Letting your kids trick or treat alone is a big, emotional step. You want your children to feel a sense of independence, but you also want them to be safe. Lucky for you, there are a number of apps you can download before October 31st that will help keep your kids safe while you munch on candy corn and enjoy your scary movie marathon.
Here are our top five picks.
Cost: Free for the basic version, $4.99/month or $49.99/year for the Pro version Available for iOS
FamilySignal is a location-sharing app that comes equipped with several helpful features for your Halloween night. It includes a visual map that allows you to see where in the neighborhood your trick-or-treaters actually are, as well as a “panic button” that will alert you (and the authorities, if necessary) as soon as your child has pushed it in case of emergency. For less serious situations, perhaps when the kids need help carrying their bags of candy home, they can reach you with a feature called “Touch Base”. This allows for a single tap by the kids and an instant notification to your phone. You can also customize your alerts with “Geofences”—these refer to specific areas that you have chosen, maybe school, work, or in this case, your trick-or-treating route. There is no credit card necessary to sign up, and you can access the free version as long as you’d like.
One of the most seasoned family connector apps, Life360, comes with many helpful features. Most important for parents with kids seeking to fill their candy bags will be the private map feature and emergency signaling. The private map will allow you to track your kids while they’re on the go. You can also create “favorite” spots with Life360, and anytime your children arrive at that location you’ll get an automatic update—a perfect feature that will help you and your children to decide on a pre-approved route. And the best part is that Life360 doesn’t need to be open for you to track your child’s whereabouts. As long as it’s installed on their phone, they can just slip it in their pocket and be on their merry way!
A free and straightforward app that allows you to share your location in real-time with approved friends. You can request a Glympse of your children while they’re on the go, or they can freely send you Glympses of their whereabouts at their own discretion. The best way to use Glympse on Halloween night is to decide on a duration of time that your children will be out, set the app to that time period and have your child select you as a recipient. You can track their whereabouts throughout the night without having to request check-ins. With Glympse, your child can send their location via text, email, Facebook or Twitter. It’s a great choice if your spouse also wants updates, but doesn’t want to download the app.
Cost: Free for the first 30 days, 3.99 for a 1-Year Subscription Available for iOS
Another GPS tracking app with a very clear and simple design. Footprints will pull your child’s location automatically, so there’s no need for them to have their phone out while they are on the go. Geofences are a great aspect of this app. You can set up a predetermined route and will be notified anytime one of the ‘fences’ are crossed. Make sure that your child’s phone is fully charged before their night out, as this app continually runs in the background while pulling your child’s location.
5. Family Tracker
Cost: Free for the Lite version, $5.99 for the HD version Available for iOS, Android
The Family Tracker uses GPS location to update you in real-time. The HD version is $5.99—you can also check out the Lite version, which is free but offers a few less features. The Family Tracker app uses free Apple/Google push notifications (instead of SMS/text messages) to alert the devices that are being tracked, so make sure these are turned on in your phone’s settings. The app allows you to locate the other users you’re connected with, as well as “Ping” them, which can help eliminate the worry over missed calls or a delay in response. You can also use the real-time map feature to see if your child is moving along the pre-determined route, or if they’ve veered off in hopes of better candy down the street.
This tool from the FBI will come in extremely handy under the unfortunate circumstance that your child goes missing on Halloween night. Download this app and keep it updated with pictures and vital information of all of your children just in case one of your little ghouls wanders off. Having this information ready and on hand could save vital time if you do need to report your child missing – this app will allow you to share photos and records with the authorities immediately. It will also provide you with very important direction on how to proceed in the first few moments.
Written by Alyssa Baker
Alyssa Baker is a writer and a resident security expert for the SafeWise team. She enjoys writing about home automation and home security gadgets, and drinks a lot of coffee in her spare time. Learn more