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We’re in the dog days of summer, but with plenty of evening activities happening outdoors around town, this is also a perfect opportunity to teach children about safety in preparation for Halloween night. A favorite holiday for adults and kids alike, Halloween is that special time where revelers can dress up as their favorite character and collect goodies from around the neighborhood. However, it must be remembered that Halloween can be a very dangerous night for child pedestrians. Children are often so excited to be out on the streets with friends collecting sweets and gifts that they forget the important rules of trick-or-treating. As a parent, you should know how to keep your kids safe while having fun on and around Halloween. Teaching them a pointer or two each day while you have their undivided attention will benefit everyone as Halloween night approaches.
Here are nine lessons to teach your kids before Halloween night:
1. Talk to your kids about the basic rules of traffic, especially when they are crossing the street. Remind them to always stop at every corner. They should only cross streets at intersections and crosswalks. Tell them to always look left and right before crossing the street and continue looking both ways while crossing. They shouldn’t dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
2. Tell your kids to walk and not to run while trick or treating. This will prevent the children from tripping on their or a friend’s costume. They should walk on sidewalks and not on the road.
3. If your kids are 12 years and older, when they usually prefer not to be accompanied by adults, remind them to go with a group that you are familiar with. Phone calls between parents of the group will help keep everyone informed of the kids’ location while they are out having fun.
4. Instruct your kids to go only to familiar areas and take a route that you have helped map out with them. Be sure to set a time for them to return home so no one is left worrying about when they will get back.
5. Avoid houses that are difficult to access, especially ones where they don’t know the people living there. Barking dogs are also an indication that the property might not be safe. If they come across any houses such as these, they should just move on to the next one.
6. Teach them to be always polite and say “trick or treat” and “thank you” after they have received the goodies. Tell them to patiently wait in a line if other kids are there before them. They should never push just to get in front.
7. Have them carry and use a flashlight while out on the streets. Tell them to go trick-or-treating only at homes with an illuminated porch or outside lights. Instruct them to just stand outside the door and never go inside. If the people inside a house insist on them going inside, they should leave and report back to you what happened.
8. Older kids can bring cell phones, so tell them to immediately call you if they see any suspicious people or vehicles. They should also find crossing guards or other parents with children to assist them if there is a problem.
9. Teach your kids to never accept candy, rides, or anything from people they don’t know. They should not eat the goodies they have collected. They should wait until they have gone back home, and after you have inspected all the candy for them.
Halloween night is fun and exciting for everyone but children’s safety is the primary concern. Keep the lessons listed above in mind and have your children learn them. They’ll help to keep your kids safe and you’ll feel confident that they will go return home without a scratch—only with big smiles and bundles of goodies.