Halloween is a time for ghosts, haunted houses, and other creepy happenings.  However, there are some scary experiences you'll definitely want to avoid, such as trick-or-treating mishaps.  Whether you're accompanying your toddlers for the first time or sending your kids off on their own, read on to learn how to keep your family safe while trick-or-treating.


Use the buddy system.

As a parent, you get to make the call about when your kids would be ready to go trick-or-treating without an adult chaperone.  The important thing is that children should never trick-or-treat alone.  Younger children can go with older, responsible siblings, and older children can pair up with a trustworthy friend.  If your children are venturing out without you, agree on a predetermined trick-or-treating route ahead of time.  Send your kids out with a cell phone, and remind them to keep it turned on so you can check in with them.


Stick to safe areas.

Avoid trick-or-treating on busy, highly trafficked streets unless there are sidewalks along your entire route.  Other things to consider, when selecting a trick-or-treating location, are whether the area has abundant street lighting and if the houses are well-lit and relatively close together.  There is safety in numbers, so choose a location where other families are trick-or-treating, and skip houses that are dark or set far back from the road.  Check your local social media or neighborhood forums for suggestions about the best trick-or-treating destinations in your area.


Be bright and visible.

Your kids' costumes should be easy to see by motorists and other pedestrians.  Dark costumes can be brightened up with reflective tape of the type that bicyclists wear.  Children, or the adults who accompany them, should also bring a flashlight or headlamp to help illuminate dark pathways and uneven sections of pavement.


Dress for the weather.

Late autumn weather can be unpredictable in many places.  It's a good idea to check the weather forecast before heading out on Halloween, but even if fair weather is predicted, you should still bring some warm clothing as a backup.  Waterproof ponchos can be folded and packed into a small bag or backpack and worn over costumes in the event of rainy weather.


Discard suspicious "treats."

Ideally, you should check out your kids' Halloween candy before they eat it, but if they're trick-or-treating unaccompanied by you, they might be tempted to munch as they stroll along.  So, before they set out, tell them only to eat candy that is factory-sealed.  Then, when your children arrive home, look over their stash of candy, and throw away anything that seems suspicious.  Fortunately, the chance that your children will get a tainted "treat" is astronomically small, but it's best to err on the side of safety.


Trick-or-treating is a beloved and time-honored October tradition.  Now, you can enjoy the fun and spookiness of Halloween while staying safe.