costume ideas and trick-or-treat plans fill elementary school halls and playgrounds all over America. It’s a night of fun and excitement, imagination, and creativity; but like anything done in too much excitement and distraction, the night could easily take a bad turn with an accident or dangerous situation.
Halloween is a great opportunity to organize a neighborhood watch in your community and to educate kids on safety procedures. To help avoid some of the more chaotic moments of the night, (scared and crying little ones, the obligatory loose Chihuaha, or the overzealous bigger kids that sometimes take the fun a little too far) it would be a really good idea to form a neighborhood safety watch if there isn’t already one in place.
Utilize your communities HOA resources to advertise the need for volunteers early in the month. With the help of the volunteers you should designate a specific time for trick-or-treating to begin and end. Try to get fliers noting the time and basic Halloween safety rules distributed, along with a request that participating neighbors keep their homes and drive-ways well lit for trick-or-treaters. Notify your local police department ahead of time and if they are willing ask them to make an appearance.
Organize your list of volunteers by address and assign duty positions according to their home street. Have your volunteers monitor at various locations but keep in mind some of the more traffic heavy areas. Have your volunteers equipped with flashlights, at least one easily accessible first aid kit and if at all possible, walkie-talkies or cell phones to be able to communicate with each other.
Assign chaperones to groups of trick-or-treaters even if they are accompanied by parents. Have chaperones direct children to the participating homes and help them avoid the unlit homes. Have all volunteers remind children never to enter any of the homes and instruct them to scream, run away, and make a scene if approached in a suspicious way. Be aware of the time and have volunteers escort trick-or-treaters home.
Once everyone is safely home, have volunteers do a thorough drive through of the neighborhood and assist with any possible clean up and to look out for any suspicious activity. Before the night ends follow up with a quick meeting at a designated location to recap the night’s events, discuss what worked, what didn’t work and ideas for future community events.
Safety Tips for Halloween
1. Do not allow a child to go “Trick or Treating” alone. Adults should accompany young AND older children (even if it’s from a distance).
2. Be sure to go with the younger children all the way to the door of every house they approach.
3. Be familiar with as many neighbors as you can.
4. Children should be warned NOT to enter any home during trick-or-treating.
5. Children should be warned not to approach any vehicle, occupied or not.
6. Have children carry a glow stick or wear reflective clothing.
7. If wearing a mask, make sure children can see and breathe properly.
8. Costumes and masks should be marked as flame resistant.
9. Remind children to only approach houses that are well lit.
10. Parents should inspect all treats and throw away anything that looks tampered with.