Many thanks to Amy Webb of The Thoughtful Parent for this article on Halloween and toddlers. Our own memories of fun Halloween's past and our desire for our children to have a great time may keep us from seeing how scary Halloween might be for a toddler. Amy's suggestions can make for a very happy celebration for your entire family.
By Amy Webb
Fall also means fun holidays like Halloween. Most adults love Halloween and older kids too, however, it can be a little intimidating for toddlers. As adults, we often ramp up our expectations for cute costumes and picture-friendly moments that we will never forget. From a toddlers perspective, Halloween is odd--talking to strangers at houses, it's dark outside, and everyone is dressed up in weird (or scary) costumes. Here are a few ideas that will hopefully help make Halloween enjoyable and prevent some meltdowns from your toddler:
1. Explain the activities in advance. As much as you can explain to your toddler what's going to happen in advance if you are taking them trick-or-treating. Talk about that it might be dark outside, that people will be dressed up in costumes, etc.
2. Plan Halloween activities at a toddler-friendly time. Yes, we all love trick-or-treating, but if you wait until your toddler's bedtime to do it, it won't be much fun for anyone. It's okay to go out while it's still light outside or just go to a Halloween party instead. Many libraries host toddler-friendly Halloween parties during the daytime hours.
3. Don't stress over manners. We all want our kids to say "thank you" and "you're welcome" but in the midst of Halloween fun, might not be the best time to enforce those rules. It's great to encourage it, but if your toddler is overwhelmed by the situation, she probably won't remember her "please" and "thank you's."
4. Have low expectations. That super cute costume you bought a few weeks ago may not bring the same joy to your toddler that it does to you. When my son was 3, he wanted to dress up like Woody from Toy Story...until Halloween night. Then he refused to wear that costume and instead wanted to wear his Superman t-shirt with cape attached. I was disappointed but he never new the difference. He loved being Superman (with just a t-shirt) and all the neighbors thought he was adorable.