Your Just Ask Joyce Tips for a Safe Halloween:
Halloween is a fun time for kids, but it comes with its own set of dangers. Smart parents don’t have to fear for their child(ren)’s safety. Here are some tips to help ease the burden for guardians of our most precious gifts from God.
• Always accompany your 12-and-younger children. Personally, I think once they’re a teen, they should abandon the idea of trick-or-treating. I’m just saying…
• Don’t send your child out in an oversized costume. Think safety first. They’re too precious to be injured!
• Make sure your child can see. Hoods and masks are great, but if they can’t see where they’re going, they probably can’t see danger either – like cars, or people intending harm.
• Wear or carry some sort of illumination – a vest, a glow stick, a flashing loot bag … protect your kids. Make sure they can see where they going … and people can see them!
• Prep your kids for the event. Give them specific guidelines:
1. DON’T RUN!!! First and foremost … darting in front of a driver, or mowing over little kids … not cool;
2. Plan the route – what neighborhoods they can go, streets to avoid. Give them territorial boundaries; stay on the sidewalk or edge of the road FACING TRAFFIC. Remember safety rules still apply, like look both ways before crossing the street. Stay away from busy intersections!
3. If they feel threatened, SCREAM!!! Draw the attention of an adult. Some kids have cell phones – call 911 immediately!
4. Visit lighted houses only! Stay in a well-lighted area. Don’t wander into isolated back streets, or where there’s only one lone house.
5. Don’t EAT ANYTHING until you are back home and we’ve gone through your treats;
6. Set a time limit. Your kids may not know when enough is enough, but you do! After all, there is school the next day! 7. Be the guardian of the candy! Dole it out. I mean, your teeth and gut can handle only so much candy. Be the moderator for your children!
• Feed them first. Your child’s best treat begins at your table. Tell them, “Hey, you want to go trick-or-treating? Then, you have to eat first.” No exceptions. Make it healthy – what they’re about to ingest will be less than nutritional. If they’re not hungry, they’ll be less tempted to eat their way back home.
• Teach them to be polite. Yes, ma’am, yes, sir, thank you. Seldom do you hear those words spoken as you’re making your rounds. Make sure your kids understand gratitude.
• Only visit familiar homes. People you trust won’t hurt your kids.
• DON’T CROSS THAT THRESHOLD! Forbid them to go inside the home of, especially an unfamiliar home. If it’s “Miss Judy” who lives across the street and they’ve been in her home, you know them well, it’ll be tempting. But good rule-of-thumb, stay on the outside of the door! If you tell them it’s okay in some areas, it might be confusing in others. Keep the boundaries clean and concise. Never go inside.
• Don’t drink beverages. Again, Moms/Dads, if you’re with them, you can be the deciding factor there. You know your neighborhood watch, the ones you can trust, and who are going to look out for the best interest of the kids. Be on guard. But if they’re out without you, NO DRINKING THE COOLAID!
• Examine the goods. Get in a well-lit room and go through the candy yourself, Mom/Dad. Don’t trust the judgment of your child. It’s too risky. They may overlook something. You’re the adult; let them see the responsibility in you. Look for these warnings in your examination: Bumps, lumps, bulges, pinpricks, rips; unsealed, wrinkled, or loose wrappers; expiration dates; odd smells, discoloration; toss unfamiliar brands.
• Discard all homemade treats from strangers! NO EXCEPTIONS! If you didn’t accompany your child and you’re unsure of the source, toss it. Better safe than sorry.
• Examine and wash all fruits. It’s best to cut fruit into small pieces for consumption.
Be a smart parent. Don’t leave adult decisions and responsibilities to the discretion of your children. They don’t know the inherent dangers surrounding special occasions like Halloween, but you do. Protect them. They’re counting on you.