In many countries around the world, the end of October sees the traditional Halloween celebrations, and for children the 31st can be one of the greatest nights of the year because they get to go out of the house and scour the neighbourhood for sweets from the locals. For parents, however, the evening can be a worrying period in which they count down the minutes until the kids return home safely.
There are ways to help the children remain safe without crowding them out of their enjoyment, however. For the youngest kids, it’s best to go with them to keep an eye on what they’re doing. Mum or Dad can remain in the background, of course, but will be able to watch over things all the time. A good tip for parents of little ones is to tell them which houses to go to, having pre-arranged with neighbours that they are planning to call.
Needless to say, older children will want to go out with their friends unsupervised, and although this could be a worry for parents there are rules you can impose before they set off. For example, it’s a good idea to tell them all beforehand about sticking together throughout the adventure. If it’s possible to let your child take a mobile phone along, that’s a good idea as well.
Sweets for the sweet
One of the great delights of Halloween for children is that they receive a large number of sweets from their neighbours. For parents who are concerned about what they might bring back, it’s sensible to get them to lay out their stash when they arrive home in order to inspect it (you can easily make a game of this). Then, if you see any items that aren’t individually wrapped it would be sensible to take them away, if only because they could be contaminated with germs. It’s also possible of course that they might not be sweets at all.
Many young children want to get involved in the traditional pumpkin carving, which is great because you want them to take an interest in this enjoyable activity. Although the youngest kids should not be doing any of the carving purely because of the risk of injury, you can still get them involved by encouraging them to design the face and to draw it on the pumpkin before the carving starts.
Worries over the health and safety of children don’t end when they reach their teenage years, of course. By that stage, many of them will want to go to parties in each other’s homes, far away from the prying eyes of Mum and Dad. In such cases, it’s difficult to strike a balance between letting them have fun and remaining out of harm’s way. One thing that simply has to be done is to give them a set time to be home by. Tell them that if they’re not back by then, you will personally come to the party to remove them. That should ensure they do as they’re told!