Trick or Treat? Letting your child go out on Halloween without you

By Trace Ferguson

Halloween can be a spooky and exciting time for children and parents alike. As kiddies grow into adolescents, it is almost a guarantee that they will want more independence than ever before. When they reach those prime tween-age years, they may get choosier with their costume or no longer want to go trick-or-treating with mom, dad and younger siblings. But, as a parent, how do you know when it is safe for them to trick-or-treat without you?

Even though Halloween night is a holiday full of planned frights, we all know that the world can be scary 365 days a year. There is no reason Halloween should not be fun and exciting for all, but there are some measures that you can take to make sure your children stay safe when venturing out without you this year.

Background check

With a simple online search, you can see the exact addresses of all convicted felons and sexual offenders in your neighborhood. With this information, you can forewarn your tween and his friends to avoid these houses.

Plan their route

Make sure that you and your tween are on the same page with the trick-or-treating route he is going to take. Get a map of your neighborhood and sit down with him before he leaves. Trace the path that he needs to take and emphasize the importance of sticking to it. This way, if anything happens, you know where he should be.

Check in regularly

Most tweens can hardly be separated from their cellphones for even a minute. This becomes especially useful on nights like Halloween. Set a scheduled check-in time for every 20–30 minutes to see how he is doing and where he is in the neighborhood. Make sure to get the phone numbers of the children that he will be with.  If your child is not the best about texting back, all iPhones have an app called “Find Friends.” With this app, your child can go to his text message feed that he has with you and click the “I” in the upper right-hand corner. Then he can click “share my location” and select the time period for which he wants to share his location with you. Then you can just go to your “Find Friends” app and see his real-time location in your neighborhood. This is sure way to give you some peace of mind.

Use your judgement

Ultimately, you know your child better than anyone else. You know how mature he is and how much trouble he can get himself into. You also know how safe your neighborhood is on any given day. If you feel that your child is old enough to be responsible and make smart choices, then he should be fine. Do not forget to remind him to never go inside a stranger’s home and always use the buddy system. Also encourage him to not eat ANY candy until he is home safe and you can check every piece to make sure it has not been tampered with.