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Dear Reader,

I love Halloween with all the tricks and treats, and how everyone gets to let their inner child out by dressing up and becoming someone they always wanted to be.

This year my 6-year-old granddaughter wants to be Supergirl, while her brothers plan to dress up as Simba and a Unicorn. Their schools will have a party and they will too, but gone are the days I loved — when children came door to door and we gave away treats (we used to give toothbrushes and pennies!).

Nowadays, the streets can be are a scary place. Did you know that children are twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween then other days? Or that October ranks number two in traffic fatalities? It’s daunting how the times have changed!

To help ensure adults and children have a safe (and happy) holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  1. Be sure to choose a Halloween costume that’s not a safety hazard:
    • All costumes, wigs etc. must be fire resistant
    • Avoid masks that obstruct vision
    • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags or give them glow sticks
    • When buying Halloween makeup make sure it’s no toxic, test it first
    • Remove all makeup before bed so tiny faces won’t be irritated
  1. Safety tips for when you’re out on the street:
    • A responsible adult should be with children – And please, no red cups should be in your hands
    • If your older children are alone, plan an acceptable route, and make sure they are with a buddy and know to check in
    • Agree on a specific time your child needs to be home
    • Have your children wait to eat any treats until they are home, and you can check their bag
    • Rule for all kiddos: Keep your heads up and electronic devices down so you can see where you are. Walk and do not dart across the street
    • Parents, make sure you are part of a parent group that knows where your son or daughter is, especially if they are a teen

If Throwing a Party For Tweens:

Make sure your tween is involved in the party planning. As a parent, we know parties are important for tweens when it comes to their social growth and development. Another bonus? It’s always great to have a home where tweens like to gather. More often than not unsupervised parties can be a recipe for disaster. Unsupervised kids, especially of a certain age, can get into all kinds of shenanigans…anyone remember HOME ALONE?

Things to know when you’re helping a tween plan their party:

  • How many guests?
  • Who’s invited?
  • How do we let other parents know?
  • What time of day?
  • What are the rules?
  • Make sure you know what’s in that red cup and candy dish your teen is carrying or setting out.
  • Even though your teen wants you to hide in your bedroom or bonus room, that doesn’t mean supervision should not take place. It is your home and you are the designated chaperone, after all. Check in from time to time, and be on hand if anyone needs you.
  • Have plenty of food, water, and organized treats.
  • A magician just might be fun for a Halloween party.
  • Enjoy the spooky evening, and know you have provided a safe venue for your tween and others.

Safety Tips for Motorists

The national Safety Council offers these tips for anyone who might be on the road during trick or treat hours:

  • Watch for children walking on roadways, mediums and curbs
  • Enter and exit driveways carefully
  • At twilight, and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing
  • Discourage new inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween

As a wise woman once told me, the younger the child the smaller the problem, the older the child the bigger the problem. Whether you are planning Halloween for the ghost or goblin set of preschoolers or the sixth grade rock stars or high schoolers (who know everything), parenting obligations stay the same. Do your best to keep your children safe, and enable them to enjoy their night.  Remember, for all ages there is magic in trying on different personas and enjoying the day!