I think one thing that most adults can agree on is that trick-or-treating as a kid was the best. Now, as parents, how exciting is it to share these fun traditions with your kids? So many cool costumes, new characters, and the candy — yum. I just love taking my 5-year-old trick-or-treating around New York City. We go into stores along Broadway, and a lot of streets close down for an outdoor Halloween block party. But when are your kids old enough to go trick-or-treating on their own? Even though I live in a safe, residential neighborhood with tons of families, I'd still be hesitant to allow my son to go out on his own when he starts to ask for more independence. When it comes to a question like this, I think there's a lot to consider.
We all want our kids to have fun and to show them that we trust them by allowing them to foster their independence, but we also want them to be safe. There are so many factors that go into considering something like this, but it's not impossible to come up with a safe strategy that works for both you and your child. I surveyed moms on social media and asked whether or not they let their child go trick-or-treating alone and if they do, what are some things they considered when making their decision. It seems that most moms were confronted with this request by their tween-agers. So kids aged 10 to 11 years old are most likely ready to go trick-or-treating without an adult chaperone. While we know our kids, and we trust that our kids will make good choices, it's still scary to think about your little one going out into the night on their own. So here are some things to consider other than their age and wishes.
Your neighborhood. What kind of neighborhood do you live in? Is it safe? Will there be lots of other families out trick-or-treating? Do you live in a community where you know a lot of people, or will there be a lot of potential strangers? Are there any dangerous streets with busy intersections? These are the kinds of things you need to consider when allowing your little ones to go out on their own for the first time. In an article on the blog Erie Sense, there are some really good tips on how to keep your child safe if they're going out trick-or-treating on their own. Whether it's their first time or not, these safety tips will come in handy and help keep your family safe.
For instance, in the event that something does go wrong, how will your child be able to contact you? Having access to a cellphone would be crucial in a situation like this. You may also want to consider staying connected via GPS on a smartphone. For some parents, this may be too much, but honestly, it's better to be safe than sorry in an emergency. The article also suggested choosing a route that your child will go. This way you can help your child avoid any busy streets that you don't want them crossing on their own. Remember, it's not that you don't trust your kids, it's that you don't trust what's out there. Strangers, careless drivers, predators — there's a lot to be concerned about, so it's best to be prepared and consider your safest options.
Another thing you may want to consider is the group of friends your child will be going with. Is it a solid group of kids that you're familiar with? Or is it a new group you don't really know and trust yet? It's probably wise to come up with a plan if something goes wrong and your child feels unsafe and wants to leave the group.
It's great being able to give your kids more independence, and it allows them to show you that they're ready for more responsibility. But at the same time, it's important to keep them safe, especially on nights like Halloween. Come up with your plan and stay connected, and your not-so-little one should be fine. Happy trick-or-treating.