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?
Here are eight tips wise Parent Hacks readers have offered over the years:
1. Choose a warm, comfortable costume.
Steer your kid toward a costume that will help her stay warm, isn't itchy, and doesn't reduce her visibility or mobility.
2. Go out on a full stomach and an empty bladder.
Classic toddler tantrum prevention.
3. Trick-or-treat before sunset.
Everything will be less scary, fewer big kids will be stampeding through the neighborhood, and you can shoot for a normal bedtime.
4. Avoid a crowd.
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.
5. Visit familiar neighbors.
Knocking on strangers' doors to ask for candy pretty much goes against everything we teach our kids. Start with familiar faces.
6. Keep it short.
Leave 'em wanting more.
7. Have a plan for candy consumption.
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."
8. Let the child lead.
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.
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Your turn: Any tips you'd add to this list? Please tell us about your toddler Halloween experiences in the comments.
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