Many people my age (almost 50!) remember fondly, and wistfully, the Halloweens of our youth. You'd wolf down enough dinner to satisfy your folks (your mom hopping up repeatedly to hand out candy to the early birds), put on your costume and spring out into the glorious darkness. There were always tons of kids roaming the neighborhood; it felt like a big spooky party. Above all, it felt safe. When you were really little, of course, you always had a parent nearby when you knocked at neighbors' doors. But by the time you were 9 or 10, you went out without grownups and came home when you came home. And your parents didn't need to worry.
Nowadays Halloween is still fun, but it's also, for many parents, a holiday fraught with fears unrelated to scary costumes. It's become a night for keeping a close eye on kids. And now there's all kinds of technology to help you do so.
This article tells of a mom who outfits her kid with night-vision goggles so he can see where he's going in the dark; apparently the goggles make him more visible to others, too. It also notes that, whereas a concerned parent might once have stuck some reflective tape on a kid's costume, now you can get reflective bracelets, armbands and the like.
As for tracking your child's whereabouts while he's out trick-or-treating, the article notes that you can do so via cellphone or a hand-held GPS device. Or, this report suggests, if you want to lay down some serious cash, consider one of these:
Brickhouse Child Loc8tor, $170 There's a new version out of the Loc8tor, a tracking device for household items like keys and the remote or your cell phone that works great on wandering kids! On Halloween night, take one of the four tabs and attach it to the child's costume. If someone's missing, simply press the location button on the handheld device and the screen will show an arrow pointing towards the tab. A beeping noise along with the arrow will lead you to them -- within 600 feet. If a child panics, they now have the ability to press the tab and it will sound a personal alarm. Definitely check eBay first for this type of device, they have a great selection at great prices.
Spark Nano Child GPS, $299 If you're not the parent walking with the kids or have older kids out on their own and still want to keep tabs on them, check out The Spark Nano, a GPS enabled device. It fits into a waterproof pouch that can be worn like a watch or an ankle bracelet. You can either set up a virtual force field that will email/text you when the child has gone out of bounds, or you can simply pull up an online map and actually watch as the child moves from house to house. Available on eBay.com.
That seems a bit much to me.
(By the way, that article also recommends an electric Razor scooter to help your kid zip around the neighborhood. I don't think that sounds like such a great idea.)
How old are your little ghouls, and how much do you worry about their going trick-or-treating? Are you taking any special steps to keep tabs on their whereabouts on Halloween?
Jennifer LaRue Huget
| October 25, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: General Health, Kids' health, Parenting
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