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How to keep track of your kids on Halloween

Easy monitoring tricks to use while the treats are hunted.

Screenshot by Alina Bradford/CNET

Concerned parents with children who are taking part in unsupervised trick-or-treating or other guardian-free Halloween activities can find some anxiety relief without tagging along. Don't go all crazy-stalker-parent on them, but you can easily use location sharing between mobile phones with various apps.

Find My Friends

If you're an iPhone family, there is actually more than one way to share locations. The easiest way is by using Apple's own Find My Friends app. Start by installing the app and having your kids do the same. Then, each person should launch the app, tap the add button and search for the people they'll share their location with (like you). 

Your kids can choose to share their location until the end of the day or indefinitely (unlikely). Once they share their location, you'll be able to see their live movement on the map in the Find My Friends app. 

Life360's tracking apps

If some people in the family have an iPhone and others are on Android, use Life360's apps. On Android, the app is called Family Locator; on iPhone, the app is called Find My Family, Friends, Phone. Like Find My Friends for iPhone, you'll see a live map with everyone's location, but unlike Apple's Find My Friends, you'll also be able to see your family's location history. 

Facebook Messenger

Kids can share their whereabouts with one or more family members by engaging Messenger's Live Location feature, which rolled out in early 2017. Users on both iOS and Android can share live locations for a 60-minute duration or drop pins on their live location at any time by going to the app, then tapping the Location or More icons, followed by Location.

WhatsApp

Keeping in mind that users need to be at least 16 years old to use WhatsApp, it can be utilized to share locations for a specified duration of time, such as during trick-or-treating, either with an individual or via group chat.

In the child's phone's settings, go to Apps & Notifications, followed by App permissions and Location. Select WhatsApp, and then whether you want to share their location live. Once back in the app, open an individual or group chat, select Attach, Location and Share Live Location. You'll then choose how long to share their location.

Paid carrier apps

Want even more control? The four major wireless carriers in the US each offer apps that require a paid subscription: Verizon Family Locator, AT&T FamilyMap, Sprint Family Locator and T-Mobile FamilyWhere. They each average around $10 per month to locate between 2 and 10 phones, depending on the individual features of each carrier's app.

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Or check out 4 ways to share your exact location with family (and why).