Burnt Toast Blog
Trick-or-Treating With Your Preschooler
by Carmen Scott
Category: Articles, Information & Tips on Parenting
Halloween is the season for mummies, goblins and witches; but these spooky creatures can be frightening to very young children. Preschoolers have incredible imaginations and many young children have a hard time separating the pretend world of Halloween and the real world. The first step in helping little ones understand Halloween, is to not over stimulate them with too many activities, sweets, or scary situations.
Prepare your preschooler for what they might see and hear on Halloween night. Let your child know that they will meet trick-or-treaters of all shapes and sizes, loud noises like fire crackers, scary music, folks wearing masks and costumes, and props that can "pop out" unexpectedly. Remind your young kids that Halloween is like a big game of dress-up.
Be matter-of-fact about your description of the Halloween festivities, so that they know what to expect; but not such much detail that you scare them into not wanting to join in the Halloween fun. If your child is still hesitate or anxious, make sure that you go trick-or-treating before sunset, and skip the houses that are really spooky.
Most costume that you purchase follow "some kind" of safety guidelines; but make sure your tot's costume is flame-resistant, not too long or too loose. Try to leave any props that come with the costume at home, since your child will be holding a loot bag in one hand and probably your hand in the other. Many costumes include a mask; however, you might want to leave the mask at home. Besides blocking vision, which can be dangerous, most masks don't fit properly and are uncomfortable for preschoolers to wear. Try using face paint as an alternative to a mask.
If you're going out trick-or-treating after it gets dark, remember that brightly-colored costumes are easier for cars to see in the dark. Also use reflective tape on the costume, loot bag and shoes. Glow sticks or glow jewellery are a fun way to add visibility to a costume.
On Halloween night, make sure that your preschooler has a healthy meal before heading out; limiting the chance of a meltdown, or be tempted to eat the treats from the "loot bag". Keep your child from getting too tired by going out early and keeping your trick-or-treating route to a few blocks.
Once you're home, do a candy check, and remove anything that is unwrapped, homemade by anyone you don't know, loose candies in a plastic bag, or any candy that can become a choking hazard. Then let your toddler select two or three treats to enjoy and round out the evening!
Have fun, be safe, and have a Spooktacular Halloween.