The countdown to Halloween has started

Like it or loathe it, Halloween is fast becoming part of Australian culture. I’m not a massive fan myself, but then again I can remember being massively ticked off as a kid that we didn’t do it here. Over the last few years it’s become pretty commonplace, but it does bring up some safety issues for parents and carers.

As the mum of a child with life threatening food allergies, Halloween fills me with dread. In the past, we’ve dropped off some safe alternatives to a couple of neighbours and the kids have been happy with that. But one of the reasons Halloween annoys me is that I think it sends mixed messages to our kids. We tell them not to talk to strangers, except on that one night a year when we go and knock on all those stranger’s doors and ask them for lollies.

I gained a new perspective on that last year though, when a friend pointed out to me that the people in our neighbourhood shouldn’t be strangers to us. They never were when I was a kid; I knew all my nan’s neighbours all the way up and down the street and they all knew me. But now, even though we live in this global community, we’re less connected with our communities than ever.

So, instead of being annoyed by Halloween, maybe we can use it as a starting point to reconnect with our communities, and get to know the people next door. Here are some ideas for a safe and enjoyable Halloween in your neighbourhood.

Work out where you’d like to go Trick or Treating – in your street or apartment block is usually plenty.

Consider “organising” the night for your street or building – especially if you have a little one with allergies or sensory issues, it might help alleviate your stress.

Do a letterbox drop letting your neighbours know that you’ll be coming to their door on Halloween. You could include a balloon or link to a poster that they could display to show that they’re happy to have Trick or Treaters,

Be respectful if someone has their lights off or doesn’t want to participate.

Encourage healthier choices.

Don’t just take the sugar and run – use the opportunity to have a chat.

Go early – give the excitement plenty of time to wear off before bed.

Do you celebrate Halloween?

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