Halloween With a Tween

Photo of 3 tween girls in Halloween costumes

Cropped image. Maryland GovPics, Flickr. CC License.

Has your child asked to go trick-or-treating without you this year? You may wonder, “When is it appropriate to allow kids to go out with just their friends?” Here are a few things to take into consideration before you make the decision:

  • It is typically considered “safe” to trick-or-treat without parental supervision once your child is 12 years of age. You should still encourage older kids to go in a group, and always stick together.
  • Talk to your kids about safety prior to Halloween night. Map out a route together that the kids are familiar with. Set an agreed upon time to return home, or have them check in periodically.
  • Reinforce that they should only approach homes with the porch light on, and should remain outside unless it is a home where they have your permission to enter.
  • According to Safe Kids Worldwide, “On average, twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween than on any other day of the year”. Regardless of actual age, make sure your child is mature enough to cross the street safely without you.
  • If your child has a cell phone, make sure it’s on them, but that he/she isn’t using it. Headphones or earbuds playing music can be especially dangerous, as they mask the sense of hearing, which is one way to keep safe from cars.
  • Examine costumes to ensure they are fit properly to prevent trips and falls. Avoid masks that can impair vision; non-toxic make-up can be used as an alternative. Add reflective tape to dark costumes, or purchase reflective bags and glow sticks to stay visible to drivers. At least one person in the group should carry a flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • You can send a few pieces of candy from your own stash with your kids so you know what they may snack on is safe. Candy received from others should not be eaten until examined in the light.

Halloween infographic from Safe Kids Worldwide

– Erica Surman, RN, BSN, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager, Beaumont Health System


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