Its that time of year when the kids get all hyper and you have to fight off fifteen
different types of Disney Princesses every time you open the door. Its Halloween! Household HQ is here to help you stay safe whether you are handing out candy, taking the kids out to get some goodies, or even snacking on a few while the little ones are at school.
Staying in for the Night.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you are getting ready and while handing out candy, if you choose to partake. Probably the first thing is going to be, don’t be home alone. During the act of trick or treating, its so common, but often over looked, that we are consistently opening our doors to strangers. Keep that in mind. Strength in numbers is more than just for when you are on the streets scarfing up the good stuff: full size candy bars. Remember to keep doors and windows locked when not in use. Have exit routes planned and clear incase of intrusion. Defensive capability is always a good idea; however, it is suggested to use an “out of sight, out of mind” approach as to not alarm any spooky visitors.
As with any night, a well-lit home is going to keep vandals away. Even still, kids will be kids. Try not to chase any teenagers down the block. Observing, recording, and reporting with your Reolink security camera system is likely the best approach unless you are in serious danger. Keep in mind any health concerns and ensure that you are up to date on your First Aid/CPR/AED training incase someone gets hurt walking up the perfectly flat sidewalk when they trip over their own homemade tentacles. Don’t have the training? Well, you are in luck. Household HQ provides medical training as a Licensed Training Provider by the American Red Cross. You don’t even have to sign up for a class and spend a whole Saturday learning it. Household HQ will come to you, at your home or business, and train you and the entire family. Even if you are really strapped for time, there are Blended Learning classes available.
Equipping for Success
With training in mind, it may be advantageous to keep your first aid kit nearby in case there is an accident, too. This will cut down on response time and ensure that you get the care you need to whomever needs it, quickly. Its times such as these that make it useful to have more than just what is needed for those in your home. Of course, Household HQ partners with the best that there is for equipment, too. Check out our affiliate MyMedic for top-of-the-line equipment to save lives. They have larger packs for the car or home and smaller kits for personal carry. Remember, its not just you that needs to be equipped, its everyone in your party. You may be the one carrying everything, like the parental mule that you are, but there needs to be enough for everyone. And then some.
Lastly, you may not have your Abode home security alarm set during trick or treat hours since it will likely be too much to keep disarming and rearming it over and over again. That’s fine, but its always nice to keep your panic button from Abode nearby. Most cell phones have capability to send an SOS signal, too, which is a good back up if you need to leave quickly. Also, keep your cameras running incase of any incident. This is a good thought through the night and leading up to Halloween. Many may try to take advantage of the shenanigans, so a good observation set up is crucial. Reolink is probably one of the best in our professional opinion. They have every type of security camera that you can think of, even doorbell cameras. Which is probably one of the best sways to capture all the fun from the night. Call us for details on how we can set you up to keep your home guarded thoroughly.
Trick or Treat Intelligence
Now, on to the good stuff! Getting out into the neighborhood to gather all of the candy from strangers that you are usually told not to. Remember to conduct your intelligence before leaving your home. This sounds silly, its your own neighborhood. But seriously, it’s a good idea. Check the papers and local reporting for recent crimes in the area. Check for sexual predators in the area that may have moved in or started working nearby over the summer. It is even a good idea to have a planned route so that way if you are not back at a certain time, whoever is at home can have a starting point on where to look. Make sure you share this information with those in your home and immediate neighbors. Strength in numbers is again, the name of the game. If you are not sure on how to conduct an intelligence assessment of your own neighborhood, contact Household HQ to help you and train you on how to do one.
Dressing Up for Safety
Ok, so you are all planned out and ready to go. Now you have to get ready and dress up! While getting the kids ready, in multiple layers of clothing and costume, it’s smart to take pictures. This will be great for embarrassing them later on in life, but also to help identify them in case you get separated. Pictures with and without the costume on are best as a change in clothes can really make a difference. Don’t be afraid to bring a few extra layers, too. A Yeti full of hot cocoa or warm water always helps to soothe the chill away while outside this time of year.
Whether or not you decide to dress up with the kids, it is most important that you are seen from all angles. This is a great time to nerd out with as much safety gear as you can. This also adds the benefit of embarrassment for the kids. Flashlights are a good way to make sure the kids are seen without taking away from the costume. There are always creative ways to get lights in the costume, too. Wearable lights are probably one of the best inventions when it comes to visibility and safety at night. They can be reused, are relatively cheap, and very bright. When I was a kid, there were only glow sticks and flashlights. Not bad but not as cool as a fully lit Tron suit!
