by Stacey Schifferdecker
Boo! Halloween is almost upon us. I know the trick-or-treaters at my house are busy thinking about what they want to be this year. Of course, their ideas change daily, so no costume-making is underway.
In addition to getting your kids ready to go trick-or-treating for Halloween, you need to make your home ready for all the little ones who will be knocking on your door. You don’t anyone to trip and fall or to catch their costume on fire.
The universal signal for a house where trick-or-treaters are welcome is a simple porch light. No light – no kids. So be sure and flip your porch light on so the kids know you are ready and waiting.
Of course, extra light is always welcome on Halloween, especially if you have a tricky path or a stump in your yard you don’t want anyone to stumble over. Some orange lights draped around your house will add both atmosphere and lighting. You could also light insert battery-powered candles or lights into plastic pumpkins and line your path with them.
You can also use fake candles to light up your real jack-o-lantern. If you do decide to use a real candle in your jack-o-lantern, make sure you put it out of the way so no one will trip over it or stand too close and catch a flowing costume on fire.
You love your pets and know whether they are friendly and safe. But many kids are scared of animals – or your pet might be scared of the kids. Do everyone a favor and keep Fido and Fluffy away from the door as much as possible.
It’s tough to buy treats that will please everyone. Many candies have peanuts, which leaves out the kids who are allergic to those. Little kids shouldn’t have hard candies, which are a choking hazard. Homemade goodies are a definite no-no.
What to do? Of course, you can’t provide a candy smorgasbord, but it is nice to have a couple options – maybe one chocolate-based and one hard candy. Or you can avoid the candy issue altogether and offer pencils or other trinkets. Age-appropriate comic books gleaned from the flea market are always popular at our house, especially among the “tweens.”
General home maintenance
Be sure to remove anything from your porch or steps that a child might trip over and to sweep up slippery wet leaves from the steps and sidewalk.
Keep your decorations friendly and not too scary. While you may enjoy horror movie decorations, the young children who come to your door may be frightened.
By following these safety tips, the parent who stays home to pass out candy can have as much fun as the parent who takes the children out trick-or-treating.
Stacey Schifferdecker is the happy but harried mother of three school-aged children—two boys and a girl. She is also a freelance writer, a Children’s Minister, a PTA volunteer, and a Scout leader. Stacey has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and French and a Master’s degree in English. She has written extensively about parenting and education as well as business, technology, travel, and hobbies.
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