Tip #1: Be Seen! If possible, when helping your kids choose their costumes, consider steering them towards lighter and brighter costumes. If your child chooses to be a dark costume like Darth Vader (as mine has), consider getting them a bright accessory like a light saber. If nothing else, if you have a way to work in reflective strips or glow sticks, it helps them be seen. If that’s no good, consider a glow stick inside of their plastic pumpkin candy holder.
Tip #2: Flashlights. In advance of Halloween, check your flashlights for batteries. The last thing you want to do is hold up your crew looking for a flashlight that works. Consider getting your kids flashlights as well! This time of year is when retailers are selling three-packs of LED flashlights for next to nothing.
Tip#3: Prepare the group. After dinner sometime the week before Halloween, consider walking the neighborhood. Pay attention to protruding tree roots, places that sidewalk has lifted up or areas you don’t want to walk a group of kids in the dark. The night-of, talk with everyone before opening the door and watching everyone run off. Know who is in your trick-or-treating group. Try to establish rules like “no running” and “stay off the lawns.” Cross the street as a group. Tell your kids not to enter someone's home unless they’re accompanied by the chaperon. Even if the kids don’t follow these rules, at least you tried.
Tip #4: Minimize the costume. Once your kids leave the house, their objective can switch quickly between looking cute, collecting candy and enjoying time with friends. Regardless of what they’re wearing, they probably look adorable already. Take pictures in advance of going out and leave the accessories at home (unless they serve as safety accessories). Anything that can be lost, tripped over or neglected should be left at home. Replace the fancy shoes with tennis shoes. Don’t get me started on fake plastic high heels on a 6-year-old.
Tip#5: Candy Management. You’re likely going to be stuck with a mountain of candy at the end of the night. It’s best to discuss and set expectations in advance with regard to how much candy consumption is allowed. While rumors of tainted candy persisted since long before I was trick-or-treating, consider reading up on these rumors in advance. While it’s comforting to know that your chances of getting hurt from bad candy are significantly lower than getting hurt tripping over your lightsaber, it doesn’t hurt to consider a quick once-over look of the kids’ haul. Not a fan of your kids consuming a pile of sugar? Read my article on How to Disappear the Candy. Finally, since your kids are likely to sneak a few skittles on their journey, make sure that your kids have had a full meal before going out. If you’re thinking of ordering pizza, consider getting it for pick-up as the delivery delay is usually over an hour on Halloween night.
If you’re thinking that all of this is a bit overthought, you may be right. Halloween is supposed to be a good for everyone, especially the kids. Still, the night can turn quickly from fun to tears. If those tears can be prevented with some minor preparation, I’m always a fan of thinking it through in advance.