If you really want to go old school, there are plenty of reflectors that can be worn, too. However, the downside to reflectors is that there needs to be a light source that shines on or near it for it to become visible. The best bet is to drip yourself in all types. Wear the blaze orange from the hunting gear if you want. Its not like the deer are going to care. Just say that you are dressing as Elmer Fudd. But leave the shotty at home, this isn’t that bad of a neighborhood. If it is, consider going somewhere else!
Mobile and Family Security
As mentioned before, safety in numbers works well in this type of situation. Try to keep at least a 1:1 ratio of children to adults if you can. Even if you cannot, consider a family check-in app or location sharing app for your children’s phone, if they have one. This is not an excuse to not tag along, rather, a back up in case you get separated.
This is where it gets really silly: how to walk safely down the street. If you have taken our Mobile Security class or the Family Security Class, this will be a review for you. For those that have not, enjoy the freebie. Keep in mind that when protecting someone, whether kids or anyone else, envelopment is the best bet. Putting yourself between them and the potential threat. Keeping kids on track is like wrangling cracked out cats. Mostly because of the sugar, but that is besides the point. A good lead and follow set up is best when walking through the neighborhood. One adult is leading from the front with the other adult following up on the end. The kids are in between, safe and on track. More adults can assist in keeping the children covered from the roadside or keeping them on the sidewalk and away from all those blow up decorations in the yard.
Remember, keep on the route chosen, keep moving, and keep visible. The rear or traffic facing adult should be very well lit with the finest lighted gear that you can muster. Break out the 6 D cell mag light, maybe even a head lamp. You are the lighthouse of the group to keep cars at a safe distance. When walking in a linear fashion, try to cheat on the road side of the sidewalk so that you are seen and can move the kids quickly, if needed. Lastly, don’t forget to keep your head on a swivel. The sooner that you can identify a problem, the more time you may have to react.
Speaking of reacting, consider the gear that you will carry along with what you expect to encounter. We already touched base on the awesome first aid kit that you got from MyMedic, the lights and reflectors, and the warm gear with a side of hot cocoa. Let’s talk defense. If you decide to use a concealed carry permit, be mindful that there are children and parents around. Consider a light source for the firearm. Keep it concealed. I would also be weary of walking on to someone’s property with it, but I’m not a lawyer. The tail of the group can stay on public side walk, armed, while the other adult(s) go to the house with the kids. Other good equipment is a multitool, a knife, etc. Not just for defensive reasons but because you may have to fix a lightsaber on the fly or something. This is also an excellent time to get the dog out of the house and go for a walk. They don’t need to be trained to take down a 250 pound Hulk, they are a deterrence enough as is. Unless it’s a Shih Tzu or something. Either way, it also gives you another chance to light them up for safety, too. Lighted collars and jackets are all the rage in the pet fashion industry… or so I’m told. Don't forget the poop bags. You aren't supposed to leave treats of your own.
Alternative Halloween Options
If this is too much for you to consider, perhaps a preestablished safe place is best. Most fire halls will have some type of gathering with cider, candy, and games. Some places such as the Erie Zoo, will do a Zoo Boo where the kids can see the animals and also have some spooky fun. This does not come without risk, but the unknowns are definitely mitigated. Keep in mind the soft target concerns and any legal concerns you may have with defensive capabilities. Rover will also not likely be able to go to the zoo. Likewise, I don’t think the gorillas are going to save you from an attack.
Home Safe - Candy Check
So, you made it. You’re at home, with a glass of spiked cider, enjoying the fire and warming up as the kids split the candy and make trades. Even though you know you are going to be stuck with the Almond Joys, its still a good idea to check candy. There may not be a risk of razor blades like the story from back in the day, but there are still risks. Old lady Gretski from down the street could have dropped something in the bag that doesn’t belong because she ran out of candy. There could be residue or other foreign substances on the wrapper. Of course, stay away from any home-made treats. Its better safe than sorry. Even if it may be over thinking it, it provides you a chance to swipe a Snickers or maybe some M&Ms. Personally, I call dibs on all things Reese’s.
Remember, stay safe and stay vigilant. Safety in numbers is best whether you are out and about or staying in. The best lit isn’t a contest, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t compete with other families for the most embarrassing parent. As always feel free to reach out to Household HQ for any questions. We will make sure that you stay safe Beyond The Keypad.