Halloween means costumes, parties, trick-or-treating, and possibly being in unfamiliar places. This can be the perfect set-up for unscrupulous people with sexual intentions toward young people. What are the best ways to keep children safe from sexual predators?
General tips for healthy relationships:
•Keep commuication open. Let your children know that you are on their side and have their best interests at heart.
•Listen to your kids without judging them.
•Talk with them about their feelings and thoughts and dreams and fears.
•Allow them to have different ideas than you do, but be there to guide them to be the best they can be.
•Share with them your own needs and imperfections.
•Let them know that you are still growing and learning.
•Be involved in their lives in a loving, supportive way, but care enough to have appropriate rules.
•Talk to them about the important decisions they will need to make to stay safe and out of danger.
•Honor and adore and respect and love and nurture your kids. If their needs are not met at home for being valued, they WILL look for it elsewhere, and they will be vulnerable to the wrong influences.
Precautions parents can take for Halloween events:
•Do not let children, even teens, go to any event unless you will personally accompany them or you know that there will be trustworthy supervision by adults you know.
•Do not allow your kids to "find a ride home with my friend after I get there". If you are not personally transporting your children, be sure that you know the person who will be driving.
•Know exactly where the young people will be and what they will be doing.
•Do not allow minors to go to events that are likely to include drinking and/or drugs. You may need to do some extra research before and during the event to get a good sense of what might be going on.
•Set and enforce a reasonable curfew.
•Check to see if and where sex offenders might live in your neighborhood. Avoid those areas.
•In Texas, sex offenders are not allowed to participate in Halloween activities and are not permitted even to have decorations outside the house, and should be reported to the police if they violate this.
•Establish a code on the cell phone for the child to use if anything happens that seems suspicious or makes the child uncomfortable for any reason.
Rules for children on Halloween:
•Stay in sight of your parents at all times when trick-or-treating.
•Never go into someone's house without your parents' permission.
•Avoid houses that are dark.
•Stay with the friends that your parents allow you to be with.
•If anyone says or does anything that seems weird or strange, stay away from him and immediately report the incident to your parents.
•Run away from anyone who asks you to go with them to find a lost animal.
•Never get in a car with anyone without your parents' permission.
•Be bold to call your parents, shout, run, ask for help if anything happens that makes you feel strange or uncomfortable.
See more Halloween safety tips.
Notes about costumes:
•Be sure that children can see clearly to the front and sides, and the head can move freely to look around.
•Choose costumes that allow the student to move without encumbrances.
•Stay away from outfits that are sexually provacative.
Enjoy Halloween if that is your choice, but do it safely. The extra time spent in taking precautions could mean a world of difference if you are kept out of the radar of sexual predators.