Little girl and boy carving pumpkin at Halloween. Dressed up children trick or treating. Kids trick or treat. Child in witch costume playing in autumn park. Toddler kid with jack-o-lantern.

Soon it will be the time of year when children dress up in costumes and run around the neighborhood in search of Halloween candy and treats. They’re adorable, yes, but you must always be mindful of hazards that  could quickly ruin the fun for both you and your kids.

Whether you go out with them, or stay at home and let the older ones strike out on their own, there are always things you can do to insure that you all enjoy the Halloween festivities.

  • If the kids are old enough to be out on their own, make sure they’re with a group, hopefully with adult supervision.
  • Have a plan in place just in case they get separated from the group.
  • Know the areas they will be in. In case of an emergency you’ll have some idea where to find them.
  • Stay in touch. In this era of cell phones, have them check in every few hours or whenever they change areas.
  • Have them use face paint or makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct their vision.
  • Try to get them to wear costumes with bright and reflective colors so they can be seen more easily.
  • Give them a few glow sticks or a small flashlight to help them see, and be seen.
  • Remind them to never enter a stranger’s home or car.
  • Instruct them to avoid short cuts through yards, alleys, or parks at night.
  • They should stay in well lighted areas, and also avoid dark homes without any lighting.
  • Urge them not to eat any of the treats until they get home and you’ve  had a chance to check everything.
  • Always park your car in your garage, if you have one. Cars are an ideal target for pranksters.
  • Secure garbage cans, hoses and other loose items around your home.
  • Avoid answering your door after a certain time. Depending on your neighborhood, trick-or-treaters tend be off the streets at around 8 or 9 pm.
  • Keep your doors, windows locked at all times, even if you stay home.
  • Make sure your security cameras are working properly. They can document movement around your home in the event of vandalism or damage.
  • Make sure your exterior lights are on. You should be able to see people as they approach your home. Lighting will tend also discourage intruders, prevent falls, and make the people in your home feel a little safer.
  • If you do go out with the kids, program some interior lights to randomly go on and off to give the appearance that someone is home.