Toddler Trick or Treating: Lessons Learned

Call my crazy, but we took our 13-month old out trick or treating.  Seriously.  Yes, he had no idea what was going on, but man did we he have a good time!  As with all firsts, there were a couple things that didn’t go as planned, and some things I’m SOOO glad I did.

Get Supplies Early!  My wonderful mother had ordered candy for our trick or treaters last month thru a teacher magazine she gets (very cheap!).  As soon as I brought the candy home, I put them into bags and bowls.


Done and done.  That way, the night of Halloween, when I got home I didn’t have to juggle getting Avery in his costume while getting candy ready.  Plus, I was so thankful we had Avery’s costume early (a birthday gift – thanks, Phylis) because we didn’t have to run out and get a last minute costume.  Among the 7 (yes, a whopping 7!) houses we visited, was a friend of ours with a boy around Avery’s age and he had 1/2 his costume on, his arms in and the legs hanging – I was thinking she was in the middle of dressing him, but the Mom said she picked it up last minute and it ended up being too small!

Quick & Easy Decorations I think it’s so cool that we have a box of Halloween decorations in our basement.  It’s so ‘homey’.  We actually have enough decorations for one holiday that fills a box (thanks to my Mom, Aunt Candy, & MIL)

I decided not to use them ALL this year.  Being a busy family, I decided to make it quick and easy this year.  I took out the decorations last weekend and the night before Halloween I picked out some easy items that I could put out just before the trick or treaters come – 3 scarcrow dolls & 2 plastic pumpkins.  Then I lined the steps to the front stoop with candles.  And this was totally last minute because one of our porch lights were out so I was worried it would be too dark, so I went into our stash of yankee candles (yes, we have a stash – mostly wedding gifts) and used them to light the way to the front door.  Vinay thought it was hilarious.  I said, hey – I improvised, plus it smells good!  And what do you know, one of our last trick or treaters parents said “Your candles smell really good!”  That made my night – oh and taking the decorations down at the end of the night took Vinay 1 minute.  Much easier than trying to get fake spider webs and rotting pumpkins off our lawn weeks later…

Check your Town Rules Do you know that your town probably has ‘rules’ for Halloween?  I had no idea!  I thought it was a given that around dusk kids go to houses with lights on and if they say ‘trick or treat’ they get candy.  Au contraire – my coworker told me yesterday that his town had strict hours and that you had to turn your porch light off after a certain time.  So I went home and checked our town website.  It had  a list of hours for trick or treaters, and safety precautions to take – most are common sense, but it’s always great to have this available, especially when some towns changed Halloween because of Sandy.

Dress Warm In our neck of the woods who knows if it’ll be seventy or snowing on Halloween.  I’ve been trick or treating in the snow a few times as a kid.  So, to prevent having to cover a costume with a jacket, get costumes that are warm.  Avery’s costume was long-sleeved and long pants –


But I still put a long sleeve onesie underneath and he wore a jacket and hat when we went out – next year we’ll do something warmer so half his costume isn’t covered up.

Go Home Early Oh man did I ever hit traffic on my way home last night.  I left work at my normal time and traffic was so heavy – then I realized that it’s all parents trying to get home in time to trick or treat with their kiddos.  Avery and I were home by 4:30PM and had time to have a snack, put out our decorations, and get Avery’s costume on.  But Vinay didn’t get home until after we got our first trick or treaters because he was stuck in traffic.  This meant I was home with a raging skeleton I had to keep occupied…

IMG_2703 IMG_2694 IMG_2693 IMG_2705

We played with spoons, Daddy’s remote,…and a penguin..

He does make for a scary skeleton when he screams!

The Honor System is Dead.  While we were out trick or treating, I left a basket of candy on the front stoop with a note, “Please take 1 bag of Candy.  Happy Halloween.’  Call me a naive country girl, because my city husband warned me that kids would raid it – and they did!  We were at the house directly across the street and we saw two boys (maybe 12 years old?) taking more than their share of candy.  Step in my authoritative husband – and he kindly asked them to take only one and they did and quickly left.  I had another bowl of candy in the house for back up – so good thing, but man, I thought kids would really just take one!  When I was a kid I’d feel bad taking the last candy thinking that the kid behind me wouldn’t get anything – I guess kids these days aren’t as selfless.

