8 tips for your child’s first Halloween

You know Halloween is a blast, but it can be scary and exhausting for a first-timer.

Spooky costumes, strangers, creepy house decorations and sound effects mixed with a big dose of anticipation and sugar and you’ve got the makings of a toddler meltdown.

How do you best prepare your toddler (and yourself) for her first Halloween?

Photo Credit: Emily TT Sullivan via Compfight cc

Here are eight tips wise Parent Hacks readers have offered over the years:

Steer your kid toward a costume that will help her stay warm, isn’t itchy, and doesn’t reduce her visibility or mobility.

Classic toddler tantrum prevention.

Everything will be less scary, fewer big kids will be stampeding through the neighborhood, and you can shoot for a normal bedtime.

Tempting as it is to head out with friends, I found that going alone — at least for the first time — works better.

Crowds of kids tend to run, which adds frenetic energy to the experience and amps up kids who need more time to process (or just want to look at the decorations).

Also, little kids aren’t steady on their feet, especially in costume. They’ll want help getting up and down porch stairs and steep walkways, and that’s easier when it’s just you and your kid.

Knocking on strangers’ doors to ask for candy pretty much goes against everything we teach our kids. Start with familiar faces.

Leave ’em wanting more.

Think about the candy consumption plan before you go trick-or-treating. Chances are your kid will never have seen that much candy. Best if everyone has the same expectation, whether that’s one-piece per day, or "choose your ten favorites and leave the rest for the Halloween Fairy."

In the end, remember that this is your child’s experience.

In Hedra’s wise words:

It takes time to learn the rituals, and getting into it will come naturally with age. Let the child determine what’s fun, and what’s not. Stay in the moment, and follow along rather than leading (or pushing from the back). That way you’ll all enjoy it, and next year, or a year or two thereafter, their memories will set up the excitement without any intervention from you.

* * * * *

Your turn: Any tips you’d add to this list? Please tell us about your toddler Halloween experiences in the comments.

Did you find this post helpful? Sign up for my free weekly newsletter and never miss another hack.

As a subscriber, you’ll get VIP access to exclusive content, subscriber-only giveaways, priority event invitations and occasional surprises via snail mail (because I like to give presents). Click here to subscribe now.