A Newbie Parent Survival Guide to Halloween and Trick-or-Treating - Trick-or-Treat

A Newbie Parent Survival Guide to Halloween and Trick-or-Treating - Trick-or-Treat
From The Kitchn - October 13, 2017

So, you are a parent now. And you ca not remember the last time you trick-or-treated. It's lost in the fog of pre-high school memories, with some dim glorious idea of romping around your suburb after dark. But you have a toddler or a grade schooler, ready to trick-or-treat for the first time, and suddenly Halloween means something again. Where to start?

Here are seven tips I have picked up over the years for keeping my kids happy, safe, and well-costumed. You are the parent nowdo not mess this up.

My kids are decidedly older (14 and 10) but I will never forget those first few Halloweens we went trick-or-treating. When my older son Henry was 3, we made him a robot costume: a Crate and Barrel box wrapped in aluminum foil, with a foil-covered bowl on his head. I imagined a bespoke old-timely robot, but the reality was less Etsy and more oops: The box was too heavy to walk in; the hole so large it kept slipping down and tripping him up.

So we ditched the box and Henry became that kid with the mixing bowl on his head. He was happy (candy does that to a child) and we learned a lesson: It's best to leave costume-making to professionals and actually crafty parents.

I have learned a few other things over the years. Here's what you need to know to make a night with small children, long flowing costumes, poor visibility, candles, and candy as safe and stress-free as possible.

1. Order pizza (and do it early).

You know how it's a bad idea to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? It's also a bad idea to go candy collecting on an empty stomach. If your child is starving, you are sure to lose the battles over not eating the sweets until you get home. A pregame pizza party is a super-fun way to ensure kids are not famished.

Every year, my neighbors and I meet up at one house for slices (for the kids) and wine in red plastic cups (for the parents). I probably should not be writing about this, but let me tell you, a splash of Pinot Noir sure takes the edge off of following your kids from house to house. To house. To house.

2. Do not burn through cash on costumes.

Twice I have bought my kids two sets of costumes. I want that money back. I got 4-month-old Henry a blue fuzzy monster onesie that was just the most precious thingand the most poorly made thing. It immediately starting shedding big clumps of metallic blue fibers (just what you want next to your infant's mouth). I replaced it with a sensible peapod. Total money blown? $125 on costumes for a child too young to trick-or-treat!

Then, when Gus was not yet 2, my husband came home with a vampire suit for him. It was uber-cheesy, with a cheap red cape and fabric so polyester a warm breeze would have ignited it. I rush-ordered an Elmo. And would not you know, Gus spiked a fever on Halloween and never wore either look.

3. Have a dry run.

4. Be seen.

5. Have a no-candy-until-home rule.

6. Buy candy that does not rock your world.

7. Do good and save their teeth.


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