Stay Close, but not too Close.  This was our first time ever taking anyone trick or treating, so it was really special for us as a family.  We left the house, Avery gripping his plastic pumpkin in one hand, my finger in the other, and Vinay shooting us with the video camera capturing the special night.  It must have taken us 10 minutes to walk to the first house!  Avery was good at holding onto his pumpkin and my hand, but he was really distracted!  Cars passing by, kids and parents everywhere – he was thrilled… and did a great job walking but stopped many, many times.  When we got to the first house I let him climb the steps and they opened the door to give him candy.  Some houses he grabbed at the candy. Others he was more interested in their glowing pumpkins.  When he did grab the candy, he would hold it up to them, like he does with a toy to share.  Soooo adorable!  I had to put the candy in his basket for him.  Then when it was time to leave, he didn’t want to leave their front door.  I had to pick him up and bring him back to the sidewalk to go to the next house.  I’m glad I let him walk most of the time to experience it (although he won’t remember it) but unless we wanted to be our for hours, I had to carry him a couple times!

Bend the Schedule.  When we got back home, it was already Avery’s bedtime.  I had given him a snack earlier to hold him over so we quickly gave him dinner, a bath, and put him to bed.  Man was he tired.  He fought us at bedtime, not really wanting his sippy cup of milk and just wanting to go to bed.  He cried for a few seconds, but then passed out.  When I looked at the clock, it was only 7:30 (half an hour past usually bedtime) and I’m glad we switched things up a bit with his schedule to allow us to go trick or treating.  It was well worth it!

Thoroughly Inspect the Candy.  After the trick or treaters were gone and we had dinner, we were both exhausted.  Long days at work and an exciting night at home made two couch potatoes last night!  When our plates were empty, we dumped Avery’s loot out on the table and had some for ‘desert’!


Avery did pretty well for only 7 houses!  And one of the big advantages of going trick or treating with your kid – you get to eat the candy!  I think I’ll let Avery try some this weekend, but I’m petrified of how he’ll be sugar high!?  He’s never had candy before…

Do you eat your kid’s Halloween candy?  Are we horrible parents for doing it?!  I bet my Dad took our candy when we were little…

Take a look back at Avery’s First Halloween last year.


10 thoughts on “Toddler Trick or Treating: Lessons Learned

  1. Last year, I watched as a boy ran up to our porch took our bowl and dumped the whole thing in his bag! I was mad as hell, but luckily it was 5 minutes until the end of trick or treating, but still! talk about being greedy and I think his parents were on the streets waiting for him…SERIOUSLY????

    • I hate when parents act this irresponsibly to their children. Being a teacher you can definitely tell which children get properly disciplined at home and which don’t. These parents were obviously the latter. And just think how he’ll act the rest of his life when not given consequences.

  2. Unfortunately, some children are just greedy when it comes to candy. Even living in Maine, some children take more than their fair share when the candy container is left out on the porch, etc… Vinay was right to politely step in and confront them. Also, twelve years old is way too old to still be trick or treating anyways!As parents you deserve to eat some of the candy. Since we’re too old to go trick or treating, we need to get our fun elsewhere. I’m looking forward to that when Greg and I have children as well. Really young children shouldn’t have much candy anyways, plus they don’t grasp the concept of Halloween anyways.

    • Hi Melissa – great to hear from you! I’m surprised the kids took candy in Maine – I thought it’d be more like VT was. And I agree – 12 year olds are too old to go trick or treating.. it’s for the little kids and they should all be accompanied by parents… even tho Mychelle pointed out that sometimes the parents are the problem…

    • Thanks for stopping by, Georgina. I love celebrating holidays with our little family of three. It makes for a special day after the many days in and out of work and getting household stuff done…

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