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Your toddler is FINALLY ready to go trick-or-treating! Hooray! You’ve got the costume picked out, the stroller ready and it’s time to hit the sidewalks. Just one thing—it’s a little past your baby’s bedtime and you may experience a meltdown instead of trick-or-treating thrills.

Here’s how to have a successful first outing with your trick-or-treating toddler:

  1. Go early: Chances are, your tot is usually in bed by 7pm or 8pm every night. I know trick-or-treating is supposed to be done in the dark, but head out around 6pm and only plan on being out for an hour. It’s a lot for a little one to take in the first time around and one hour is plenty of time to experience trick-or-treating when you’re only one or two years old.
  2. Make sure your toddler is comfortable: Choose a costume that is weather-appropriate (warm for cooler climates, light-weight for hot climates) and easy for your child to move around in. Nothing is more frustrating to a kid than confining clothing!
  3. Bring snacks: What? But isn’t that what trick-or-treating is? Snack hunting? We all know the sugar high that comes along with Halloween, but for your baby’s first outing, it may be best to keep a stash of raisins, crackers or other familiar snacks on hand so he isn’t tempted to cram handfuls of chocolate in his mouth right before bed.
  4. Recognize the fear factor: Halloween can be scary! In fact, that’s kind of the point—spooky costumes, haunted houses, etc. But for a toddler, just the act of trick-or-treating can be a bit unnerving. Your child might not be too keen on strangers at the moment, so ringing their doorbells and begging for candy could be a recipe for a meltdown. Be mindful of your child’s mood and if she isn’t enjoying the process, she might not be ready for it.
  5. Be prepared: How does your tot usually travel? Stroller? Wagon? Push car? Tote them around in what they are used to. Tonight’s not the night to try something new. Also, have your diaper bag, trick or treat bag, flashlight, hand sanitizer and any other essentials on hand. Just like any other outing with a toddler, anything can happen! Have fun and good luck!