Tips for a safe night of trick-or-treating

Halloween is again upon us.

It’s the time of year when little kids dress up like princesses and pirates while the older kids dress up in more theme-oriented costumes as Lindsay Lohan or Quagmire from “Family Guy.“ (Whatever floats the boat, right?)

Every year we look at Halloween safety, and every year dole out the same advice: be a parent.

I get comments every year saying we shouldn’t give out the same advice each and every year, that they know all the safety tips for kids. They want something new — like there’s some new strain of Halloween risks out there we should be aware of.

The reason we repeat what you probably already know is because there are a lot of parents out there who don’t do the basics and send the kids out there without a clue of what those basics are. That’s why God gave us Family and Children Services.

Believe it or not, some kids get sent out by parents who toss them a bag and say, “See you at 10.” My hope is that I’ll hit the basics and you guys will take over in this blog’s comments section and expand on it. Tell us what you do, what works and what didn’t in the past.

The basics of Halloween safety:

1. A good old-fashioned sit-down-and-listen session on where, when and everything in between.

2. I love teenagers. I have several distributed throughout the country. This night, however, belongs to mom and dad or mom and step-dad, or vice-versa, or mom and steady boyfriend – but not the one she just met who has “LOVE” tattooed across his four fingers. Make sure the chaperones are responsible. You know what I’m saying: just make sure the chaperone isn’t distracted by the 18-year-old in the Lindsay Lohan costume.

3. Flashlights should be distributed. New batteries go in the flashlight; don’t assume the ones in there are still good.

4. Go in groups that have an even distribution of parents with them. Don’t forget that when it gets dusk and then dark, a lot of the kids start to look alike, so don’t hit the adult beverages too soon.

5. If the house isn’t lit, they probably don’t want you there.

6. Go to the door, but not inside.

7. Will your little dude or dudette be wearing a mask? Once they haul in the goods and leave the doorway, have them take off the mask so they can see where they’re walking. In place of a mask, I’d go with face paint or something else.

8. Small kids should get out there before dark. It’s a better picture for the camera anyway.

9. Emily Post says the unwritten rule for quitting time on trick or treat is 9’ish. After about 9, your group should be in. Don’t forget, Monday is a work and school day. Those of you with teenagers, put a time limit on when to be back. Be fair but practical. Nine is the new curfew because that’s when “Desperate Housewives” comes on TV. Don’t expect Detective Sandy to answer the door. She’s devoted to that show — so much so that she has the Taser rigged to automatically fire at 9 if the doorbell rings.

(Emily Post didn’t really say that.)

10. Drive slowly!

11. A word about sex offenders. These folks usually spend the night out, away from the trick or treating if at all possible. Personally, I don’t recall any incidents involving registered sex offenders enticing trick or treaters. Nonetheless, , I would still log on and locate the homes of any registered sex offenders in your immediate area. Write the addresses down and tell your group so that you avoid those homes. A good site is

12. Then we have zombies. Like sex offenders, we all know they exist. The normal way of killing zombies is by shooting them 30 to 50 times with an AR-15. Given the price of ammo, this may not be a practical approach for your family. Another sure way of killing them is carrying around a photo of the cast of “Real Atlanta Housewives.” When approached by zombies, show the photo, smartly illuminated by your flashlight. They drop dead in their tracks.

Like I said, these are just the basics. What I would like you guys to do is give us your suggestions and tips for Halloween safety.

17 comments Add your comment

Marietta Gun Owner

October 27th, 2010
8:02 pm

So true about the ammo, that’s why we reload. :-)


October 27th, 2010
9:51 pm

Steve! Slowly, not slow


October 27th, 2010
10:42 pm

I’ve been getting mixed messages about whether trick or treating will be held on Halloween (which is Sunday) or on Saturday this year. I remember when I was a kid we did it on a Saturday when Halloween fell on a Sunday. Your article says Sunday. According to the paper up there, the City of Cartersville has officially designated Saturday as the day for residential trick or treating.

Anyone have a final definitive word?

