Trick-or-treating is practically a childhood rite of passage. Donning a costume to get massive amounts of free candy is a dream come true for most kids. For parents, on the other hand, the idea of our kids venturing out at night and ringing a stranger’s doorbell is more like a nightmare.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, there were an estimated 41 million potential trick-or-treaters, ages five to 14, in the U.S. This doesn’t account for the number of children younger than five and older than 14 who also trick-or-treat. With these stats, it’s safe to say that on October 31, American streets will be flooded with millions of children and adults.
Traditionally, parents with younger children tag along for an easy walk around the neighborhood. As the kids get older, however, they tend to meet their friends sans parents and travel to other neighborhoods. So what’s the answer to a fun and safe Halloween?
Today’s GPS tracking apps are the modern-day solution for an age-old problem. For the millions of parents whose kids are trick-or-treating without them, the ability to monitor their whereabouts at any time is priceless, giving any parent peace of mind.
Top GPS Tracking Apps for Monitoring Kids
GPS tracking apps are great for trick-or-treating on Halloween or anytime your kids are away from you and on their own – school, practice, sporting events, movies, shopping mall, etc.
The following are the top GPS tracking apps available for smartphone users, including free and fee-based apps. Some of these apps require dual smartphones – one for the parent and one for the child. Others only require a smartphone for the parent and a cell phone for the child.
Family Locator, $9.99/month
Users: Verizon Wireless customers (Verizon, Android, Blackberry and iPhone)
Family Locator is a special app that allows you to track your entire family’s whereabouts in real time using your PC, phone or tablet. You can receive arrival and departure updates, locate family members, and create scheduled location updates for each family member. This last feature is especially helpful when you’re enforcing your kids’ curfews. Now you can know exactly where they are if they’re late for curfew. Plus, Family Locator works even if the phone is in use (while calling, texting, browsing or using apps).
Users: Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, iPhone and iPad
Lookout was originally created to find a lost phone or secure personal information on a stolen phone. However, now concerned parents can use the Lookout app to track their trick-or-treating children. The app must be downloaded on your child’s phone. Then, you simply log in online and click on the ‘missing device’ tab to locate the phone (and your child) on a map. It’s a great way to keep tabs on your child all night long.
Life360 Family Locator, Free
Users: iPhone, Android and Blackberry
Life360 Family Locator enables families to see where their loved ones are located, if they need help, and what threats might be present. The app creates a private family channel that allows real-time check-ins with the tap of a button from any family member. For example, instead of Mom constantly calling her children (and embarrassing them in front of their friends), she can simply request a check-in to alert her that her children are safe while trick-or-treating. Additionally, Life360 is compatible with regular cell phones, so you can easily locate your trick-or-treating kids who don’t have smartphones.
Find My Kids – Footprints, Free
Users: iPhone and iPad
Find My Kids – Footprints allows parents to track their kids in real time and share locations with family and friends, anytime, whether your phone is in your hand or in your pocket. Parents can keep track of their children’s whereabouts and see where they’ve been. You can also set up Geofences – with your kids’ school for instance – and be notified when these fences are crossed. You can even activate movement sensors that will notify you each time your loved ones are on the move, as they trick-or-treat from house to house. *Important note: your children must have an iPhone or iPad to track them using Footprints.
Friend Finder, Free
Users: Windows Phone 7.5
Friend Finder is a map-enabled GPS tracking app to help you keep track of your kids. You can view your child’s location in real-time while the app is running (and not in ‘stealth mode’). The app will continue to run while the phone is locked (or unlocked), so your kids can keep their hands free to enjoy trick-or-treating. And you can keep your mind clear, because you’ll know where they are at all times.
GPS Tracking, $3.99 (Enhanced Version)
Users: iPhone and Android
GPS Tracking makes it easy to pinpoint your child’s location much faster than a phone call or a text message. Easy access to your contact list provides peace of mind and location awareness without violating anyone’s privacy. With just the push of a button, a map pops up on your screen with the address of the person you just identified. So you can see exactly where you child is trick-or-treating. You can also identify your location to make it easier for your child to find you. Your child must have the GPS Tracking app installed on his or her phone. There is a real time version ($3.99) available for BlackBerry users as well.
Family Tracker, $3.99
Users: iPhone, iPad and Android
Family Tracker allows families to track each other, especially kids. You can find out where they are, at any time, as long as they have their iPhones, iPads or Android phones with them (internet access is required). This way, you’ll know if your teenager is at a Halloween party or somewhere he or she shouldn’t be. The app uses your email address to send free Apple/Google Push Notifications to the devices being tracked. These notifications are free, specific to the Family Tracker application, and work anywhere in the world as long as the device being tracked has internet access.