Halloween Tips and Tricks for Safer Trick-Or-Treating

On Halloween night, 41.1 million children in the US will roam the streets, decked out as ghosts, ghouls, and the year’s best memes. It’s trick-or-treating time, folks. The one fright you don’t want to have as a parent is worrying about your kid on Halloween night.

“You want to empower your kids to be a little more independent as they get older,” says Leticia Barr, founder of the Tech Savvy Mama blog. “And for parents on Halloween, maybe that can be a little bit of a scary thing.”

Luckily, there’s a number of high-tech tools and tricks you can use to put your mind at ease—from location-sharing apps for the big kids’ smartphones, to tools for the littlest sheet ghosts.

Plan Your Path

Neighborhood social networking platform Nextdoor (accessible on desktop, iOS, and Android) lets you coordinate with neighbors to plan your trick-or-treating route ahead of time.

Nextdoor’s Halloween Treat Map feature allows households who are members of your Nextdoor neighborhood to indicate whether their house is participating in trick-or-treating. When you’re signed in to your Nextdoor account, you can view the Treat Map, where participating houses will appear marked with an icon to indicate whether they’ll be passing out candy, giving away non-food treats, or setting up a haunted house. You have to be a member of Nextdoor to see your neighborhood’s Treat Map, and to indicate your house on the map.

On Halloween night, the adult or big kid in the group can open the Nextdoor app to safely scope out the next candy trove.

Keep Track

A tracker app can help you check in on trick-or-treaters, especially if your little monster isn’t exactly prompt about texting back.

Barr recommends the Life360 app, available in free and paid versions on iOS and Android. Download the app to your kids’ phones to see their real-time location and their phone’s battery life from your device. With Life360’s Places feature, you can set a geofence around the neighborhood where your kids will be trick-or-treating. From the app, you can opt to receive a notification if your kid leaves this zone.

Get Crafty

If your kids are going trick-or-treating after dark, it’s wise to bring light. While you’re at it, why not also engage your kids with some hands-on electrical engineering lessons?

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Barr suggests kid-friendly circuit sticker kits, like this one from Chibitronics. It includes LED circuit stickers and conductive copper tape, as well as step-by-step lessons for creating different types of circuits. Draw out a circuit on the candy basket, adhere the LED stickers and conducive tape, and voila! Let there be light.

The circuits’ super low voltage and low current means that there’s no risk of fire. Since the stickers can be sewn or adhered to a number of surfaces, your family can create sparkling superhero capes and robot antennae that glow through the evening.

Back to Basics

If your kid has a phone, make sure trusted adults’ phone numbers are saved on Speed Dial for Android, or Favorites for iOS. You can also set a timer on your older kids’ phones, to remind them when to text you their location, or when to start heading home. To make sure you can stay in touch, have your kid carry a portable charger. (We like this eco friendly charger from Nimble.)

Communication, common sense, and some neat tech tricks make it a little easier to make sure your trick-or-treaters get home safe and sound—just in time to share their vast coffers of candy with you.

Are you a tech-savvy parent, or a parent with tech-related questions? Be sure to join our Parenting in a WIRED World Facebook group.

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