How to Have a Safe, but Scary Halloween: Tips to Stay Safe
Submitted by Judge Nicole M. Benefiel
Halloween is a great time of the year when we can all get dressed up in our scary outfits for a night of fun. Whether it’s going out with friends and knocking on neighbors’ doors with the familiar trick or treat question, hosting the annual party for friends and family or attending a party, we all know how to make the night memorable.
Of course, if you have children, you will find that they will want to head out to collect their sweets and play tricks on people. In which case, you as the parent may be heading out with them to ensure that they stay safe during the evening. Read on to find out and to be reminded how you can still have a fun and scary Halloween, while still remaining safe at the same time.
Be a chaperone: Even though it’s likely that your child or children will want to have a Halloween that is adult-free, you should resist this urge to give in, especially if they are young children. Why not get a few of your children’s friends together while the adults keep an eye on them from afar. This way they can still have fun and you can rest assured that they are safe as you all walk together going from door to door.
Safety in numbers: By making sure that there are more than three together means that it is less likely for them to be targeted by a potential predator. Three or less means that one could stray from the group leaving one vulnerable, while more than three means that there will always be at least two people together. Additionally, it is important that you know how many of your child’s friends will be going with you. This way you can keep a head count during the night and will know if you’ve left someone behind. It is also a good idea to consider taking a couple of adults along too, so that there are more eyes keeping an eye on what everyone is doing.
Don’t let them stray: If you want to let you child go out on Halloween with just their friends without any parental supervision, but you don’t want them to stray too far, you should put into place an area that they can go that is not far from where they live, an acceptable perimeter. By letting them go out by themselves, it shows that you trust them, but want them to remain within the set perimeters for their own safety too.
Staying aware of your surroundings: Halloween is an exciting time, which can often mean that most people forget to remain aware of what is going on around them. For this reason, it is important that when you and your family are out this Halloween that you are aware of what’s going on around you. If you notice someone acting in a strange manner or you don’t recognize someone in your neighborhood, report it. Call or contact your local law enforcement. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Reiterate the danger of strangers: Knowing who could be a potential threat is not something that can’t be easy to spot. After all, a person who is friendly and inviting can just as easily be a predator hiding their true colors. In order to be safe, make sure that your children are aware of the dangers that lurk outside from potential predators. While not everyone is a threat you should have steps in place for them, so that they can stay safe at all times. For example, explain to them that using their voice can be a powerful deterrent as it alerts people of something going on, thus scaring the threatening individual away.
Communication: Another way of keeping tabs on your child or children is by making sure that they have access to a cell phone. Before they venture out make sure that they know how to use it and that they know the home phone number by heart. They may not need to use it, but for your peace of mind, it’s better to have them prepared.
Set a time: Give them a time that they must be home by. Depending on their age, you may be more or less lenient. Only you as the parent can decide the time frame, but this will help you to ensure that they know they have to be home at a set time. If they don’t arrive at the time stated, you can either ring them on their cell phone or head out to search for them in the set perimeter you gave them.
These are just some of the ways in which you can ensure that your children remain safe on one of the most popular festivities of the year. Halloween should be a time when friends and family can get together to enjoy themselves; and knowing that they are safe will only help to make the evening more memorable.
By putting these simple measures into place, you can ensure that everyone has a memorable Halloween that can be enjoyed by all. Even though your child’s safety is important, that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on having fun. That can still be achieved through simple means that you as the parent enforce. So instead of worrying about the potential dangers lurking in the dark, you can rest assured that they are safe as they spend the evening giving people a scare.
•Always know where your children are.
•Put your children’s emergency identification (name, address, phone number) on their clothes.
•Teach your children your home phone number and to how call 911 if there is an emergency.
•Agree on a specific time when children must return home.
•Contact law enforcement authorities immediately if there is any suspicious or unlawful activity.
•Always tell your parents where you are going.
•Never enter any home without getting your parent’s permission first.
•Never get into any vehicle, unless your parents know and have said it’s OK.
•Always wear reflective clothing at night.
•Never approach any house that is not well lit.
•Remember anything weird that an adult says or does to you – and tell your parents immediately.
•Run away from people who offer you candy or other treats or want you to help look for their puppy or kitten.
•Scream, run and fight if anyone tries to grab you or make you to go with them.
•Don’t play in areas that you are unfamiliar with.
•Stay on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, always walk facing traffic.
Wacky/Fun Laws: In Chillicothe, Ohio, it is unlawful to place tombstones on the sidewalks. A Glendale, California, ordinance permits horror films to be shown only on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays. In Kirksville, Missouri, it is unlawful to carry a human skeleton, or a part of one, in the public ways.