THIS WEEK: Halloween safety and self defence for your trick or treating kids
TRICK OR TREAT!!?!… Fright Night, old hallows eve, halloween … The day of the Dead **CUE MICHAEL JACKSONS THRILLER**. What ever we call it, it’s one of the most celebrated festivals world wide, second only to Christmas. Exciting times.
Halloween is like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it – but lets not even get into a marmite debate right now. Rather, lets spread the message of safety from ghosts and gules (predators and attackers) that your kids need to know. It always pays to have some self defence understanding when your kids are out knocking on strangers doors. The important thing is that kids get to explore and have fun, and you get peace of mind knowing they have a safety and self defence plan in place for the unlikely event that a horror story unfolds with your child at the epicentre.
TOTAL ASIDE: As a kid I looked forward to halloween. NO, not because I could ‘be myself’ but because I thought it was cool to get dressed up and exact my revenge on adults. By revenge I mean turning up to my neighbours house with my friends and a mum wearing face paints and saying trick or treat in my, then, little voice. I never considered what would happen if someone said trick. In fact I remember my neighbour, Aurther – the gentle old man next door, saying ‘trick’ as a joke once; I explained to him that he was meant to say treat and give me sweets – he kindly obliged.
- 1. Haunt In Comfort – A costume should be cool and scary (no clowns please) but remember to avoid long trailing bits to avoid the costume becoming a tripping hazard. After all your child may need to run from a ghost or goblin like Scooby-doo and Shaggy
- 2. Frankenstein’s Monster is Afraid of Fire – Some people leave candles inside pumpkins out on their doorstep at halloween (don’t be that person, get a glow stick, we don’t burn witches anymore). Keep this in mind and make sure your children have fire resistance costumes.
- 3. Mirrors Reveal Vampires – One of the scariest things about halloween is the weather. Its usually so cold that you have to wear a coat on top of your costume and with the days getting shorter its also dark. Reflections don’t just reveal vampires, they can help drivers and passers by to spot trick or treaters too. Have reflective or glow in the dark tape incorporated into your child’s costume. Alternatively you can buy glow sticks or small battery lights which your children could hold.
THE HARD TARGET
- 4. Be a Zombie Pack – Being in a group makes children a harder target for would be abductors and kidnappers. Like Zombies, walk in a huge pack.
- 5. Have a sidekick system – Your child goes knocking on the door with at least 2 other people. Unlike Scooby and the gang, tell your children not to split up and search for sweets.
- 6. Mothers are scary – To a child abductor, a mother is more scary than a monster. If your children are too cool to go with mum or dad then you could drop them off on the street and wait in the car up the road.
KNOW WHERE THEY ARE
- 7. Home by midnight or you turn into a pumpkin – Ok maybe not midnight, but have a set time when your kids should be home. If they are late then you know that there may be a potential problem (but don’t panic, they may have lost track of time while eating their sweets). A good hint is for younger kids to start early and finish early, before it gets dark.
- 8. Don’t leave it to a crystal ball – There are so many mobile phone apps now that can track where your child is, find one with your child and show them how to use it on their phone.
- 9. Haunt your area – Keeping with your area means that your child will know escape routs as well as their way back to your house.
TALK IT THROUGH: Explain to your children that “on halloween we are going trick or treating, trick or treating is done from the door. We are not visiting or staying so we don’t go inside anyones house on halloween. We are trick or treating so we don’t go inside to help adults find sweets or choose sweets because trick or treating is done from where? The door, thats right.”
NEVER GO INSIDE
- 10. Use the ‘checking’ method – If your child is asked into someones house teach them to say ‘let me just check with my mum and dad’ and leave the area quickly. Tell them that it is ok to say this even if you are not actually with them. Its enough for someone to think that you are, and gives them that brief opportunity to run away.
- 11. Windmill – If your child is grabbed then teach them to wave their arms while creaming, yes this isn’t a slick martial arts move but it injects chaos into the situation and creates the momentum needed to escape a grab.
- 12. Anchor like Captain Blackbeards ship – this is another good method to use if grabbed, to anchor you simply need to grab and hold onto something (the attackers legs, a door frame, a tree, anything that won’t move) and wrap your arms and legs around it as if giving it a tight hug. Scream and don’t let go until someone comes to help
EXPLAIN STRANGER SAFETY: Halloween is that one time of year when ‘don’t take sweets from strangers’ doesn’t apply, all bets are off. Talk to your kids about stranger safety. Explain that on halloween they will be talking to strangers, a stranger is anyone who isn’t their family or teacher. Tell them that this is ok, so long as you know about it.
BONUS 13th tip: DON’T EAT THE SWEETS UNTIL THEY HAVE BEEN CHECKED BY AN ADULT.
Have a very Happy Haunted Halloween and Stay Safe, Stay Awesome, Stay LIONS.
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