5 Tips for a Happier Halloween

The season for candy, costumes, and trick-or-treating is upon us! While this is a time for imagination and tradition, if you have young children this holiday, it may be a good idea to reevaluate your standard Halloween expectations in order for the littlest ones in your crew to enjoy the experience, too. Below are five suggestions that we think will help your trick-or-treating experience be a happy one this year.

Five suggestions to help your halloween be a happy one this year! Tweet this!

1. A Kid-Friendly Costume Is a Must

Dressing up is part of the fun of Halloween. However, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right costume for your child. Make sure it is comfortable and fits well. Headpieces, masks, and capes sound like a great idea and look terrific for photos, but for a toddler, they become a burden while trick-or-treating. You may be toting that discarded item all through the neighborhood. Additionally, masks can make it difficult for little ones to see well. Snap a photo before you head out, but try to leave the fancy extras at home. Safe, comfortable shoes are a must. Your daughter may insist that her high heel princess shoes are vital to her ensemble, but 2 houses later she will plead for you to carry her. Keep things simple and everyone will be happier in the long run.

2. Set Clear Expectations Early

Do this before you even leave the house for trick-or-treating. It is easier to establish your expectations while still at home than to repeat them at every single door you knock on. Some typical “rules” might be to look your neighbor in the eye when you speak; only take one piece of candy; and always say “thank you.” Another expectation to establish early is the “candy plan.” Your toddler is toting a bag full of CANDY. He will want to eat every bit of it tonight. If you have made a “candy plan” with him before hand (‘Dad carries the candy bag,’‘three pieces tonight’ or ‘we eat the candy after we get home and inspect it’) you might be able to avoid the candy clash.

3. Safety Always Comes First

If you’ll be trick-trick-or-treating with a group, make sure each child knows that you travel as a group. Older kids should have a buddy and younger ones should be with a parent. We recommend that you keep to the sidewalks and walkways, out of the street. It’s also a good idea to carry a flashlight with you. Kids love flashlights. Kids love glow sticks. If your child has on a dark costume that is not easily seen by others at night, let her wear a glow stick necklace or five. If you can find some reflective tape, put a strip or two on her costume so it’s more visible to cars and passers-by.

4. Try to Avoid Meltdowns

A good rule of thumb with younger trick-or-treaters is to “go early, stay close.” Younger children will struggle to make it through 5 or 6 streets with the “big guys.” For these little ones, head out early, while it’s still light and stay close to home. When a toddler is “done,” he is usually done right now. If you are far from home when this happens, everyone may wind up miserable. Stay close to home. Another key with very young children is to make sure to diaper and potty before you walk out the door. Wearing a costume that is easy to remove is a good idea. You’ll be sure to buy a little more time for adventure by being prepared.

5. Prepare for the Fear factor

Let’s be honest. Halloween can be scary. Some houses will be decorated to be scary. Along the way, you may see some trick-or-treaters in really spooky costumes. Try to prepare your little ones: remind them before you leave home that some people like to be frightened and enjoy the spooky side of Halloween. Reassure them that it’s all make believe. Make sure they know they are safe with you. Remind them that the decorations are not real and that underneath even the scariest costumes are regular people. Then, skip the super spooky houses. A piece of candy is not worth the trauma.

We hope our suggestions will help you stay safe and have an enjoyable Halloween with your little ones.

Jennifer Wilson

Jennifer Wilson is a graduate of Rhodes College and the University of Memphis. After years of teaching in early childhood education, she is now a full-time, work-at-home mother. She and her husband, Scott, have three children, ages 15, 12, and 6. She lives in Memphis, TN.