Queen Nerfballteedi

October 28th, 2010
1:06 am

I went to a Haloween costume party last year and before I left I had put a bowl out with candy for the neighbor children and its a man (drunk) took it before the children came by. So when the teenagers came by and their was no candy, they took my jackolatern and threw it upside my front door. So this year I will be staying here giving out the candy cuz I don’t want no busted pumpkin all over my porch. And why it’s 15 year olds with no costumes knocking on people doors and asking for candy? I just close the door…quick! So don’t leave candy in bowls, cuz drunks will steal it and your porch will get jacked up by some teenagers. I really do hate halloween. It’s a devil thing. I’m saved and I really don’t agree with it evil masks and all. Have a Bless Day.


October 28th, 2010
7:29 am

Repeat, re-emphasize: If the porch light is not on, do not go to the door.

Lt. Steve

October 28th, 2010
10:13 am

I think each city or county or whatever designates. I haven’t heard. Here I think it is Sunday.
I don’t have a proofreeder and I do make grahamatikall erorz frum time to time so I woodn’t loose any sleep ovor it.

mystery poster

October 28th, 2010
10:58 am

I always LOVED taking my kids trick-or-treating and went with them until they were probably far too old to go (and definitely too old for mom to tag along).

When we go back, I always bravely volunteered to test the m & m candies to make sure they weren’t poison.


October 28th, 2010
11:47 am

I have always told my kids to be polite as well. As people get old they get cranky, if kids don’t say thank you the candy sources will dry up because they will think the kids are ungrateful. The rule with my kids was always “If you don’t say thank you we skip the next two houses that are giving out candy”

I know it’s not really a safety issue but if enough people don’t give out candy there are going to be some long dark stretches between houses that do and then it is a safety issue.


October 28th, 2010
11:56 am

@ATC: Thanks for pointing out slow/slowly. I’ve corrected.

@ugadawg2005: I just talked with a very helpful person from Sandy Springs city hall who confirmed her city has not officially designated either Saturday or Sunday as the official day to trick or treat.

And Sandy Springs isn’t alone on this issue. Check our holiday guide — — for Gracie Bonds Staples’ story:

@Lt. Steve: It’s “erroz,” not “erorz.”


October 28th, 2010
1:57 pm

Re: killing zombies. If you don’t have access to a cast photo of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” you can substitute the comments page from any of Rodney Ho’s twice daily blog posts about them – the end effect is much the same.


October 28th, 2010
5:34 pm

Nice bit about the zombies!


October 28th, 2010
9:49 pm

Be safe! Parents – keep your eyes on the little ones. When I was little my father always took us with the neighborhood kids and it was fun, so many fond memories of childhood.

Here’s a fun Halloween treat for anyone interested – saw a cute pic of Regis and Kelly plugging their Oct. 29 Halloween show – they’re dressed as Ed O’Neill and Sofia Vergara from Modern Family. I love that show!! Made me laugh – hope you enjoy


October 29th, 2010
9:37 am

I really like the Trunk & Treat concept. It’s safe, guaranteed candy and the folks get to enjoy themselves too.

Mike S.

October 29th, 2010
10:35 am

Updawg, it’s community-by-community to suggest official trick-or-treating times. Of course, some kids will go Saturday and some will go on Halloween, regardless of what a mayor says.

Much of Middle Georgia is going for Saturday.


October 31st, 2010
4:53 pm

Ok I did send mine out the door today saying “See you by 10:00″ just like you said not to do but I was sending her off with a friend and her friends parents.

She is dressed as a zombie so please be discerning while shooting them tonight ;) some are just preteens with a love for zombie movies. She will be the one in a torn pink plaid dress dragging a stuff puppy along with her.


November 1st, 2010
12:08 am

Sounds like Lt. Steve Rose advocates murdering sex offenders in verse 12

Cop Supporter

November 1st, 2010
10:15 am

Dunn good point and I would agree my ex is a sex offender (which is why is an ex-spouse) so that is very tempting of course he is in prison right now so maybe we can have that approval in 10 years :) (I would never be able to do it but who knows someone else can have him)