My dear friend Kimberlee Mitchell is a Child Safety Expert and she shared this advice with me. Enjoy!
Halloween is a night of fun adventure! It’s common for youngsters to want to go it alone with a group of pals, however, it’s best to chaperone your young children. Why? Halloween night poses many safety issues. It’s dark out so visibility is impaired; a lot of people (and strangers) are on the streets so it’s easy to get lost or separated; older kids are often out on their own and up to unsupervised mischief; sidewalk traffic jams often result in pushing or spontaneous detours into the street; candy should be inspected before kids dig in…need I go on?
Some folks might feel comfortable with leaving their responsible ten or eleven-year-old home alone for an hour or two but letting them trick-or-treat on their own is not the same thing. The variables on Halloween night are just too many to expect a child to be able to safely navigate one hundred percent of the time on their own. Letting them go it alone is an unsafe gamble with the odds stacked against your child.
Do this instead:
- Make it a multi-family affair! Create the tradition of going out as a family with a group with other families so it’s fun for the kids. ‘Tweens love hanging with their buddies.
- Be a festive parent and dress up too! Even if it’s just a hat or makeup. Even if you get an eye-roll from your child, they will remember this fondly in years to come. You’ll appreciate the photos too!
- Allow them to go up to doors alone while you hang back. Let them walk ahead of you a bit and feel some freedom.
- Buy matching glow sticks or flash lights so your group is easy to spot by you and oncoming traffic.
- Take photos. Make memories. Delight in your children.
Later, when they hit middle school, you can re-approach the idea of allowing them to go it alone. Position it as an age appropriate privilege they must earn. Why rush it and risk their safety on the one night of the year when children are most likely to get hit by a car and die, according to Safe Kids USA. It’s a no brainer to me. Besides, they’ll be off and running with their pals soon. Milk this very special yet fleeting time for all you can!