My kids have been planning this Halloween since last Halloween.
It’s not every day they can dress up as anything they want, and go door to door begging for candy.
Here are 10 tips for trick-or-treating with toddlers to keep your sanity and keep everyone as happy as can be with sugar flowing.
10 Tips for Trick-or-Treating with Toddlers
Choose the right costume.
There are some cute costumes out there, but remember that simple beats cute-but-complicated. Comfort and fit are the best things to keep in mind. You don’t want to have your child tripping up steps.
Most kids don’t like wearing masks for long either, try nontoxic face paint instead.
Make sure you can dress your toddler warm enough under their costume. Whether that be a warm sweater, coat, or a full snowsuit.
Even if you aren’t intending to be out after dark, it’s not a bad idea to slap some reflective tape over your toddler’s costume, just to be safe. Take a small flashlight along, too, in case you end up out for longer than you expected.
Talk about Halloween etiquette.
The last thing you want to be doing while trick-or-treating is nagging your kid at every door to “remember to take just one.” A two-minute chat could save a lot of headaches later in the evening.
Inspect all candy before anything is eaten.
An adult should always look through the loot first to identify possible choking hazards, foods your child is allergic to, and any candy that’s open or just looks off.
Tip: Have some non-candy treats at home that you can swap out before you let the kids dive in.
Prep for unexpected surprises.
Being scared is part of Halloween’s charm, so chances are high that at some point someone will jump out and say “boo!” or you’ll pass an older trick-or-treater with a seriously terrifying costume. Those kinds of unexpected surprises can be too frightening for a toddler.
Skip the super spooky houses.
Some people get really into their Halloween decorations. If you come across a house that you think will overwhelm your toddler, don’t feel bad about skipping it.
Time it right.
Go early in the evening, and keep it short. Young children can’t hold up for too long, and everyone will have more fun if you stop before they’re too tired or overstimulated. Around here we have supper early, and are out trick-or-treating by 4:30, and still could be the last ones out.
Have a candy plan.
The temptation of a bucket full of candy is too much for a toddler to resist. (Heck, it’s too much for most adults to resist!) So go into it with a plan.
Tell your child ahead of time how many pieces she can eat that evening, how many she can have each day throughout the next week, and when the candy will be gone.
Pick an appropriate candy bag.
Make sure it’s small enough for your toddler to hold himself and has an easy-to-grip handle. A small backpack is another toddler-friendly option.
Take a dump bag. A bigger bag to dump your toddlers smaller loot bag into.
You toddlers legs are going to get tired long before yours do. Bring along a stroller, wagon, or depending on the weather, a sled.