Have a Safe, Enjoyable Halloween Season
Here are some basic tips for parents to help their kids and family have a safe, enjoyable Halloween season, whether that means traditional Trick-or-Treating, church or community festivals, scary movie parties, or all of the above.
– Only allow your children to Trick-or-Treat with a trusted adult, whether it is your self, or someone you and your children know well.
– Be sure your children Trick-or-Treat in a group that is small enough to be well supervised. Large groups can easily split into smaller clusters – each with appropriate adult supervision.
– Know what movies will be viewed at the house or party your children will be attending, if they will be away from your home. Screen movies for age-appropriateness. Personal parental previewing is ideal, but you can also utilize an online reviewing tool, such as Dove, Plugged In, Michael Medved, or Hollywood Jesus (for teens or adults). Be prepared to talk with your children before, during, and/or after viewing a scary movie about how movies use tricks to make pretend monsters look real. These tips generally apply to haunted houses as well.
– Know where they will be going, with whom, and how they will be getting there. I recommend talking with them about this directly, and checking their Facebook/MySpace page, just to be sure.
– Get a phone number for someone, besides your child, who will be in the group, preferably an adult.
– Discuss personal responsibility, decision making, and consequences BEFORE they go out for their Halloween festivities.
– Empower kids ahead of time to leave if others in their group are making wrong choices, or if they otherwise feel uncomfortable with how things are going. Give them permission to blame it on you, if it helps them make the right choice to get out of a bad situation. Discuss practical ways they can do this, if need be.
As you prepare for Trick-or-Treaters at your home, don’t just arm yourself with candy. Be prepared to offer an encouraging word to the children who ring your doorbell, even the ones who seem like first class knuckleheads. Spend time in prayer for the week preceding Halloween, asking God to work through you and your home to bless each child in a meaningful way. Then keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to the opportunities He will give you to do just that. The traditions of Halloween allow this to be a time of either community building or community harm, depending on our choices. Do what you can to use the unique opportunities of this season to build a more loving, trusting, considerate community.