How to use tech to stay safe this Halloween

Tech can help give everyone extra peace of mind during spooky season – especially if your kids are going trick or treating alone.

From silly costumes to ridiculously OTT horror films, Halloween is all about balance (we don’t know about you, but we want spooky and goofy in equal measure). And as 31 October approaches, there’s another kind of balance to be struck for people whose kids are old enough to go trick or treating on their own. On the one hand, you want the children in your care to experience the thrill of having a little independence. At the same time, your number one priority is their safety.

Setting basic ground rules for trick or treating is key. For example, agreeing that your kids will stick with their group of friends, never enter a stranger’s home or car, and wait until they get home to eat any treats. But tech can also be helpful where Halloween safety is concerned. 

children in halloween costumes

Plan a route with digital maps

If your children are heading out alone on Halloween, plan out a trick or treating route ahead of time that sticks to familiar, well-lit areas. (Although it’s also worth showing kids how to use the torch on their smartphone, just in case they do get unnerved by the dark.) On Google Maps, you can create a walking route with multiple stops and share it with your child by text or WhatsApp. This will also show you roughly how long the route will take, which should help you agree a time in advance that trick or treaters should be home by. You can create a list of saved places on the Google Maps app on your child’s phone, highlighting safe locations such as trusted friends and neighbours’ houses. You can also download an offline map of your neighbourhood to your child’s phone in advance – allowing them to get directions even if their phone can’t access data for any reason. Simply click the icon in the top right corner of the app, then go to Offline Maps.

children in halloween costumes

Use location sharing tools

So, you’ve agreed the route that your child should stick to. But if you want extra peace of mind, it’s worth making use of location sharing features. The Share My Location feature on iOS means you can keep an eye on where they are, as long as they take an iPhone, iPod touch or Apple Watch out with them. Location sharing is also available on Android smartphones and smartwatches. Your child can share their live location on WhatsApp, too. Let them know that you’ll be keeping an eye on where they are and you can relax – safe in the knowledge that their trick or treating is going to plan.

child wearing halloween costume looking at a phone

Add emergency contacts to smartphones

While your child’s experience of trick or treating will likely go off without a hitch, they should know how to respond in an emergency if needed. Help them memorise at least one caregiver’s phone number. Make sure their mobile phone is fully charged and has up-to-date numbers in its address book. And if they’re using a smartphone, check that their emergency contacts are up to date. These can be found in the Safety app on Android devices and Medical ID on iOS devices. On both Android and iOS, if your child has to use the SOS feature to call for help from emergency services, their emergency contacts will automatically be notified with their location.

pumpkins outside a door

Keep your home secure

Halloween safety isn’t just for kids. Most home security systems can now be controlled directly from an app on your smartphone. That includes smart tech like video doorbells that can be answered from anywhere; cameras that keep an eye indoors and outdoors; and motion sensors. So, whether you’re out trick or treating with smaller kids or enjoying an autumnal weekend away, you can rest assured that your home will be safe – with no scares on your return.

Published: 10 Oct 2023