Get those kids out the door and gather that loot! We all get caught up in the excitement of Halloween night. After all, it's the only night of the year when even grown ups can get away with dressing like Ms. Kitty or a Cow with utters sticking straight out. Before the big moment we have to make sure the kids know the safety rules. If you wait till the last minute to go over everything, you will end up dragging the kids back through the doorway by their collar and then talking to a fence post. They will pay no attention to you and you will likely give up and shove them back out the door.

Just go ahead, now is a good time to start reviewing the check list and make sure your kids know the safety rules and what to do in each event. Accidents happen but there are common mistakes we parents make on Halloween that can be avoided with proper planning ahead.

All Hallows Eve With Out a Single Rule?

No way! That is the first mistake parents make. Gone, long gone, are the days of being "friends" with your kids. It is a tough world out there and if you want to have an unsafe kid…be their friend. Kids have enough friends. What they need from you, the parent is direction. I know you are the kind of parent who wants a safe kid or you wouldn't be reading this. So here's the tip. Make a good plan for Halloween that starts with curfew times and communication. The curfew should be something reasonable and in accordance to the child's age. The curfew time should be a time that will clue you in that something is not right. If your child is not home at this time you will know something could be amiss and you can check it out. Is the curfew set just as a control feature for the kid? No. It is set as a safety measure. Will they love you for it? Probably not now. But a sullen Jesse is better than an injured one. Also, let your child know that if something happens and they can not make it home by curfew to call and let you know. Even if they simply lost track of time, this is okay as long as they call to let you know and are on their way home at the time. Tell them to check in a few times a night as well. If your child doesn't have a cell phone, let them borrow yours for the night or tell them to ask a friend to use one.

What is Frightful? A Halloween without Safety Gear

Well before your kiddos leave the house for a night of ghouling fun, make sure he or she has a flashlight with fresh batteries. Don't just hand him dad's light from work, give him a light weight flashlight he will actually tote in his hand. Give him or her a map of the neighborhood too. Make sure he stays in a well known neighborhood but still, give him a map because he could get excited and lose track of where he is going and how to get back home. It is a good idea to give him and emergency contact number that you will definitely be available at. This means giving him a landline emergency number because your cell may get in a dead zone and miss his call. I know you want to have fun too but make sure your kids can reach you, just in case. If your out on the prowl for goodies with younger kids too, have a meeting spot that you will all be able to reach at a pre planned time.

Halloween Night is No Time to Troll New Hoods

Make sure you know the neighborhood that your kid will be traveling. Do an internet search a few days ahead of time and search for any houses occupied by convicted and registered pedophiles. These houses are supposed to have their lights out to indicate no visitors on Halloween night but they are rarely monitored. It is up to you to make sure your kids don't put themselves at risk. The safety of each neighborhood can be very different between blocks. Just be sure to tell your kids to stay in areas well known by the family.

Tell the Ghost to Keep Out of the Candy Until its Inspected

You remember when we all went out gathering candy on Halloween night and ate it before we got home? Then came the bad guys with the razors in apples, and cyanide in Tylenol. Each year there are stories of candy being poisoned. Most turn out to be false but it only takes one piece and you don't want to be the family that ingests it. Be safe, don't be sorry. Sorry about the cliché. Just tell the kids to not eat candy that is loosely wrapped or that has no wrapper at all. Toss homemade treats unless you know the cook. Better yet, tell them to keep the candy in the bag until you look at it.

Know the Phone Numbers of Your Casper's Friends

You don't want to be worried about your child and not have alternate phone numbers to call. If he is old enough to go out trick-or-treating with friends, be certain to get at least two phone numbers. It's also a good idea to get the numbers of their parents too.

Don't Let Your Teen Drive on All Hallows Eve

Yeah, he or she is old enough but Halloween night is a different animal. Kids will be running everywhere. They aren't paying attention. Other teens will be in the car with yours or the radio will be on. They won't be paying attention. It is just best to keep the keys on that night. It's a good time for them to walk to the party or for you to offer to drive him and his friends.

Get the Right Costume for the Wicked Witch

Plan all the costumes well ahead of time. Remember face paints are much safer than masks. A mask of any kind will obscure at least some visibility. Avoid provocative costumes and consider the weather when planning the outfit. Help your child decide on a costume that they will be pleased with but that is also safe.