As the chill is in the air, the leaves are turning colors, and the aroma of apple cider penetrates the air your thoughts will soon turn to Halloween. Here are some tips to help make this Halloween a safe and fun one. Have fun with your children!
Understand that crimes against children during Halloween are rare. Halloween is a great opportunity, however, to discuss safety issues several days in advance. Do not scare. Have supportive, kind, age-appropriate conversations. We constantly talk about stranger danger, but the vast majority of children are victimized by someone they know. Children should always be welcomed or encouraged to report inappropriate, questionable or dangerous behavior by others. Children should be gently instructed to scream and make a scene to alert parents if anyone tries to grab them or force them, in any way, to go with them.
Parents should accompany their children (includes pre-teens and young teenagers) on Halloween. If teens protest, that’s too bad; it should not be their choice. Accompany them anyway. Be visible to the people answering the door. Unless the porch light is on, do not go to the house.
Children should not enter homes without knowing the occupants, and with the immediate permission of parents. Travel in a group with other parents. Carry a flashlight and a smartphone. Always inspect what treats your children receive. Children should not eat what they receive without parental inspection. Costumes should be easily seen – by you, others and traffic. Stay in your neighborhood. Stay where you are familiar with the surroundings.
As to “pranks,” call the police. Extra police are out before and during Halloween.
Parole and Probation authorities are out keeping an eye on sex offenders. If you see young teens roaming as a group unescorted by adults, stand by your property or neighborhood and greet them kindly. Just knowing that adults claim the area as their own is enough to keep most young folks in check. If you see strange adults or young adults driving by slowly or attempting to interact with children, get the license number and call police. But that’s not going to happen if they see you with a cell phone in your hand. Note that there are some parents who follow their kids in a vehicle (but you already knew that).
Please be a nice person and check on elderly folks in the neighborhood to make sure they are OK. Have a fun and safe Halloween!