Halloween is coming, and we’ve talked before about keeping your home and yourself safe on one of the biggest property-crime of the year. But, if you have children, you’ll want some ways of keeping them safe, too. Even when you go with them, teaching them some behavior guidelines is a good idea. The best time to do review Halloween security practices is before the big night when they’re bound to be excited and perhaps not as capable of remembering a number of instructions.
In addition, for people who really don’t want to take their kids trick or treating, there are some alternate activities in the Phoenix area which the kids might enjoy. If they balk at the idea of not being allowed to go out, compromise is a potential solution: visit a few homes of people you know, such as neighbors, then go to enjoy an activity.
Here is a list of family-oriented events all over the Valley for families who want to make a memory.
When the kids go out, remind them of these important tips. These only serve as reminders, since most mothers I know could write a far more comprehensive list than these few:
- Make a plan. Decide where you’re going to go ahead of time. If you start this practice and include younger children in the planning stage, when they get old enough to go with friends, they won’t balk at making a plan because they’ll know it’s a tradition. This includes a ‘return’ time.
- Stay with your family or group. There is safety in numbers.
- Road safety: don’t run between cars or cross the street except at a corner or crosswalk. Keep your eyes open for cars and other dangers.
- If they won't be home before dark, add glow-in-the-dark or reflective tape to costumes or shoes. If you can’t find the tape (sold at crafts stores), a glow in the dark pumpkin is another option. Or let them paint one of their costume accessories with glow in the dark paint before the big night.
- Take a flashlight, but don’t point them in anyone’s face, especially drivers. No lighters, candles or flammable devices.
- Wear walking shoes. Flip flops and high heeled shoes aren’t safe. Keep laces tied and buckles fastened.
- Stay outside. Don’t go into anyone’s home or get into anyone’s car.
- Don’t eat anything until an adult looks it over.
- If a situation makes you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts. Dark porches, creepy people, or anything that makes you feel strange or nervous should be avoided.
Sometimes older kids will go to activities with their friends, and the visit will go south. Always have a family codeword your kids can use to alert you to the fact that they need to get out of a situation without ‘losing face’ in front of their friends. Some families use a color or common animal. If they call or text and use the code word, it means you have to tell them there is a (fabricated) family situation for which they need to come home right away. We don’t want to teach our kids to lie, but if they get into a group where there is alcohol or experimentation going on, they may not have the emotional fortitude to stand up for themselves at that age. Make sure they know it’s okay to ask for help.
As always, we hope our families have a safe and enjoyable holiday. Happy Halloween!
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