We all realize life is a lot different for kids now then when we were young. One thing that stayed the same is trick or treating on Halloween, but a change is apps for a smartphone that will help keep them safer and give you some peace of mind.

Back in my trick or treating days (the late 1960's and early 1970's for those of you scoring at home) we would go house to house for literally HOURS, walking 12 blocks out from our house in all directions to maximize the candy intake. I grew up in south Minneapolis and was lucky that our neighborhood felt like a small town in a big city. But in 2013, there seems to be danger even in the smallest, safest-feeling towns.

And kids today are just like we were. They want to go with their friends, NOT with mom and dad. So to make them a little safer, and to give you some peace of mind as you let them go out on 'all you can eat candy night', download a few apps to their phone (or yours if they're going to carry it:

Family Locator - It's a simple, secure app that allows families to keep track of their trick-or-treaters with a detailed map and turn-by-turn directions. It also will generate a text or email when family members leave or arrive at designated locations.

Flashlight - This app is what it is. It lights the sidewalk or street in front of them while making them visible to drivers. Many free versions of this app are available and most include flashing light function for use in emergencies.

FBI Child ID - This free app provides parents with a convenient place to electronically store photos and vital information about their children. They can save hair color, weight and other important information that might be needed in case of an emergency.

Of course you can always do what we did. Stay about a half block behind them in the shadows. The drawback? In this day in age, you're just as likely to have the police called on you for creeping around in the dark.

Hope this helps you, the parent, enjoy Halloween just a little more.

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