Walking up to strangers’ doors and collecting candy is a new concept for toddlers who may be a little apprehensive of this whole idea. My daughter’s first Halloween (when she was 14 months old) included only four neighbour homes before we headed home with our haul of 8 candy bars). Now 2 years old, I consider this to be her first “real” Halloween experience.
Here are some tips to make your toddler’s first Halloween a success.
Read Books About Trick-or-Treating
Toddler's really have no context for understanding what Halloween is. Books are always my go-to way to introduce kids to a new experience - whether it's starting school or trick-or-treating. By reading a few books about Halloween traditions, you can help your toddler understand what to expect on the big night. Check out our selection of Halloween books for kids.
The Costume Is Key
Let's face it, you really only have a couple of Halloween's to dress up your child in the costume of your choosing before they develop their own thoughts and opinions on what they want to be for Halloween. Ensure that your toddler's costume is comfortable so they aren't too cold or too warm and that their shoes are comfortable for walking. Make sure their costume is free of trip hazards. One little stumble can send your trick-or-treater crying home.
Head Out Early
You don't need to wait until the night is pitch black before heading out trick-or-treating. An overtired toddler doesn't make for a happy trick-or-treater. Head out once the sun goes down. I usually aim for 6pm.
Do a Practice Walk
Walk your trick-or-treat route in advance. This gives you a good opportunity to get to know the homes you will be visiting and to see if some homes are decorated just a little too spooky for your toddler so you can plan to avoid these homes on Halloween night.
Know Your Toddler’s Spook Tolerance
Some toddlers just love the spooky. Others burst into tears at the sight of a jack-o-lantern. When my son was a toddler, I took him to a Halloween store to look at the decor and he spent half an hour making the characters cackle and growl and he loved every minute of it. My daughter on the other hand cries when I bring out the vacuum. Getting to know your toddler's spook tolerance can help you to prepare them for Halloween night and avoid anything that is too outside of their comfort zone.
Swap the Candy
If you're worried about the sugar rush that comes after Halloween night, have a few non-candy toys on hand to swap for the chocolate bars and lollipops. Let your toddler pick a few candies that they want to try, then casually swap out the rest of the sugar for some fun modelling dough, stickers, or other fun themed items you know they'll enjoy.