Halloween can be a scary time for young children as well as a safety concern for those who care for them. If you choose to Trick or Treat with young children this year, here are some tips to make it fun and safe.
rick or Treat on Toddler Time.
- Give young children a healthy snack or meal before you head out so they won’t get cranky or repeatedly reach into the candy bag for a snack.
- Plan to go out during daylight hours and plot your route so you can keep the trip short. Most toddlers won’t last more than a few blocks and many are just as happy with a trip to familiar neighbors or a relative’s home.
Prepare Your Child for Surprises.
- Talk with young children about what to expect before you leave the house. Explain that they might hear sudden loud noises, doorbells that play scary music, or people that pop out to say “boo”. Make “scaring” each other into a game by playing “Peek-a boo” and inserting “boo”, a growl, witch laugh, etc.
- Let them know that other kids and adults may be wearing funny or scary looking masks. Find pictures of costumes and masks in books or magazines, or look at them in the store when no one is wearing them to help your young child see that they are not real.
Alternative Halloween Fun.
- Get together with other families with young children and pass out treats at an assisted living residence. The residents will love seeing the kids and the kids will probably enjoy passing out candy just as much as getting it!
- Check out your favorite library, neighborhood church, shopping mall, or other community organizations for family-friendly Halloween parties that often keep the focus on stories, games and non-scary fun.
- If your neighborhood typically has a lot of trick-or-treaters, young children may enjoy dressing up in costume and passing out candy more than going out. Take pictures of their favorite costumed characters to relive the fun when Halloween is over.
- Safety first! When you get home, throw out anything that is unwrapped, homemade by anyone you don’t know well, as well as anything that looks even vaguely suspicious. Also get rid of anything that can turn into a choking hazard like sticky, chewy or hard candies.
- Let your young child select 7-10 pieces of their favorites. Put the candy in a special place and make the Halloween fun last longer by enjoying one piece each day for the next week.
- Offer to swap the rest of the candy for a small toy, which researchers say young children are just as likely to choose as Halloween candy.
Source: babycenter.com, whattoexpect.com, and zerotothree.com