Last year was my son's first Halloween as a toddler. It wasn't his first Halloween, but it was the first he was old enough he could walk and wasn't just terrified of all the new people. The very first door we knocked on, he waited until they opened the door and then just strolled right on in. Granted the nice little old grandma who lived there though it hilariously cute and gave him extra candy as a result, but this is just one example of how toddlers in particular face different dangers while trick-or-treating on Halloween. This year, I have myself two toddlers to wrangle as his brother is now of walking, candy-craving age, so I'll be putting my own tips to the test. Let's review for me, and share for you, shall we?
Careful costume selection for toddlers:
Remember you'll be trudging around door to door when you dream up your child's costume. Many toddlers are less than graceful, which can lead to lots of trips and falls. Where I live at least, there is always snow and ice by Halloween. Make sure your costume choice accommodates good shoes. They should be appropriate for the weather -- in my case, winter boots with good traction -- and preferably without shoe laces. As a general toddler tip, until learning to tie shoes becomes a goal for you, stick to lace-less shoes. It leads to less falls for your toddler and less stopping to tie shoes for you. Your costume should also not hang much below mid-calf. Long, flowing costumes can easily pose a tripping hazard. My toddlers like to watch their feet when they go down staircases, as well.
On the costume note, watch out for dangly hanging strings, or pointy accessories. You know what your toddler's personality is by now, so use your best discretion. For example, I know my younger son would beat his brother if I gave him a plastic axe. Enough said.
Helping your toddler see and be seen:
Depending on what corner of our little earth you reign from, it could possibly be very dark when you're trick or treating. You can opt to go earlier in the day if you prefer, or take steps to make your toddler visible. The coolest option I've found yet is this flash light that changes colors. The top is a regular flashlight, but the handle rotates between five colors. I found mine at Fred Meyer, but I suspect they are sold elsewhere. My kids absolutely love them, they actually played with them all year long, and when they have them outside they're hard to miss. They come in large and small. You can also place reflective tape on both sides of your toddler's costume in case they get tired of carrying their flashlight. Though, the smaller flash light could easily be hooked to a costume to make it hands-free.
Becoming a candy inspector for your toddler:
Let's be honest, toddlers do not have the best impulse control; heck, most of them have no impulse control. I remember the second thing my son did on his first toddler Halloween was shove the candy he'd been given in his mouth. This can mean two things: regularly checking your toddler's candy and taking it away between houses. On the first count, be on the lookout for opened packages, or pieces that looked tampered with. Also avoid letting your child eat homemade treats unless you know the giver well.
Finally, just as a throwing-it-out there tip from the mom of an ultra-sensitive skin child, you may want to test any face paint you may use on your toddler on a small patch of skin before the big day. Have a happy Halloween.
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