Halloween is almost here! As you're finalizing your Halloween costumes, carving pumpkins, and stocking up on candy, it’s important to also keep your family’s safety in mind. Here are five easy tips to make sure your children stay safe while Trick-or-Treating:
1. Plan ahead Go over your route with your children before Halloween night. Explore your path together a head of time by walking it with them in the daylight so everyone knows where they are going. Teach your child how to call 9-1-1 (or your local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost. Make sure they know their home address, your telephone number, and your full name in case they get separated from you.
2. Take a picture but don’t post it…yet Everyone loves to take pictures to share on social media. It’s a good idea to take photos of your children not only for the memories, but for safety reasons as well. Take a photo of your children before leaving the house (a full length photo and a head shot). If you are trick or treating with a group, make sure to take a group photo, as well. In the event that something happens, you will have a recent photo of your child, what they were wearing, and who they were with. However, don't post pictures or statuses in real time on social media. This is an easy way for predators to pinpoint your exact location and what costume your child is wearing, making it easier for them to lure your child away. Wait until the fun has ended to share with friends and family online.
3. Don’t go inside Make sure your children know never to go into a strangers house. Predators might ask your child to come inside and wait while they "go get more candy." Tell your child to let you know if this happens and immediately move onto the next house. Also, teach your child to never approach a house that is not well-lit.
4. Be seen Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick, or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars and other Trick-or-Treaters as they walk around at night.
5. Treat inspection Last but not least, inspect your child’s treats before they dig in. No, this is not for parents to steal their favorite candies, but rather make sure your child only eats commercially wrapped goodies. Candy does have an expiration date so be sure to throw out items that are past their shelf life. Although product tampering is rare, tell the children to bring ALL the candy home to be inspected BEFORE consuming any.
Keep these tips in mind for a safe and fun Halloween weekend! These tips are brought to you by NRA Refuse To Be A Victim. Visit rtbav.nra.org for more information or to find a seminar near you!