Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.
Halloween is upon us, and your neighborhood will soon be overrun by tiny princesses, ghosts, superheroes, and slasher film characters looking for candy.
No matter how cute those Halloween trick-or-treaters are, you might be wondering what tricks some criminals may have up their sleeve during this holiday. After all, Halloween gets a bad rap for being a time when mischief and crime spikes.
Despite the (understandable) belief that criminals take advantage of this spooky holiday, many communities may be safer on Halloween, thanks to neighborhood watch programs that ramp up their efforts on All Hallows Eve. You might even notice an increase in police cruisers. All this is to ensure your little ones are safe as they dart from home to home, though generally speaking, Halloween doesn’t typically see an actual increase in crime in all areas.
…But Crime Can Still Happen On Halloween
Although Halloween doesn’t necessarily inspire more crime, there have been a few shocking cases of crime and death that coincided with the holiday. In 2005, residents of Frederica, Delaware assumed the hanging body in a tree was just a realistic decoration, only to find out hours later that it was very real 42-year-old woman who had committed suicide.
Egging seems to be a favorite Halloween prank, but in 1998, one group of eggers went beyond mischief. In New York, Karl Jackson was driving through the Bronx on Halloween night when a group of teenagers pelted his car with eggs. Rather than driving off, Jackson stopped his car, got out, and was promptly shot by 17-year-old Curtis Sterling. Jackson died, and Sterling is currently serving a 20-year sentence. According to the New York Times, Sterling receives a Halloween card every October from Jackson’s mother: “I’m glad you’re still there.”
How To Keep Kids Safe As They Trick-Or-Treat
Naturally, there are things that you can do to help keep all little ghouls and goblins safe as they tromp through the streets gathering their sweet loots. Here are a few smart Halloween safety tips from SafeKids.org.
Have Adult Supervision
Make sure the youngest ones (12 and younger) have an adult with them as they go trick or treating.
Put The Phones Down
To prevent trips, falls, and walking into the path of a moving car, make sure your kids keep their phones stowed while walking outside at night.
Follow the basic rules of crossing any street: Hold hands, look both ways, and be sure to cross only at crosswalks or street corners to reduce the risk of any accidents.
If you’re driving somewhere on Halloween, slow down. Even if you drive safely every day, this is a night for extra caution, as you never know when a costumed kid could dart out between cars or run down from a driveway and into the street. By the same token, make sure your child’s costume has some reflective bits, or give them a glow stick or flashlight to make it easier for drivers to see them.
Safety Tips For Your Teenager
Parents of teens aren’t off the hook when it comes to safety just because their kids aren’t trick or treating anymore. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your teen stays safe while having fun on Halloween.
Remind your teen who’s behind the wheel that there are more distractions on Halloween night than usual, so they should drive more carefully.
Know The Laws
Go over laws, such as local curfews and alcohol laws. Make sure they know what the consequences are for any pranks they’re planning, and they might think twice about egging the police station.
Get The Details
Find out who’s hosting the party your teen is attending. To ensure your child is in safe hands, consider running a background check on the parents who own the party house. Get the address and phone numbers so you can be there if needed.
Don’t Share Everything
Remind your teen that social media never forgets, and that sharing something questionable like alcohol or drug use could haunt them for years to come.