Halloween is so simple when your kids are small. They don’t mind it when you chaperone them around the neighborhood and they are in bed by 8PM. Unfortunately, this stage does not last forever and soon they are wanting to trick-or-treat by themselves or go to a friend’s party.

Teens aren’t known for always using the best judgement, so the more proactive parents can be about rules and expectations for the night, the safer they will be.

Here are a few guidelines you can use to make this Halloween a safe one for your children.

Have a plan and stick with friends. The old saying is true, there is safety in numbers. Make sure you know who your child is going to be spending Halloween with. Also, let them know that they should stay with that group of friends and not separate from them. Plan out what neighborhood(s) they will be in.

Curfew and a cell phone. Give your teen a curfew and check-in times throughout the night. Knowing your child’s friend’s phone numbers is probably a good idea as well in case there is an emergency.

Vandalism. Talk to your teen about vandalism and the repercussions of such behavior. Being arrested could possibly get them kicked out of school and jeopardize their future.

Be a taxi service. Be involved in your teens night by offering to drive them to their friends or to and from any party. Let them know you are willing to pick them up at any time or location with no questions asked. Your child should feel comfortable calling for a safe ride home, instead of worrying about the consequences.

If you are hosting a party in your home make sure your presence is known. Keep rooms that are not in use locked and not accessible. If you are serving a spooky bowl of punch, taste it throughout the party to make sure it hasn’t been spiked with alcohol.

Remember you are responsible for all the guests in your home, and it is your job to keep them safe, even if it makes you unpopular.

Again, it is important to have conversations about drinking and using drugs, appropriate and inappropriate behavior and rule expectations. It can be hard to have open conversations with teens, but if your child can feel comfortable talking with you about difficult topics honestly, you have a better chance of keeping him or her safe.

Until next month… Stay aware and stay safe.