5 Halloween Safety Tips for Trick or Treating in 2020

trick or treating

Kids have been in quarantine, denied face-to-face social interactions, and trapped for hours at a time in front of computers learning remotely. But now finally they have a reprieve—Halloween.  A holiday that is seemingly designed just for children. Some politicians suggest skipping Halloween this year because of Covid-19.

Nonsense.

Parents are under a lot of pressure to “normalize” their children’s lives and allowing kids to reconnect face-to-face with friends is essential. Watching a movie, doing a candy scavenger hunt, or dressing up the dog are enjoyable ways to spend time with your children, but right now my kids want to be outdoors, and they want see their friends. And that means Trick-or-Treating.  Chances are your children want to celebrate Halloween similarly and bring home as much candy as they can carry.

Here are 5 Halloween safety tips for trick or treating in 2020.

1. Adult supervision

Children under 10 should always be escorted by an adult while Trick or Treating, especially if they are carrying a cell phone that can be tracked by unknown individuals. Cell phones allow parents to keep track of their children; however, they also allow others to track your children as well. Whether it is a stranger or someone they don’t get along with at school, remember that cell phones can be a source of data that leads someone directly to your child.

2. Establish a point of contact

Have a conversation with your children about who the adult is they are reporting to.  And make sure your child understands that they are to report ONLY to that adult.  Remember, if an adult can use a phone’s location guide (for instance, using AirDrop) they may be able to identify the name of your child and use it to convince your child that they have been sent by you. Select a safe word or phrase that allows your child to always know if it is you that has sent a friend to pick you up. It will reduce anxiety for you and your child.

3. Map out your candy trail

Create a plan to outline the route and specify a meet-up location in the event you get separated. If your kids are anything like mine, after visiting a few houses and snagging handfuls of free candy, their adrenaline will ramp up and things will start to move very fast.  Blink and they can instantly be out of sight.  Agree on a meeting location beforehand, should you become separated. As long as everyone stays on the same outlined path, you will end up at the same spot eventually.

4. The perfect night for face coverings

Costumes with a face mask and gloves are recommended since Covid is still floating around.  Trick or Treaters tend to travel in groups; wearing a mask and gloves will keep their mouths and noses covered, which will provide some semblance of protection.  Remind your kids that germs can live on surfaces, so even if they are wearing gloves, they should not be eating their candy until it has been washed or wiped clean.

5. Hold off on eating candy

Tell them not to eat anything until they get home.  No, not because of the scare stories we were told years ago about candy being poisoned or fruit hiding razor blades.  Simply because it is the smart thing to do always. This is even more true today because the virus is surging in some areas of the country.

Play it safe and everything will be fine. But most importantly, let your kids enjoy themselves. They deserve it after everything Covid has put them through.


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Lisa Strohman
Dr. Lisa Strohman is an Arizona clinical psychologist, attorney, and founder of the recently established  Digital Citizen Academy, a prevention and diversion training program focused on eliminating core issues like cyber-bullying, child luring, and suicide. She is also a married mother of two children.