Trick or Treating with Toddlers

Dressing up as a favorite superhero, cartoon character, or animal will fill them with joy!

By: Jane Garcia Buhks

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Photo by: iStock


Halloween can be a magical time, especially for toddlers whose world of make-believe is ripe and vibrant. Dressing up as a favorite superhero, cartoon character, or animal will fill them with joy!

However, partaking in the festive fun with your toddler isn't without its challenges. Read on for our pro tips on how to have a fun and safe Halloween with your toddler.

1. Serve a Healthy Dinner Before Treats

Seasoned parents know that there's nothing crankier than a hungry toddler. Making sure your toddler has a nutritious, healthy dinner before heading out to knock on doors will prevent a low blood sugar meltdown. A balanced dinner with some low-fat protein, complex carbs, and healthy veggies will keep their energy and mood up.

2. Head Out Early

Leave the cover of darkness for the tweens and teens. Your little one will be happier if you head out right after dinner--it will still be light enough to see and late enough that houses will be ready for their costumed guests. Additionally, heading out earlier means that you may avoid the scarier costumes of the late night crew.

3. Consider Costume Safety

There are scores of adorable costume options for small children. When you're selecting your toddler's trick-or-treating attire, it's important to keep safety in mind. Experts advise against masks for toddlers. As it gets dark outside, it can be hard for toddlers to see with a mask obscuring their vision. Poor vision may lead to a fall with skinned knees or bumps and bruises--no fun for anyone!

You should also steer away from any flammable costume materials. Cheap, plastic fabrics or long, loose clothing are both potentially flammable. The last thing you want is for your child to snag a corner of their costume on a jack o' lantern candle.

Of course, make sure your child is visible to auto traffic. Keep a flashlight with you and consider dressing in light colors or using reflective tape.

4. Practice Ahead of Time

Toddlers are nothing if not creatures of habit. Practicing how to knock on the door and say "please" and "thank you" ahead of the big night may make for a better trick-or-treating experience. If your toddler is shy or scared of people dressed in costumes, then you may want to make plans with a few friendly neighbors to visit their homes to trick-or-treat. Seeing familiar faces may make your reluctant toddler more comfortable with his or her first Halloween experience.

5. Consider Food Allergies

Trick-or-treating doesn't need to be off limits for toddlers with food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project was designed to help children with food allergies celebrate Halloween without fear.

Visit FARE (Food Allergy Resource and Education) to learn how to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project in your area. For more tips on how to trick-or-treat safely with a child who has food allergies, read 6 Life-Saving Trick-or-Treating Tips for Kids With Food Allergies.

6. Check All Candy

As is the case with older children, it's important to check your toddler's candy before letting them consume any treats. Ensure that all candy is wrapped (and not compromised in any way) before letting your child have a taste. Of course, once you've checked the candy, you're entitled to a few "chaperone" treats, as well. Enjoy--you've earned them!

7. Know When to Call it a Night

Even with all the pre-planning, your toddler may still be ready to head home early. That's OK--the walking around, new sights and sounds, and dressing up can be very stimulating. Be prepared to listen to your toddler's cues and don't feel bad about heading home after just a few houses.

Happy Halloween to you and your family! With our tips, your toddler is sure to have a spook-tacular time trick-or-treating!

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