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Parents: Tips for Chaperoning a Halloween Party

Published by Joanie Cosimini

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No one likes a kill-joy chaperon at a Halloween party, but then nobody wants a wild Halloween party where kids risk getting hurt. Why not volunteer to host or chaperon your child’s Halloween party. We’ll show you how to head off problems at the pass and how to deal with difficult situations head on, all without embarrassing your kid to death. In fact, kids will want you to chaperon their next Halloween Party. I’ve worked with kids and youth for 23 years and despite the changes that have taken place over that time period, some things never change. Kids are still kids. Teens are still teens. That means, think back to when you were their age. Yes, your little angel, or demon as the Halloween party may call for, is capable of all the nasty little tricks you pulled and even more.

Tips for Chaperoning a Halloween Party: Get Your Head in the Game
The first thing you have to do in order to successfully chaperon a Halloween Party is get your head in the game. You aren’t there to be a buddy, a pal, or even to have fun. Your job is to make sure the kids at the party have fun without getting hurt. It’s not too hard and it can be fun, but establish this upfront, your number one priority is the kids, not yourself.

Tips for Chaperoning a Halloween Party: Don’t Drink on Your Shift
Don’t drink when you are chaperoning kids and teens. It impairs your judgment and may set an example for the kids that you wouldn’t want them to model. You need to have your wits about you so that regardless of what goes on at the Halloween Party you can make wise, lucid decisions. No liquor for you when you are chaperoning.

Tips for Chaperoning a Halloween Party: Patrol
Patrol the party. A good Halloween party chaperon cannot lock him or herself up in the bedroom and presume the kids will be fine since you are in the house. Again, think back to the days of your own youth. In the absence of authority a leader will rise up among your child or teenager’s Halloween Party and create anarchy, or something like it.

Stay where you can be seen. Roam around a little bit. Don’t embarrass your kid by trying to fit in. They don’t want you to fit in. You are an adult, an outsider. You are simply there to keep an eye on things, so do so.

Tips for Chaperoning a Halloween Party: Couples Mean Extra Vigilance
The good thing about hosting your own Halloween Party is that you can establish a six inch rule, especially for junior high aged kids. Personally, I’ve set a six inch rule with high-schoolers. I’ve found you can be blunt without making them mad. Of course the easiest way to handle it is to tell them to find somewhere else to make out besides your house, but you can pry couples apart by reminding them this is not the time or the place and that younger kids are looking up to them.

Tips for Chaperoning a Halloween Party: Don’t Get Drawn Into Drama
That almost sounds like a silly tip, but if you have seen videos of school fights and cat fights between girls in their homes, you probably know that parents tend to jump into the hoopla believing their child is always in the right. The best way to handle drama that pops up at the Halloween party you are chaperoning is to nip it in the bud. Put a stop to it right away.

Don’t get pulled into a “he-said/she-said” argument. Warn the kids or teenagers that this party is not the time or place to air their grievances. Advise them that there is only one warning. After that their parent’s will be called to pick them up. That usually calms down any issues, at least until they leave your Halloween party!

Tips for Chaperoning a Halloween Party: Never Alone
For the protection of children and teens at your Halloween party and for your own protection make sure that no two individuals are ever in a room alone. Of course, you can use some common sense in making this judgment call, but if you do not know the kids, it is best they not be left alone.

As the adult you are culpable if teens decide to share a drink, take a toke, or share any other recreational drug. It’s also your job to ensure that no one, including a male or female, gets caught in a compromising situation.

You should also avoid being in a room alone with any of the partiers. All it takes to ruin a reputation is an accusation or insinuation. Teens don’t think like adults, and may consider your motherly or fatherly intentions as an act of affection or aggression. Even if you are innocent, it is not worth the trouble, headache, and trauma that a false accusation could put you through.

Tips for Chaperoning a Halloween Party: Have a minimum of two to three chaperons
Because of situations like the one mentioned above, and because there will be a lot going on at the party, recruit some additional chaperons. It takes more than one set of eyes to keep track of what is going on at a Halloween party full of kids or teenagers.

Additional chaperons also enable you to have someone available to leave in case of an emergency, the need for more food, or to take a child home. The presence of two or more chaperons also protects you from any allegations of misconduct on your part. That’s a sad thought, but false accusations happen all the time.

Tips for Chaperoning a Halloween Party: Keep the Food, Sodas, and Music Coming
You cannot over buy food for a party. One of the worst possible things that can happen at any party is to run out of food and soda. We have a saying around our house, “If you feed them, they will come.” It is so true.

Planning the food may not be your job as chaperon of the Halloween Party, but it is up to you to keep an eye on the food and make sure the servers stay full. You are the one who can send for emergency sodas if the supply is running unexpectedly low.

Also, as a chaperon, you may not pick the music, but you can help the hostess or host make sure the music keeps playing. A party without music is like a cupcake without icing. Music helps set the tone and keeps the party moving. As a chaperon, keep your eye on the CD pile and help out the person in charge of music.

Tips for Chaperoning a Halloween Party: Encourage Mingling
An important, and surprisingly, often overlooked job of the chaperon is to keep the kids mingling. If you are sitting in a corner in the zone, you may not be aware of the shy boy or girl who is sitting alone. It isn’t your job to entertain him or her, but it is your job as the chaperon to make sure that kids are mingling with each other, that no one gets left out, and if possible, new friendships are made.

Tips for Chaperoning a Halloween Party: When to Expel a Kid from the Party
If you are going to chaperon a Halloween Party with kids and teens there are a lot of things you may have to overlook. It’s not about what your nerves can handle. The party is about kids getting together having a good time.

However, every now and then a child or teenager steps too far over the line. Examples include picking fights, bringing alcohol or drugs to the party, or behaving in some other unseemly manner.

Take care of problems immediately. Call the child’s parents and have him or her picked up right away. If the parents do not seem concerned or will not come get the child, have another chaperon run the child home and explain to the parents why they were asked to leave the party.

Summary
Staying in control and letting kids and teens know who the boss is will not kill the fun of the party. Deep down, most teens are longing for someone to draw boundaries. If you are in charge of chaperoning a Halloween party you only have to state your authority, establish the boundaries up front, and make the kids stick to them.

This will earn you respect and chances are you will have no big issues to deal with at your Halloween party or afterward. Keep these tips in mind, but relax and sit back. It’s your turn to enjoy watching the kids have a good time. We’ve just covered the ground rules of being a chaperon, just in case.

 

 

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