Trick-or-Treat Troubleshooter!

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Keep kids warm if it's cold on the big night and safeguard against costume mishaps.

“Can we go OUT now?” your little one asks for the umpteenth time. He’s got ants in his pants, rarin’ to go trick-or-treat with an enthusiastic Halloween spirit. Are you ready for the big night? Double check all of the kids before they spring out of sight!

LITTLE KIDS

It can get cold in October — or not! If you trick-or-treat with a little one in tow, be sure he’s properly bundled up. The American Academy of Pediatrics (healthychildren.org) states, “In colder weather (below 75 degrees Fahrenheit), your baby will need several layers of clothing to keep warm.” However, don’t layer up too much and cause him to sweat — especially if it’s a warm night!

Dressing Up Baby

• Add a thin under layer of clothing if Baby is wearing a thick costume.
• Add a thick under layer of clothing if the costume is thin.
• Add gloves and socks to keep hands and feet from getting cold.
• Deck out the stroller or wagon with blankets and a hot water bottle for extra warmth.

BIGGER KIDS

Trick-or-treating excitement is hard to contain for this age group. Prep them beforeo they run off. Feed them early so they don’t eat candy ALL night long. Also, double check costumes for length and loose hems that can become tripping hazards. Use festive glow tape or glow sticks to help illuminate your child in the night so drivers and others can see quick movements from groups in the dark.

Safekids.org’s top tips:

• Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers.
• Choose lightly colored costumes when you can.
• Opt for non-toxic face paint and makeup whenever possible.
• Have kids use glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
• Children 12 and younger should not be alone at night without adult supervision.
• Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 – 9:30 p.m., so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
• When selecting a costume, make sure it’s the right size to prevent trips and falls.
• Lay down boundary rules about your neighborhood (where kids can go and where they cannot).
• Give kids clear messaging about where they are expected to be when they are done trick-or-treating.

PRE-TEENS & UP

Older kids want independence, but they should travel in packs. The National Safety Council (nsc.org) says children and adults should put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across streets.

More Tips for Teens:
• At least one teen in the group should have a phone.
• Have everyone’s phone number who’s going with your child (and maybe even their parents’ numbers, too).
• Plan and know the route before they leave and be sure the rules are clear.
• Have them carry flashlights, even if they don’t want to (they can be used as self-defense tools if a situation arises).
• Stress the importance of walking against traffic to watch for oncoming cars.

There’s an APP for That!
Consider using apps on your teen’s smartphone to help you locate him — or keep him safe while he’s posting to social media about his adventures during the night.

uKnowFamily – GPS
FamilySignal LLC; Free
See your entire family on a map and receive alerts when anyone leaves or arrives at pre-programmed destinations.

Find My Family, Friends, Phone
Life360; Free
A location-sharing app that notifies you when he arrives at a chosen spot you set up.

Apps allowing the background to show what’s in front of him while he’s texting:

Walky Talky (Ravi Borra; Free)

Type While Walk (Maulik Shah; Free)

Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of three.

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