Tips for Trick or Treating with a Toddlerby Elizabeth MacDonald
Halloween is not exactly a toddler-friendly holiday, but yet we expect our littlest ghouls and goblins to have a spooktacular night. When you think about it, it's quite funny. We try to push our toddlers to their absolute limits without breaking down. The entire night, a toddler is probably on the verge of being terrified while also thinking, "What the hell is happening?"
As parents, we forget what it's like to be as tall as grown-ups' knees. We forget that things seem bigger than they are, scarier than they are, and more real than they are in reality. The joys of parenthood, and how easy it is to traumatize our kids. Let's look at the 'fun' behind Halloween:
- Staying up late.
- Wearing a costume.
- Seeing crazy costumes.
- Knocking on doors.
- Getting scared.
- Hearing spooky noises.
- Filling a bucket with candy.
- Eating said candy throughout the night.
It's basically a recipe for disaster with a toddler in tow! But you don't want to ignore this fun night. Instead of going all or nothing, take the time to plan out the holiday so that your little pumpkin will go to bed smiling and wake up without a bellyache.
Tips for Trick or Treating with a Toddler
- Re-Evaluate the Costume: That puffy dinosaur costume with the full hood may have been fun afternoon costume, but once the evening rolls in, your toddler may not be as relaxed in the outfit of choice. Instead of forcing him into it and ruining the night consider another option.
- Have a Backup Costume - Pajama Style! You can pick up pajamas made to look like cowboys, ballerinas, skeletons, and just about every other character imaginable nowadays. Grab a pair as a backup if the original costume doesn't pan out.
- Spend the Day Talking about Halloween: Toddlers understand more than we give them credit for. Talk about scary noises, costumes, music, and decorations. YouTube has great read aloud books for the holiday too!
- Get a Nap In: A well-rested toddler is a happy toddler.
- Feed Your Toddler First: Make sure your little one's belly is full of healthy food before heading out the door.
- Start Early: Be the first ones out if need be, but get outside before dark! Let your tot experience trick-or-treating as the sun sets instead of total darkness.
- Bring Healthy Treats: Everyone snacks on candy, but you can at least offer a better option in between houses.
- You Hold the Candy: You can inspect the candy as it is added to the bucket.
- Skip Scary Houses: If your toddler is sensitive, skip any houses that are geared toward older trick-or-treaters.
- Head Home for Bedtime: The sun still rises in the morning, and you will not want a cranky, candy-filled toddler served with your coffee. You can head home early and spend the evening handing out candy while your toddler sleeps.