Special Guest Post
By: Karen Braga
After much thought in choosing the perfect Halloween costume, children then look forward to getting free candy. Although we teach children not to talk to strangers and take candy from them, Halloween is the one day where it is accepted; however with limits. It is important to explain that trick or treating should always be done with a parent or an adult guardian. If you have an older child (13 +) and you give them permission to go with friends, make sure that they are in a group of at least three or more. They should also know the importance of checking candy before consuming it. The good news is toddlers don’t really show much interest in eating the candy as much as getting it.
Here are my top ten tips in trick or treating with your toddlers.
- Together with your toddler choose a fun Halloween candy bag or pale at one of your local Halloween stores. Just make sure that it is not too big for them as they will most likely want to carry it themselves. For a little fun activity and for those on a budget, you can purchase a plain bag from your local dollar store and decorate it together.
- Depending on the day Halloween falls under, sometimes it’s a rush to get home and get everything ready for the adventure. No matter what though, eating a good dinner is important as they will need all the energy they can get. My niece LOVES pizza and it was easy to pick up and it filled her belly for a long time. However, for those of you that have the time to cook a meal that day make sure your toddler has some protein. Keeping your toddler full will help them resist the temptation of asking for a piece of candy.
- I highly recommend preparing all your things before changing your toddler in their costume. They might get restless waiting around for you to get things ready when they know there ready to go. Some important items to bring along with you is an umbrella, sweaters or a blanket, healthy snacks, water and a flash light. Also bringing along a favorite stuff toy and a pacifier (if your toddler uses one) can be a comforting item to relieve a scary moment or even a tantrum. Also make sure to bring a plastic bag with you as you can use it to empty out your toddler’s bag when it gets full.
- Weather is sometimes very unpredictable, so taking a quick look at the forecast is highly recommended. Depending where you live, Halloween can be quite chilly outside so making sure your toddlers costume is warm enough will help them have a comfortable experience. If it isn’t warm enough, then small alterations can be made the day of. For instance, you can put on a long sleeve shirt and pants under their costume for warmth. As mentioned above, bringing sweaters or a blanket can be handy as well. Aside from the cold, sometimes it rains on Halloween so be prepared with an umbrella, rain boots or even a rain coat. There are some clear rain coats that your toddler can wear and still have their costume shown.
- Toddlers love to be independent and want to walk on their own but often times they get tired easily. I highly recommend you bring a stroller or wagon for the trip. It’s easier to store the things you just packed and a backup for when your toddler gets tired. Also a great place to put the extra candy they get. For a fun activity you and your toddler can decorate the stroller or wagon for Halloween and have them help you put the items in it.
- It’s a good idea to head out trick or treating as early as you can. The typical time to go out with your little ones is 6:00 PM. This will allow your toddler to explore and experience the holiday but get home on time for their bedtime routine.
- We all know how day light savings time works and it can get dark quickly even if you go out trick or treating around 6:00 PM. So being prepared with a flash light or Halloween reflectors for safety is recommended. You can find Halloween reflectors at your local store and the price can range from $3.00 (CND) to $5.00 (CND). However, you can find cheaper ones at your local dollar store; either way as long as it’s bright it’s good.
- Going trick or treating around your neighborhood is a great way for your toddler and you to get to know your neighbors. It is also close to your home, so if your toddler is finding it overwhelming or they become too tired to continue you can easily head back. If you do choose to expand your trick or treating area, please choose a street that has many trick or treaters and not many cars.
- When approaching your first home, take the time to talk about the decorations that the house has, so they don’t get scared. Walk up or carry your toddler to the front door and encourage them to say “trick or treat”. If they can’t say it then that’s ok as they will be hearing you say it and they will learn that next time that is what they should say. Before you know it, they will pick up on the concept quickly.
- Creating a smooth tradition to head back home doesn’t have to end with a tantrum. An easy transition is when you start in your area, go from the end of your street and work your way back home. If you are away from your neighborhood an easy transition to go back home would be to build excitement around all the candy that you can go through when you get home. Just make sure they know it won’t be eaten in one night! 😉
Overall, having a fun and safe Halloween with your toddler can be done with simple steps. Although if you do not want your toddler trick or treating or they are too scared to go out; there is another way they can still be a part of that adventure. Together with your toddler you can greet the children that come to your door and put some Halloween candy in their bags. For fun and a great fine motor skill activity you can have your toddler put some candy in the mini Halloween bags a head of time to give out the day of.
Something special I do each year is get some Halloween stickers from my local dollar store and cut them into squares (about 4 to 6 stickers on each square). Then I hand them out with the candy and let me tell you how happy children get. Sometimes they show more interest in the stickers then the candy that I give them. Nevertheless it’s a little bonus treat I like to do to make their Halloween a little special. For those that look a little scared with my decorations I throw them some extra stickers just for being brave.
Until next time… Have a safe and fun Halloween!
About the Author
Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Karen is passionate and knowledgeable about Halloween. Combined with her ECE background and passion on Halloween, she has recently become an expert writer on the topic for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can help families enjoy this holiday.