12 Tips for Surviving Halloween with Toddlers

12 Tips for Surviving Halloween with Toddlers

We had such a great time last night for Halloween! Well, really, the last week we have had Halloween festivities, and the boys have thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially Tyler, since he is 3 he really is starting to understand everything and learning what is going on. Ryan was still a little unsure of everything, but he is sure about the candy he got!


About two months ago I started to think about what we would do for Halloween costumes this year. Tyler’s first Halloween he was Superman, his second we all were Incredibles. Last year, Ryan’s first year, Tyler was a firefighter and Ryan was a Dalmatian. This year, I asked Tyler what we should do and his immediate response was Ninja Turtles! So I asked him which color he wanted and he, of course, said he wants to be the red one because he has a night light that is Rafael. He said that I will be the purple one because it’s a mommy color, Justin blue because it’s a daddy color, and that left orange for Ryan. I didn’t know there are such things as mommy and daddy colors, but in his world there are!

Last Tuesday was the Halloween party at Tyler’s preschool, so we all four got our costumes on and went to that. Then Saturday was the Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat at his school, so we again all donned the Ninja Turtle look and went there. The boys had a blast at that, especially Tyler. There was a large inflatable slide and he and one of his classmates spent at least half an hour going up and down the slide!

Yesterday morning we went outside and decorated our front porch to get it ready for the trick or treaters we would have. No one was staying home, so we just set up a bowl outside. After dinner, we all got ready to go out and had a great night. Ryan couldn’t handle being out quite as late as Tyler, so I ended up bringing him home and putting him to bed after a while, but we all had a great time.

So here’s what I have learned about Halloween with a toddler:

Simple Costumes are Best

Toddlers often need to go potty. Right. Now. You don’t want a complicated costume that takes too long to get off and they don’t make it to the potty on time. This also applies to those still in diapers since you will have to take the entire costume off to do that diaper change. Then get the whole thing back on. And more pieces mean more that you have to coordinate and more that the toddler can get upset about.

Eat Dinner

We made sure to eat a good dinner before we went out trick or treating. I didn’t want anyone to get hungry while we were out, Ryan gets extremely hangry (no idea where he gets that from) and I didn’t want a meltdown over food. And a full stomach also meant they weren’t chowing down on candy quite as much. Don’t get me wrong, they still ate some candy, but it was more as something to keep them occupied rather than trying to fill their belly with candy.

Potty Breaks

It won’t always be convenient for all neighborhoods, but we planned our route with a stop at home halfway for a potty break/diaper change. Another option is to ask when you are at a trusted neighbors home if they can use the potty there. As already stated, most toddlers wait until last minute to tell you they need to go and you may not be close enough to home when that happens.

Explain How It Works

We took some time to explain to Tyler how trick or treating works. If we weren’t doing the trunk or treat at his school we would have done it yesterday. But we did reiterate common courtesy yesterday during the day and again as we headed out. We reminded Tyler to say “Trick or treat”, take only what they give you, and say “Thank you” afterwards. He did pretty good, other than when people would try to hand him candy he started saying, “No I want to pick my own!”

Avoid Any Scary Homes

There was one home in the neighborhood last year that had, in my opinion, some pretty neat decorations. But to a toddler, they were scary. Tyler screamed and ran away because of a fog machine. So this year, we didn’t go to that house. We did, however, go up to some neighbors who were dressed as Chewbacca and Boba Fett, thinking it was no big deal, but the masks scared the boys. They both screamed about it and Ryan was shaking. We had to take him back down the driveway, and once they took off their masks Tyler was ok. Ryan was scared of everything the rest of the night, though, and didn’t sleep well. So for the next couple years, we will be avoiding any houses that look too scary for the kids. It’s not worth the sleepless night.

Bring a Small Bag for the Kids

Our boys got a LOT of candy. We only went to about half of our neighborhood and it filled two of my biggest mixing bowls. But they didn’t carry all of that. They both had smaller bags that they used, and we brought a big one with us. When it got too heavy for them, we dumped it into our bag and kept going. When we stopped at home for our potty break we also emptied the bags to start fresh.

Bring Yourself a Good Drink

Most of the parents were walking around with a beer or some other kind of drink. Sometimes, you just need it. We had some rum runner in a tervis that we shared. It helped take the edge off the headache from all the kids running around and screaming. Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween and everything that comes with it. But a drink or two never hurts either! Oh, and we did bring a bottle of water for the boys as well.

Glow Stick Necklaces Help See Kids

Right as we were leaving, I got out some glow stick necklaces for all of us. Between those and Tyler’s light-up shoes, they helped to spot them pretty easily. There are many kids running around, and especially if your kid is in a costume that is really popular that year (think Elsa a couple years ago!), it helps you to keep track of them.

The Dark Can Be Scary

My boys go to bed at 7 every night. This means that many nights, they are in bed before it really gets dark outside. Which also means that they aren’t used to all the shadows and ‘scary’ things that come with the dark. We used a lot of scary spray that night. I think this is also part of why Ryan was so scared last night as well.

Go Early

With young kids, it seems better to go early. We left the house at about 6:15 last night to start heading around the neighborhood and there were already a few other families out as well. Again, my boys usually go to bed early so going out earlier meant they got to bed earlier. It also meant they were out with more of the younger kids out, so less scary costumes. The older kids usually are out a little later, and they don’t think about the younger kids (I don’t blame them, they have no reason to) so it’s just easier for us to go early.

Candy Will Be Eaten

I tried not to overload the kids with candy and sugar last night, but they did have a few pieces of candy. Ryan pitched a fit until he was able to have one of the lollipops that he got, but it kept him occupied for quite a while until it was gone. We limited how much they can eat (I know, mean parents), but that meant they have more that they can eat throughout the week. We also have been using the candy as incentive to be good during the day so they get a piece after dinner.

Bring Something to Carry/Push Your Toddler

When we stopped back for our potty break, we got Ryan in his little push car. He still walks slow, and he was getting worn out, but he is too heavy to carry the whole time. If we didn’t have a neighborhood set up in a way that it was easy to make a stop at home, we would have brought the push car or a stroller the whole time with us and had it when he needed it.

How was your Halloween? What have you learned from Trick or Treating with a toddler?


12 Tips for Surviving Halloween with Toddlers 12 Tips for Surviving Halloween with Toddlers

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