by Shadra Bruce

When your kids are young, the worst thing you have to worry about on Halloween is the cavities they might incur from the copious amounts of candy they consume after trick-or-treating. Now that your teen is too old to dress up, you have a whole lot more to worry about than whether or not they’ll need to see the dentist. Instead of trick-or-treating, your teen may want to roam the streets with their friends, participate in pranks, and go to parties.

What can you do to keep your teen safe on Halloween night?

First, lock your teen in his or her room for the night and throw away the key.

Just kidding. That is not going to work. (Partially because you still haven’t gotten those bars over the windows installed.)

What you should do is talk to your teens about their plans for the night. “Hanging out” is not an acceptable description of the night’s activities. It is actually code for painting the town in silly string, throwing eggs at the neighbor’s garage, and toilet papering trees in the park (just ask my daughter, Kira, who waited until she was safely 21 before telling me what she was really doing).

You need to have a conversation with your teenager about choices and consequences. And you need to make sure you know where they’re going, who they will be with, and what they will be doing.

Do not give them the opportunity to be seduced by drugs or alcohol. Although your teen might think you are being a royal pain, I’d rather have my teen be mad at me for the night than have the police at my door in the middle of the night telling me something bad happened.

If you do let your teen go to a Halloween party, make sure it is chaperoned by a responsible parent. Your child’s friend’s older sibling is not an acceptable chaperone, and neither are parents who think it is ok for their kids to drink as long as they are home. Better yet, host the party yourself. This way, your teen gets to party and you know exactly where he or she is.

If you do let your teen go out, give him or her a curfew and make certain they are aware that they need to be home on time. And give your teen an out. Let them know that if they end up in a place where they aren’t comfortable that you will come and get them, no questions asked.

If you are not comfortable with a situation the same rules apply to you as much as they apply to your teen: it is ok to say no.

MomsGetReal is hosting an “All Treats, No Tricks” Halloween Bash starting September 25. Stay tuned for your chance to win prizes and find out about fabulous products.