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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