11 Trick or Treat Parent Tips

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Brush up your child's Halloween fun by following our easy trick or treat guidelines. Have a hoot & be safe!

Halloween night is so much fun for kids — and this year it’s on a Saturday night, so all the better! Still, it’s important to make all of your expectations clear for your trick or treaters before they head out, so plan on covering your bases with the following tips:

EAT UP! 
Feed the kids an hour or so before they go out so they won’t load up on sweets right away once they have them. Some parents have a traditional dinner every Halloween — something they know their kids will gobble up quick like macaroni and cheese.

SEE & BE SEEN
See: Provide a powerful light-weight flashlight for your child so he can navigate his way easily in dark areas. Also configure a pocket or some spot on his costume for stashing the flashlight when it’s not in use.
Be seen: It gets dark out there and while drivers try to see trick or treaters, sometimes it’s hard. Provide glow necklaces, bracelets or sticks for each child in your trick or treating group. Reflective tape (available at Walmart) is also helpful and can be applied to any costume and to the back of shoes.

TRACK YOUR TREATER
The Track & Treat app, available through the iTunes app store or Google Play lets you know where your child is in real time. You simply provide email addresses of friends who will be in your trick-or-treater’s area. Other apps that help you keep track of where your trick or treater is: FamilySignal; Life360; Glympse; Footprints

USE THAT CELL PHONE
Make sure that someone in your child’s group has a cell phone so you can be reached if needed. Also, make it clear if you want to be called by a certain time in the evening. Sometimes kids change plans, so make it clear you want to know about any changes through the courtesy of a phone call.

COSTUME SAFETY
Double check that your child’s costume isn’t a tripping hazard. If so, use safety pins or adhesive velcro to anchor it above street level. Also make sure that your child wears comfy shoes for all of that walking around!

KNOW THE ROUTE
Be very clear with your kids about where they can and cannot go on their route. Let them know what areas are off limits, what roads they can and cannot cross, etc.

PILLOWCASES FOR ALL
Yes, those orange pumpkins are cute but sometimes the handles snap off when the pumpkin gets heavy. Give each child a pillowcase for candy. If you’re walking with the group, bring an extra case so you can siphon off candy if your child’s pillowcase gets too heavy.

NO LIGHTS, NO GO
Instruct your kids not to go to houses where the porch lights are off

STAY TOGETHER
Younger kids going around with older ones can sometimes straggle behind. Tell your child’s group to stay together no matter what and to wait for each other before moving to another house

BE NICE
Tell your kids to say “Trick or treat!” when arriving at a house and to be sure and say “Thank you!” after receiving candy.

HOME SWEET HOME
Be very clear about what time kids are expected home so you don’t have to worry
Check your child’s candy and remove anything that you don’t like

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.

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