At the end of every October, as breath becomes visible and trees find themselves bare, the rare opportunity for children to dance freely in the night is brought on by the magic of All Hallow’s Eve. With a simple bit of fabric and the right amount of face paint, the ultimate game of ‘dress up’ takes place. And for one magical night, our little ones get the chance to be whatever their innocent imagination can dream up, as they set out into the community with an insatiable hunger for candy bars and caramel apples.
But the holiday isn’t just for tots – adults seem to be taking part in growing numbers each and every year. While they may be too old to Trick-or-Treat, Mom and Dad can put on a mask and wig, and head out in search of a prize far more valuable than candy — the opportunity to be a kid again, if only for one night.
But herein lies the problem. Mom and Dad can easily take care of themselves. Our kids on the other hand need a guiding hand, a responsible presence to help them stay safe and navigate through the waves of adolescent skeletons and superheroes roaming our neighborhoods. That means preparing ahead of time, and educating our children about the difference between the kind of behavior that’s acceptable for good ghosts and ghouls, and the kind where they can quickly find themselves in a spooky situation.
Stop and think about it for a second; if Halloween wasn’t a cherished and time-tested tradition, the concept would sound BANANAS if someone came up with the idea today. If one October day you said to someone, “I’ve got an idea! Why don’t we make all our kids anonymous by dressing them up in weird outfits, and send them go door-to-door asking complete strangers for sugar?” Your neighbors would be Googling the number for Child Services faster than you can say ‘Freddy Kruger’.
But over the years, parents have gotten this crazy concept down to a fine science. By following a few simple rules of thumb, you can make sure that the only horror your little monsters will face on this most hair-raising of holidays is their inevitable stomach ache.
- Reality check: in many cities these days, it’s not safe to let kids walk the streets by themselves. Your best bet is to go along with them. But if you can’t take them yourself, coordinate with another parent to make sure they have an adult present at all times.
- Know the route your kids will be taking if you aren’t going with them, and if possible, take a practice run in the day time. Let them know that they are to check in with you every hour, by phone or by stopping back at home.
- Help your young child pick out or make a costume that will be safe. Make sure that it’s fireproof or treated with fire retardant. If they are wearing a mask of any kind, make sure that the eye holes are large enough for good peripheral vision.
- Set a concrete time that they need to be home – that’s right, candy hunting must have a curfew. Reiterate how important it is for them to be home on time, and make sure they call immediately if something happens and they are going to be delayed.
- Teach your children how to cross the street properly. Make sure they look both ways, and only cross at corners or crosswalks — NEVER from between parked cars. And if you have more than one child, the older child should take the hand of the younger child while crossing.
And this last one is for you, Parents. Check. That. Candy. No matter how ravenous your little monsters are when they get back home, make sure that the proper time is taken for inspection. Toss anything that may look like it’s been tampered with in the garbage — unwrapped or torn candy wrappers, any type of small puncture holes, and any treat with an unusual appearance or discoloration.
Have a Happy and Safe Halloween, from your friends at d’aprile properties!