Halloween is fast-approaching, and a local martial arts instructor wants you to prepare your children to defend themselves in case someone tries to abduct them while they are trick-or-treating.
Halloween can be chaos, and with hundreds of kids roaming one area, the chances you could get separated from yours are relatively high. Some basic self-defense knowledge, however, can make them a harder target for predators.
At the Hoshin Dojo in Midwest City, Sensei Charles Wallace says the first step to Halloween safety is knowing the route your family plans to walk, and use stop signs as checkpoints for when kids get lost.
“That makes them easier to find because they’re stationary,” Wallace explains. “Then they’re not moving, so you don’t have both parties going in opposite directions. Then the parents can back-track.”
Slapping the stop signs as you go also helps the kids remember where they are. “It makes a loud noise and you’ll remember the noise. It’s a memory peg,” says trick-or-treater Season Wallace.
If you have a friend picking your child up from trick-or-treating, use a password system so the child knows it is safe to go with that person.
Season says, “If they have the password, you go with them, but if they don’t have the password or if they give you the wrong password then you beat them with your candy.”
If the stranger is trying to abduct the child, Wallace advises them to scream "Fire" instead of "Help" because it is more likely to attract attention. And if someone stronger grabs their hand or arm, teach your child to swing that arm in a circular motion in the direction of the person's thumb, which will guarantee that they let go, despite any size differences.
After learning the move, Season says, “It feels like I actually have the power, but at the same time it’s kind of scary.”
Kids can also stomp on the abductor's foot or aim for their groin to escape. You can also teach them to use the weapon they have, a heavy bag full of candy.
“We can’t prevent the crime,” says Wallace, “but we can make the kids individually hard targets, and when enough of the training gets out there, and enough of the kids are hard targets, then no one becomes a victim.”
You can also make your kids easier to see by incorporating reflective or glow in the dark accessories into their costume or by tying a balloon to the costume to make them stand out in a crowd.
For more Halloween safety tips, click here.