Halloween is a magical day for children and overgrown kids like myself. It’s also a time when kids get so excited (and filled to the gills with sugar) that they don’t make the best decisions – making it prime time for accidents to happen, and predators to pounce. Here are five ways you can help keep your children safe, while enhancing the fun, and eliminating the need to scare them half to death with lectures.

Julie Anne & Tatjana Rhodes

1). Think of safety when buying or making a costume for your kids. For instance, I don’t like the idea of highly flammable fabrics (often in unwieldy costumes much bigger than your child) brushing up against a burning jack-o-lantern, or accessories that might cause serious injury to a child if they were to trip and fall.

My event planning neighbor Carlos knows how to make a Halloween party scene

2). Halloween parties are a great way to keep the majority of the creepy fun within the safety of your own home. Invite the moms and dads too – you want plenty of eyes on your mob when the trick-or-treating begins.

Keep out of trouble – keep an eye on your kids at all times

3). I know tweens may they think they are too old to have mom tagging along, but maybe not if mom is in Halloween mode too. Have some fun and let your inner kid out – dress up, let them see “fun mom”, and they will want you to join in. I was lucky to be close enough to grab my eight-year-old daughter, and pull her back just in the nick of time when she went racing out into a street (without looking) to get to the next treasure trove of candy. The car wouldn’t have had time to stop. She knew better, but excitement and sugar greed impaired her better judgment.

Get your cauldron out and make a spooky meal at home

4). Make a special spooky meal to fill them up, and they will be much more obliging to the rule “no treats until we get home.” Inspect everything before your kids dig in. Any homemade goodies that aren’t from people you know well should be tossed out, along with any candy in wrappers that aren’t intact.

Julie Anne Rhodes makes it ghost story time

Jewels and ghost story time

5). Make it family tradition to read ghost stories together, play games, or watch a scary movie while waiting for the next ghost or goblin to ring the bell. You should be at the door to supervise whom they open it to. Call me paranoid, but what better time for disguised beasts of prey to wage a home invasion, or grab a little one and run? I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Boo Cake Pops

I had a little Halloween fun last week, conjuring up these “boo cake pops.” Using my Nordic Ware cake pop pan, we made lots of little cake balls, and dipped the sticks into melted white chocolate before inserting them into the cooled cake balls to help secure them in place. Then we whipped up some buttercream icing (2 sticks unsalted butter creamed + 4 cups powdered sugar +  1-2 tablespoons milk – to adjust to desired consistency), and separated it into two separate bowls. One we added green food coloring to, and the other about 1 teaspoon red food color, and 2 teaspoons yellow food color. You could definitely go the healthier route using vegetables and tumeric to create natural dyes if you prefer. For the eyes, I used mini-chocolate chips and I had some multi-color sprinkles, so I picked out the red ones for the ghost mouths, but this were you can have a blast with your kids dreaming up your own spooky bites.

This post was first published October 25, 2013

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  • October 23, 2012
    11:08 am

    Halloween is a religious holiday in our home, lol!! We wait all year long for this day – it’s sooo much fun!

    I’m very fortunate that my kids let me cramp their style…trick or treating is only done with Merrill and me, even if it’s just to our next door neighbor.

    Very good points about the flammable costumes and ensuring the kids eat well before going out to conquer candyland.

    I also think the smaller the trick or treat bag, the better. I tried that last year and the kids wound up with far less junk and didn’t feel like they missed out since their bags were full.

    There’s really no reason for a 4 foot kid to have a bag half their size filled with cavities waiting to happen.

    I have to find something special to do on Halloween because we watch/read scary stuff all year round, lol!!!

    Great tips, Jewels!!

    • October 23, 2012
      11:16 am

      SUCH a good point Jodi – there is no need (or excuse) for super-sizing Halloween treat gathering. I think your suggestion of using small bags, that fill up so the kids don’t feel cheated, is genius!

  • October 23, 2012
    11:10 am

    Love the Cake Pops, Jewels! So cute!

    • October 23, 2012
      11:16 am

      I really did feel 10 years old again – it was SO much fun!

  • October 23, 2012
    1:56 pm

    Great tips! I’m lucky that my 7 year old DEMANDS that we dress up and go with her. Daddy is a bit of a crumudgeon about it, but I think it’s great. Plus, it gives me an excuse to indulge my inner child too!

    Another good thing is to get those glow sticks/necklaces and have all the kids wear one. Since many costumes are dark, this lights them up a bit.

    Happy Halloween!

    • October 23, 2012
      3:36 pm

      Glow sticks are another fabulous idea – I love when we all put our heads together.

  • October 24, 2012
    8:56 am

    GLOW STICKS!! What a great idea, Cheryl!!

  • October 26, 2013
    6:21 am

    I remember using glow sticks when I was young. My Dad had them for fishing. They weren’t so readily available or in thin tubes and in different colors as they are now. They are a wonderful invention and great for fun and safety! We also used to bring pillow cases to fill with treats. I prefer to just buy a little candy to share with my son at home now that he’s older and not into trick-or-treating anymore. It’s much more fun to pass it out than collect it now. Happy Halloween! >:0E

    • October 26, 2013
      3:39 pm

      actually, you can now get not only the glow sticks, but the glow necklaces, glow wants and glow bracelets in the primary colors and pink at the DOLLAR STORE. one more helpful hint and you can grab several for each child.