Almost all kids love Halloween: the quest for candy, the adrenalin rush of a haunted house and for some, a taste of independence. For many kids, Halloween is the first time they are allowed to go out with their friends with no parents attached.
This is a big decision for parents. Should I let my child go alone or should I tag along? Though it’s always safest to have a parent go trick-or-treating with the kids if you are considering letting your child go alone here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Can my child follow directions and understand a map so he or she won’t get lost?
- Do I know all the neighbors and the neighborhood and does my child?
- Does he or she how to call 911?
- Does he or she know his or her own phone number?
I would suggest a parent go with all elementary children, but as they start to approach junior high, that is when a parent might decide to let the child, if responsible, go out with a group of friends.
If a child does go without parents here are some good rules:
- Make sure they are going in a group.
- Create a specific trick-or-treating route together beforehand and make sure your kids know not to stray from it.
- Consider giving one of the children a cell phone in case of an emergency.
- Stress pedestrian safety. Make sure they will use sidewalks and crosswalks.
No matter a child’s age communication is extremely important in making Halloween safe. Make sure your kids know where they can go, how long they can be gone and with whom they can spend time in advance. Go over it a few times in the days leading up to Halloween to make sure they remember. Tell them again right before they head out the door to ensure they heard you. You also might have them repeat what you said to make sure they listened.