Top tips to keep your kids safe while trick-or-treating this Halloween

Photo: File image
Photo: File image
It’s nearly Halloween, the scariest day of the year - but for many parents, it’s not the costumes or the horror movies they fear.

It’s because, for many of our kids, they will be heading out trick-or-treating for the first time.

And for those of us who watch too much Criminal Minds, it can be nerve-racking for parents to navigate.

Constable Brian Ward, who started the initiative Brian & Bobby to teach Kiwi kids about safety, has some practical tips up his sleeve for keeping kids safe this Halloween.

Ahead of Halloween last year, Ward spoke to the hosts of the Herald’s parenting podcast One Day You’ll Thank Me and revealed his top tips on how to trick-or-treat safely.

Make sure kids’ costumes are practical

“We all want to go as Olaf the snowman ‘cause he’s funny. But in reality if you put an Olaf the snowman’s head on, you’ve got two sticks and you can’t very well move,” Ward explains.

“So avoid things that have got full mass and helmets and everything else, because that’s going to cut down on your vision and everything else.”

The right supervision

“Take some supervision, and think age-appropriate supervision,” Ward advises.

“A 6-year-old going out with an 11-year-old is not age-appropriate unless you are standing at your house and you can see them going around the neighbourhood, in which case it’s all good.

“Stay on one side of the footpath and get the kids to go up one side and then you cross them over, and then go to the next. You don’t need to accompany them to every door.”

Prepare them for what’s in store

It’s important to explain what trick-or-treating means so your kids don’t come home disappointed or upset if they don’t get what they want.

“Trick or treat, not just treat, treat, treat ... give them some idea,” Ward says.

Respect others’ beliefs

Ward notes your child may come across a home that doesn’t celebrate Halloween for religious or cultural reasons.

In that situation, make sure they know how to respond respectfully and move on to the next house.

Put the devices away

“If you are the supervising parent, take the photo, take a couple of other photos, and then put the devices away so that your concentration is on your kids and what they’re doing.”

Take a torch

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Ward warns.

“You might turn around and all of a sudden it’s 8.30 and we were only meant to be out here until seven.

“So take a torch, and let your kids know that if they do get lost, we’re all going to meet by the Subway or we’re all going to meet by the school.”