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3 Apps to keep kids safe while trick-or-treating this Halloween

Former engineer-turned-media personality helping you make sense of our ever-changing technology landscape! And lover of cupcakes...

Have an 'appy' Halloween! Safety apps make it easier for parents to let kids trick-or-treat alone

Although you might already be seeing Christmas decorations in stores, Halloween is probably the holiday you're preparing for right now. Costumes have been chosen and that extra bag of candy is ready to go, but how are you feeling about letting your kids go trick-or-treating by themselves?

Whether it's the first year they're allowed to head down the block without you or they're old pros, wanting to keep an eye on your children isn't unreasonable, even if that eye is virtual. Here are a few apps that can help keep your kids safe this Oct. 31.

Track n Treat

Have an 'appy' Halloween! Safety apps make it easier for parents to let kids trick-or-treat alone
Image: Apple

The simplicity of this app will appeal to parents and kids alike, because once you've entered your info, there's really nothing else to do. After you download Track n Treat (free for iOS), your child will enter their name and an optional photo. Then, you can choose the people who will be able to track your child's location by selecting from the smartphone's contacts or by email address. Those contacts will get a notification that includes a link that will allow them access to your child's GPS location for the next four hours. It's a really easy way to keep an eye on your kids without them having to check in all night long.

FBI Child ID

Have an 'appy' Halloween! Safety apps make it easier for parents to let kids trick-or-treat alone
Image: Apple

No one wants to think about the possibility that their child could end up in danger, but it's worth being prepared for under any circumstances. Developed by the FBI, this app gives you a place to electronically store identifying information about your child — like height and weight — as well as photos. The app also lets you email that information to authorities if necessary. Included in the app are safety tips and specific guidelines on what to do in the first few crucial hours when a child goes missing. You pray you never need it, but having this information handy when you may not be in a state of mind to provide it could be critical. FBI Child ID is free for iOS and Android.

Flashlight apps

Have an 'appy' Halloween! Safety apps make it easier for parents to let kids trick-or-treat alone
Image: Google Play

Although most phones provide them as a built-in part of the operating system, the flashlight on some smartphones may not be easy to find, or might not be bright enough. And there is still the possibility that your child's smartphone doesn't have one. Adding a flashlight app to the home screen makes it easy to access and use quickly. Super-Bright LED Flashlight for Android and Torch Flashlight for iOS are a couple of good options. Using an app instead of an actual flashlight also means that your child doesn't have one more thing to carry around the neighborhood (all that candy will be heavy enough).

If your child is old enough to trick-or-treat by themselves, they're probably old enough to have a smartphone. And if they're old enough to have a smartphone, they're definitely not going to leave it at home, even for the promise of free candy. Downloading a few apps to their phone (and yours) can give you the peace of mind to hang out at home and hand out candy without worry. Happy Halloween!

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