The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has outlined ten things that parents can do to ensure that their children have a fun, but above all safe, Halloween night this year.
- CHOOSE bright, flame-retardant costumes or add reflective tape to costumes and candy bags so children are easily seen in the dark. In addition, carry a glow stick or flashlight.
- PLAN a trick-or-treating route in familiar neighbourhoods with well-lit streets. Avoid unfamiliar neighbourhoods, streets that are isolated, or homes that are poorly lit inside or outside.
- NEVER send young children out alone. They should always be accompanied by a parent or another trusted adult. Older children should always travel in groups.
- ALWAYS walk younger children to the door to receive treats and don’t let children enter a home unless you are with them.
- BE SURE children do not approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless you are with them.
- DISCUSS basic pedestrian safety rules that children should use when walking to and from houses.
- CONSIDER organising a home or community party as an alternative to “trick-or-treating”.
- MAKE SURE children know their home phone number and address in case you get separated. Teach children how to call 911 (or equivalent emergency number) in an emergency.
- TEACH children to say “NO!” or “this is not my mother/father” in a loud voice if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat, or leave with them. And teach them that they should make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming and resisting.
- REMIND children to remain alert and report suspicious incidents to parents and/or law enforcement.
“Child safety is important year round, but Halloween is an especially important time for parents and children to pay extra attention to their surroundings and not let their guard down,” said Nancy McBride, National Safety Director of NCMEC. “It is important that parents exercise a few basic safety precautions to help ensure that Halloween is both fun and safe.”