Tips for Getting Your Toddler to Enjoy Halloween

Posted by Shannon Serpette on 10/27/2017 to Parenting Tips

At first glance, it may seem like Halloween is a holiday made for children. There are costumes, thrills, late bedtimes and, of course, free candy. But for toddlers, Halloween can be a scary night – and the terror can overshadow the fun if you aren’t careful.

To make sure your child looks forward to Halloween each year instead of cowering under the blankets all night, follow these tips.

Find an Age-Appropriate Costume

Maybe you think a realistic zombie costume would be hilarious on your child, but it won’t be so funny when they get a glance of themselves in the mirror. Stick to kid-friendly costumes like scarecrows and superheroes.

Those age-appropriate costumes shouldn’t just be for your child though. If you’re dressing up, you should wear something that won’t cause your child to have nightmares. Toddlers are too young to understand much of what they’re seeing and if you look too scary, it’ll suck all the enjoyment out of the holiday.

Skip the Spooky Decorations

Toddlers love helping you decorate for holidays. They are great at scooping out pumpkin innards and putting fake cobwebs up. But that doesn’t mean they’re ready for terrifying decorations yet. Save those for when they are teenagers.

In the meantime, look for decorations they’ll like, like friendly-looking ghosts, witches, pumpkins and scarecrows.

Go Early for Trick-or-Treating

Most towns or cities have two or even three hours of trick-or-treating time on Halloween. That’s overkill for a toddler for many reasons.

  • It may make them too excitable to sleep. That’s a lot of stimulation for one night. Unless you’re prepared to give up your sleep on Halloween because you’re having to soothe your overtired toddler, you might just want to opt for one hour of trick-or-treating instead of the full two or three hours.
  • They don’t need that much candy. Will they want a candy sack that weighs three pounds? Of course, they will! They are kids after all. But, as the adult, you should put a time limit on their trick-or-treating fun.
  • Seeing all those scary costumes wandering around the sidewalks and streets in the pitch darkness may be too overwhelming. They won’t understand what’s happening, but they will know they’re scared.

Remind Your Child They Aren’t Alone

Everybody likes to have a wingman and children are no exception. Sometimes the best way to make them feel less anxious is to remind them that you’ll be right beside them the whole time. Even if their mommy is dressed up like a mummy.

Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at

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