Halloween is one of the most creative, fun times of the year, but can also be daunting if you have a little one.
My neighborhood celebrates Halloween in a huge way, and the festivities go on for hours. Trick-or-treating starts early though, which is perfect for toddlers (and their parents!).
If Halloween doesn't start until after dark where you live, or if you're concerned about trick-or-treat safety, check with your local mall or recreation center — chances are they offer early Halloween activities for families with toddlers.
If you're the parent of a toddler and an older child, Jen recommends calling in reinforcements. "Never try taking your toddler trick-or-treating with his older siblings by yourself," she says. "It's guaranteed that your toddler will have a meltdown, but so will your older kids if they have to quit trick-or-treating early. Have another adult around who can help."
There's nothing wrong with staying at home and letting your toddler experience trick-or-treating from the giving side.
Your toddler may not be ready to spend a lot of time trick-or-treating, and staying home on Halloween can be just as fun.
Anna says, "Depending on the weather, you might be able sit with your child on the stoop or porch of your house, candy bucket in hand, letting them offer candy to trick-or-treaters. That way they get to see all the costumes and be part of the experience but not get drained from all the walking around. Plus, it can reinforce those important sharing skills."
Sure, you won't have as much of the cute factor when your toddler grows up, but don't knock yourself out doing too much this Halloween. Will the hours of sewing a costume or buying a ton of Halloween decorations be worth it if your toddler has a massive meltdown the moment you start trick-or-treating?
Cheri Augustine Flake, LCSW, says, "Keep the route short and sweet. Keep the costume simple... don't make this one more thing that you must do — unless of course, you have a deep love for [the] holiday and enjoy the whole shebang. Avoid any added stress or pressure to do what you 'should' be doing. Instead, enjoy, and remember that it's all in good fun — for everyone!"
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