Can you believe Halloween is just around the corner? Children and adults alike are watching scary movies, stocking up on candy and putting the final touches on their costumes. Fall festivals and Halloween sales are in full swing in preparation for the main event on Oct. 31 – trick-or-treating.

Kids all over look forward to trick-or-treating to show off their costumes and bring home a pile of candy. But trick-or-treating is also a great community builder. As parents and children walk door-to-door through the neighborhood, they’ll see old friends and meet new neighbors they otherwise wouldn’t run into.

Whether you’re staying in for the night or walking house-to-house with the kids, make sure you’re cautious and prepared. Here are a few tips for a fun and safe Halloween:

  1. Be aware of the neighborhood – Before hitting the road, have a plan for where you’re going. Stay on the sidewalks when walking and keep away from the homes that don’t look friendly to trick-or-treaters. Homes that keep porch and yard lights on will be your best bet for candy.
  2. Circle up – Trick-or-treating as a group is safer than going alone. Even if you have older children, make sure they are well-supervised and that they aren’t approaching houses by themselves. Trick-or-treating in groups is a great way for the kids to have fun and the parents to have a buddy to walk with.
  3. Check out the rules – On the note of older children, check with your town for age restrictions on trick-or-treating. Several states have passed ordinances that restrict teenagers from going door-to-door. Some towns have even criminalized trick-or-treating for teens, so make sure you know the rules ahead of time.
  4. Don’t take candy risks – Anyone giving tips on Halloween safety will tell you to stick with store-bought candy, especially if you don’t know who the treats came from. If your kids are collecting candy, check out their haul before they eat it for anything unwrapped, home-made, or suspicious. If you’re handing out treats, stick with wrapped, store-bought candy so the kids can enjoy.
  5. Customize the costume – You can take a few steps to make costumes safe and easy to spot. Make sure costumes fit properly, test out makeup before using it, and keep plenty of lights around. Have your kid carry a flashlight, glow sticks, or use reflective tape on their costumes so they’re easily seen. You can even try a DIY costume at home to save a little cash!

This Halloween is a great chance for you to get out into your neighborhood, meet new friends, and build a fun and friendly community!

 There are plenty of great resources for Halloween safety from groups such as the Center for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics. If you have Halloween questions, check these and many other resources to ensure everyone stays safe.