Reading time: 2.5 mins
Because sometimes the scariest part of Halloween is the thought of an over-tired, over-sugared, over-stimulated toddler-force meltdown… here are 4 simple ways of keeping keeping the hideous out of Halloween for both parents and toddlers.
No matter how adorable your baby or toddler looks in that dinosaur, pumpkin or princess costume, if it is uncomfortable, doesn’t fit properly, has irritating itchy bits, or the hat strap is too tight, then all hell will break loose. Guaranteed. Let your toddler choose the outfit and let them try it out beforehand to make sure that nothing pokes, tickles or sticks into him. Opt for non-toxic face paint, instead of a mask, make sure you can add a jersey or leggings if it gets chilly, that the costume is not too tight or heavy if it is warm, or even better, keep it simple with a glow-in-the-dark t-shirt (ok, ok yes, we are punting our Trick or Boo Tee, because they are really rather cute!). Most importantly, make sure that your toddler is wearing comfortable shoes: plastic, sparkly heels were just not made for stamping the streets!
Toddlers and young children are not yet able to tell the difference between fact and fiction, literally (a well-researched fact based on cognitive developmental ability), so the scary parts of Halloween can seem frighteningly real to your little one. Before you head out, talk through what to expect. Be candid, explain that there may well be lots of funny faces and masks, scary costumes, people yelling ‘Boo’ and scary music, but that it is all pretend and that he will be safe with you. Don’t insist that he face his fears, or ask him to be especially brave. As soon as you sense that he is afraid in anyway: turn around and head home…
…or if your child has a lower fear threshold, then just stay home and hand out the sweets to people who coming knocking — that’s just as much Halloween fun for toddlers (and probably heaps more fun for the grown ups too).
Go early in the evening, and keep it short. Most toddlers are satisfied with walking up the street knocking on a couple of pre-arranged doors, in fact most will be perfectly happy just popping into the neighbour’s, Grandma’s or Auntie Maggie’s house, grabbing a sweet and heading home. Going out while it is still light means that things are less scary, and means getting back home in time to calm them down properly before bedtime.
No toddler in the history of childhood has been any good at delaying gratification in the face of a bag full of sweets and a hungry tummy (neither are most adults!) - so decide beforehand how you are going to manage the sugarfest, and give them a healthy dinner before you knock on any doors. Allow them to eat a certain number of sweets on the night? Let them choose their favourite six and ditch the rest? Have one tonight, with one each night for a week? Swap the bulk of the sweets for a small, desired toy? Whatever you decide, make sure you explain the rules to your toddler beforehand, and then stick to it or you will end up with lots of tears, or a heavy does of ‘post-party-puke’.
With these 4 easy tips you will have your tantrum-free Halloween in the bag: been there, done that, got the t-shirt…(oh, go on…get the Tee shirt, you know you want to!).