A Parent’s Guide to Safe Trick-or-Treating in Connecticut

By: Kelly Juleson, Partnership Co-President

Trick or treating is a rite of passage for many Connecticut youth.

It was one of my favorite nights of the year in the ‘late 1900s,’ as the Gen Z-ers refer to it.

I can remember the particularly chilly Halloween in 1992 when my mom made me wear my WINTER jacket over my Snow White costume (the indignation!) or the year I went as a picnic table while my best friend was a French maid….

Me dressed as a picnic table and my best friend dressed as a French maid, circa 1992.

I also remember my parents going through my candy haul to make sure it wasn’t poisoned or had a razor in it.

What seemed totally unreasonable to me at the time makes a whole lot of sense now. And, interestingly, it seems like it’s become a core memory.

As I’m getting ready to go out with my Zombie Swimmer and Zombie Dancer tonight, I’ll be following in the path of my parents and double-checking everything my girls bring home and, more than just checking… I’ll be talking to my girls about the dangers of taking things when we’re not sure what they are.

What am I checking them for?

It would be scariest to say I’m looking for rainbow fentanyl slipped into Skittles packets, but honestly, that seems unlikely.

I’m checking for open packaging or for the most likely well-intentioned homemade goodies…because we just don’t know what may be in them.  I’m also going to make sure that our Milky Ways aren’t actually Space Bars, a type of THC edible.

But more than anything, I’m going to talk to my girls about why I’m digging through their candy (other than trying to snag the Milk Duds for myself).

It presents an easy and low-pressure teachable moment about the dangers of taking things that we aren’t sure what they are and that what we may believe is in a certain package could be totally different.

Just last week, my kindergarten daughter got off the school bus eating a pouch of fruit snacks that weren’t hers. It presented an opportunity for us to have a conversation about eating (or taking things) that we aren’t sure where they are from or what is in them. The label on these particular fruit snacks didn’t look familiar to me, so I suggested we put them aside and get some when we got home.

It’s also a great moment to talk about how the things that make us feel good can also make us feel really, really bad if we have too much.

Talking about healthy choices for our bodies at a young age can help transition to more direct conversations about the dangers of drug and alcohol use as your children get older. For some more conversation tips, visit PreventionCT.org.

I’m not trying to create a world of fear for my girls, but one where there is a healthy skepticism for things they put in their bodies and where they come from.

In the meantime, don’t let this scare you!

The Governor’s Prevention Partnership builds statewide capacity to prevent underage drinking and substance use and builds strategic alliances to promote the overall well-being of Connecticut’s future workforce.