Author: Kristen Harding, childcare expert at Tinies, the UK’s leading childcare agency.
As Halloween becomes more and more popular around the UK, some parents are entering unchartered territory. From choosing costumes to discussions about stranger danger, there are things parents can do to limit their own stress and maximise the experience for everyone.
Take your child’s, age, size and physical abilities into account when choosing a costume. For younger children, keep it simple and remember to make sure any attachments are well secured. If you purchase a costume you may want to reattach small pieces as they could be potential choking hazards.
Avoiding Sugar Overload
Having a limit of how many sweets are allowed to be consumed on the night and on a daily basis will mean the kids have treats for longer and the sugar highs and lows are kept to a minimum. While you are out and about, suggest you hold on to the majority of their loot and let them carry a smaller container just in case they have a moment of weakness. Just make sure if you’re holding the candy you don’t get caught having a sneaky chocolate fix!
It can be fun to go out with a few children but remember how intimidating a large group of kids can be. Limiting groups to 5 children or less means the person at the door will be less overwhelmed and you can still keep your eye on all of them.
Mind your Ps and Qs
Unfortunately children don’t always remember to say thank you and Halloween is no different, whether it’s because they are shy or caught up in the moment – it’s still not OK! Grabby hands and the absence of a thank you can make people unlikely to offer sweets again next year. Be sure to address politeness before you head out and don’t be afraid to remind them to say thank you every time, eventually it will become habit.
All year we tell children not to talk to strangers and then one night of the year we encourage them to go to strange homes and knock on the doors. This means we need to set boundaries beforehand without scaring them. Reminding them never to enter a stranger’s home and making sure you are always only a few steps away can help this. Never let the kids go into a garden you don’t have full site of, especially when you don’t know the person on the other side.
Where to go
Depending on where you live, there will be places that are safer than others for your children to Trick-or-Treat. There will be streets that you are familiar with, ones that you know a few people on and ones that are well lit. Think about these things when you plan your route. If there are streets you don’t walk down after dark, avoid them on Halloween. Look for indicators at each house before you let the children approach. There are no hard and fast rules, but if a house has a lit pumpkin outside, they are definitely in the spirit and will have sweets ready to hand out, whereas a house that turns off all front door lighting is sending a message that they are not participating this year – or they have run out of sweets.
Wrap it up
Sometimes sweets have a tendency to escape their wrappers. While there is probably nothing wrong with these sweets, there is no way to tell where they have been or who has touched them. It’s up to you as a parent but, removing unwrapped sweets from your child’s haul is a safer place to start.