Here are trick or treating tips for parents to ensure your little princess doesn't turn into a witch or your transformer into a "wail-wolf."
Feed your kids a healthy meal prior to going trick or treat. Your children will be happier, and it will help reduce the temptation of kids wanting to devour candy from the first trick or treat stop.
Children of any age should be accompanied by a parent, if possible. Tweens or young teens who still trick or treat may resist this notion; if they trick or treat without an adult, set firm rules and require a child to carry a cell phone that can be used in the event of an emergency. Older kids should know where they can go, what etiquette they must follow, safety rules, carry a flashlight or a lit device, and have an absolute deadline for returning home.
Purchased costumes should be made of flame-retardant material. Costumes should also be reflective of the local weather. Some parents overdress their kids so that they sweat and are uncomfortable in costumes that are very heavy or don't "breathe." Others freeze in skimpy costumes or those made of thin material. Trick or treating is for children; comfort and safety should come before a parent's reluctance to have a child wear a coat over a costume.
Insist that your child goes to the bathroom BEFORE leaving the house. And, be considerate of your child's bathroom needs by not choosing a costume that is difficult to get on and off in time to avoid last-minute bathroom needs, if at all possible.
Never allow children to eat candy before it is inspected. Any opened candy should be thrown away, and unless you personally the families who make homemade goodies, it is recommended that you dispose of homemade treats. Immediately toss any items that are suspect in any way, and get rid of (either through donation or throwing away) any treats that your kid doesn't like. Some parents also put away some candy and save for later or set rules allowing kids to eat all they want for a designated period, then dispose of the rest.
Suggestions for residents/homeowners for making Halloween a fun night of trick or treat:
Pick up objects in the yard, sidewalk, or driveway that could create safety issues and be sure any tools are safely put away. Check hoses, flower pots, and extension cords.
Think "trick or treat safety" when decorating. Safety experts recommend using plug-in or battery-powered jack-o-lanterns instead of using a live candle. If you do opt for a live flame, make sure it is away from any possible exposure to trick or treaters' costumes or where they will be walking or standing.
Keep your house well-lit and inviting, or if going for a spooky home theme, make sure trick-or-treaters know your house has a welcome-mat extended.
Be sure your pets are secured and put away, or appropriate arrangements are made. Some pets become frightened; others may become territorial or even aggressive. You don't want your pets scaring trick or treaters any more than you want kids frightening your pets. Be especially careful with cats, who might dart out of open doors.
Carefully consider treats such as healthier food alternatives than candy. Non-sweet items like crackers, chips, raisins, or popcorn could receive thumbs up from parents. Some also give the "treat" to trick or treat by way of pencil, spider ring, glow in the dark decal, etc.
See next page for trick or treat / Halloween trips for child care providers.