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A Toddler’s Halloween

standard October 6, 2008 10 responses

The days grow shorter and colder and all of a sudden pumpkins and ghouls pop up everywhere. People start to ask each other what they want to be for Halloween and start storing up bright bags filled with fun size candy bars. You and I know what it’s all about, we’ve done Halloween a few, OK fine, many times. But for toddlers who are already constantly trying to make heads or tails of the madness that is the grown-up world, Halloween is just a little more craziness that just makes no sense.

364 days a year they aren’t allowed to talk to strangers, but one night a year they get to speak to every grown-up they meet. Every other day they are absolutely not allowed to take candy from strangers, but one night a year they not only get to take candy, but they’re supposed to ask for it. And even stranger, one night a year, instead of getting tucked up safe and sound in their snug little beds, we dress them up in itchy uncomfortable costumes and we parade them out in the streets past their bed times to go collect candy that they probably won’t get to eat anyway.

Crazy much?

I learned my lesson two years ago. Halloween is not fun for a toddler who craves order and normalcy. We took C out trick-or-treating because we thought it would be fun and we paid the price for days. She refused to go to sleep on her own and had horrible nightmares that woke her up at all times of the night. The following year we were much more cautious and this year, even though all she talks about is dressing up and going out to trick-or-treat, we’re still going to be careful.

Little L is at the same age as C was when she had her terrible reaction, and frankly, I think C is all talk. When push comes to shove, or rather trick comes to treat, I don’t think she’s going to be as brave as she thinks and I don’t think I can relive the post-Halloween nightmare week. So we’re going to dress up our little chicken and tiny clown and before dark we’re going to go knock on a couple neighbor’s doors, then we’ll come home and wait for the ghouls, cats, witches, transformers, and all other little changelings to come out of the dark to ring the bell and sing out TRICK-OR-TREAT as they wait with eager faces for us to fill their smiling pumpkin buckets. After that, hopefully the world will change back to normal, or what passes for normal to a toddler at least.

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10 responses

  • Anonymous

    It’s un-American to rip Halloween. This is election season, one of the most patriotic times in the US, and I won’t stand for it!

  • I don’t think it is so much about being a kid that loves normalcy or order. LG is like that but LOVES Halloween. Maybe C just doesn’t like costumes, period.

    Her first two years we took LG out with our godchildren and just did a few houses on a quiet street. Last year we took her out during the day with her friends to Los Altos where you can trick or treat at the stores. We then did the whole trick or treat the street.

    the other thing, maybe, is that I LOVE Halloween! It is my fav so maybe I have helped her love it just as much.

  • How about trying a more toddler friendly day time halloween event?

  • My kids are mostly grown but I had the same issues with “traditional” holidays. What is traditional anyway? Make halloween YOUR tradition, not society’s in general. Dressing up can be fun. Let them choose what they want to do. My boys sometimes dressed up as a soccer player, in the soccer uniform they wore every Saturday. 🙂 Sometimes they went all out with gory blood and fangs. We only went to people we knew when they were small.

    I loved haunted houses when I was a kid but they weren’t like they are now. They were spooky. Now they seem to just want to give everyone an extreme shock. That’s not fun to me. I’m quite sure that most children don’t find it fun either.

  • Solution: Take toddlers or young preschoolers out just before it gets dark. Make a big deal out of costumes. Go to 2 or 3 houses, then call it a night. Younger children will think that they trick-or-treated and you can get back in time to dole out candy.

    I have found that my kids when young liked to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters rather than walking around. We live in a neighborhood where houses are spread apart…too much walking for little legs.

  • You know, I have really amazing, fun memories of Halloween when I was a kid. I really hope that happens for my kids…so far, so good. No nightmares and the candy weirdly “disappears” after they go to sleep Halloween night.

    I enjoyed your rant though. You are very funny.


  • Halloween is different than other holidays. It is different kind of fun and loved by kids.

  • Last year, A went trick or treating in my office. She went cube to cube in the afternoon. After that, we drove over to grandparents, cousins & a couple of friends to trick or treat at their homes & then went home to hand out candy. With gas prices being so high, we’ll probably stick closer to home & just visit a couple of friends nearby.

  • You make some good points here that I never thought about before. Sorry C had such a bad experience her first time around:(

  • When Jake was that age I had a little Halloween get together with his friends. They had some Halloween snacks, played with home made orange playdough and Halloween cookie cutters, watched “Franklin’s Halloween”, and dressed up.

    Then we did a bit of the trick or treat thing at our tiny mall to the stores where everyone knew him. 🙂

    Oh and the candy was left for the Great Pumpkin, who changed it into a TOY.

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