Everyone's been looking forward to this night – from the most wee of trick-or-treaters to those teens who are probably getting a little too old for this. Safe trick-or-treating means different things depending on the size of your young princess or pirate, so keep in mind these age-appropriate guidelines.
- Tiniest trick-or-treaters and grade school goblins: Some parents take their kids out for Halloween as soon as the tot can utter the words "Trick or treat." Toddlers should of course stay as close to mom or dad as possible, but you can put a bit of an independent distance between yourself and your school-age children. As long as they're walking with a buddy or a group, you can watch them from the curb or the corner of the street.
- Tweens and teens: At this age, consider letting your child go out with buddies. This doesn't mean you're letting them go completely. Outfit them with a flashlight (put in new batteries), a cell phone, or else a phone card or change to use a pay phone, and any emergency numbers they might need. Set a curfew and roaming boundaries, and remind them of all the important safety rules they learned when they were younger: walk instead of run, look both ways before crossing the street, stay on sidewalks, do not cross between parked cars, and don't go into strangers' homes.
- Ageless Hallow-wisdom: Make your child visible in the dark of night with a flashlight or reflective tape added to their costume. And no matter what their age, remind your children to save their treats until they return home. Though the incidence of candy contamination is low, you may need to scan candy if your child has a specific food allergy or to weed out the sticky taffy candy that can yank teeth right out of their sockets.
- Another important reminder for young trick-or-treaters: Go only to well-lit houses, and remain outside the door – never go inside, even if invited. Also, never go into a stranger’s car, even with promises of candy.
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