for all ages – is key to safety. We say know your child, know your neighborhood, and make your judgement calls accordingly.

For more safety tips check this post from the CDC website