Every year millions of American children (and sometimes parents) don costumes and go door to door looking for “tricks or treats.” Every year, parents turn around, go back home to get something they’ve forgotten or are separated from their children while out and about.
By following the given checklist, parents and their children will have everything they need for a safe and happy Halloween.
Trick or treating is done at night. Car drivers can’t always see homemade costumes or little ones who step into the street. Parent and child should carry flashlights. A small flashlight 3-6″ long can also be attached to the costume or forearm of the child.
Practice with the child to make sure they know how to use it. The flashlight isn’t just to warn cars, but many streets aren’t well lit- little feet can avoid potholes and uneven sidewalks.
2. Plan Ahead
Sit down with the child and plan what streets and neighborhoods will be visited. Once those streets have been “T & T’d,” then return home. As a child, we would end our night once the candy carriers were full.
Plan with the child or children on what candy is ok to accept or not. Nothing ends the joy of the evening by watching the night’s proceeds go in the trash bin.
One of the main parts of the Halloween checklist is the costume. Have everyone dress up before Halloween to make sure the costumes fit and don’t impede movement or vision. Make sure masks don’t make it difficult for the child to breathe.
Make sure parts of the costume can be seen in the dark. Turn out the lights and use a flashlight. If the costume is store-bought, some part of it should be reflective. If not, or the costume is home made, add reflective strips or shapes for safety.
4. What Happens if Child and Parent Are Separated?
Make a plan with the child or children ahead of time. A good rule would be to gather at the end of every front walk or driveway; or perhaps every other. If several children are going together, have more than one parent go with them.
Use a safe word. Let the children know that an adult they don’t know that doesn’t use the safe word or code word is to be considered a danger- scream for help. Also teach them to use discretion- the people who answer the door should only hear “trick or treat.” Let the child or children know not to enter anyone’s home without the parent.
A gathering word to be called out loud by the parent can also be used. Let the child or children know that if they do not respond immediately (as in staying behind to talk with friends), the night will be over; or perhaps lose part of their candy.
5. Plan Ahead for The Candy
To avoid the inevitable “I wanna eat it all now!” by planning how much candy will/will not be consumed while or after the evening. This part of Halloween planning saves avoids arguments and bad feelings at home.
Have a plan for the candy collected. A few pieces tonight, tomorrow or the weekend and so on. This prevents gorging and the stomachaches later.
6. Halloween Party Planning
If having a Halloween party instead of going door to door, make a written plan ahead of time. Decide how many will attend and plan for food, drinks, games, music and so on. Have extra candy on hand to give out for those are going door to door.
As part of your Halloween checklist, plan ahead for outdoor decorations. Set a firm budget and write out or draw a decorating scheme. A theme is easiest to help set a budget.
Money isn’t always available for Halloween decorations. Find out what you can use or make from what you have. No need to buy fake headstones, make them out of cardboard and spray paint them. Dollar stores abound with inexpensive decorations.
8. Plan What to Do If You Don’t Want to Give Out Candy
With the obesity crisis, not everyone wants to give out candy. A bag of inexpensive party favors from the dollar store will work just as well. Kids like getting toys as much as candy; just make sure that little ones get toys to big to swallow or let their parents know the toy should be monitored.
9. Halloween Music
If music is part of your Halloween planning but your budget is tight, download free music bytes from ilovewavs.com. The sound bytes range from a few seconds to a minute; download them all to a disc and play at the party or door.
How about music from TV shows and movies? Try All-About-Halloween.com. They have music without the words, so you can make a contest at a party of “Who Knows the Words.”
10. Halloween Planning for Pets
Not all pets are prepared for a parade of children in costume at the front door, or to hear the sound effects associated with most Halloween tapes, records or discs.
Remove pets to a quiet room with soft music so they can relax and not be frightened by the events of the evening. This also prevents children from accidentally giving pets chocolate- a potentially fatal accident.
Halloween planning will make the evening safe and fun for everyone. Get started now so you’re not trying to get everything done at the last minute.