Ways to Celebrate Halloween with your Toddler

Even if junior is too young to trick or treat, you can celebrate Halloween. The spooky holiday can be about dressing up and not-so-much about scaring your toddler. Below are some possible ways of enjoying Halloween with your little ghoul.

Dress up

Whatever you decide to do, you’ll probably want to dress your little one up. You can almost do no wrong! Junior will look cute no matter what.

In choosing a costume, you’ll want to consider a few things. By definition, your toddler is still learning to walk, so you’ll want to make sure the costume you choose doesn’t limit their movement in a dangerous way. Also consider that your toddler may still be working on toilet training so give yourself easy access for diaper changes and potty calls. Choose a costume that is easy to get on and off and that doesn’t require too many pieces especially masks. Keep your expectations low. Junior may refuse to wear the cute Zorro mask or the Cat in the Hat hat.

You can go a few ways with your costume’s theme. Of course, you can choose something that represents mommy and daddy’s interest. Hello Darth Vader, Jr.! If your little one is old enough to have a favorite show, toy, or book, you may consider choosing a costume that represents his or her interests. Imagine how tickled your toddler will be if he looks in the mirror and sees Mickey staring back at him! Another way to go is to choose a family theme. You can all go as the Three Musketeers or the Three Stooges.

You can get a costume almost anywhere that sells kids toys or clothes. Look out for sales! You can make your own costume of course. Search online for ideas. If you’re not a big crafter, keep it simple. Use a pair of brown fleece pants with a yarn tail and a brown hoodie with cloth ears as a monkey costume. After Halloween, you can still use the sweater and the pants with or without the tail! Another way to save money is to participate in a costume swap. There are a few official ones like the one at the Halloween Harvest Festival at Socrates Sculpture Park on October 22. You can also set up your own by reaching out to moms in your neighborhood.

Trick or Treating

Traditionally, kids participate in trick or treating on Halloween. You can choose to go to houses or stores in your neighborhood. Be warned, trick or treating may be scary for wee little ones. Imagine what it might feel like to walk down the street and see Bug Bunny, a zombie, and a giant cat walking together. Little guys won’t necessarily realize that this is just pretend. To prevent this sort of terrifying situation, hand-pick your Halloween stops. You may want to visit with grandparents or other family at an earlier time. They’ll be delighted!

Alternatively, you can keep junior home as your Halloween helper. He or she can help you distribute candy. You’ll want to check who’s at the door before opening, in case there are any scary costumes.

Too much candy is bad for toddler bellies. If you choose to go trick or treating, stop trick or treating once you’ve gotten enough candy for your ghoul. At the same time, you may realize that junior may be your key to many sweet candy treasures. If you want to look at it that way, separate a toddler-sized portion of the booty for junior and keep the rest in a secret stash for yourself. Some dentist offices will allow you to trade in candy for money or other goodies. Or you can arrange a visit from the Halloween fairy, who takes leftover candy and leaves money or other treats in its place. You can also send it off in care packages to soldiers, for example. You can also keep a stash of candies for future treats, adding to baked goods, or baby’s next birthday party.

Halloween Party

If trick or treating is not right for the little guy, you may want to arrange for your own event. Plan your guest list carefully. Keep it to kids around your tyke’s age. Sure, you can have some candy but you can control the amount. Also, plan crafts and games with a Halloween theme.  You can even end your party with a parade on your house or around your block. Check out our suggestions for Hosting a Halloween Party for your Kids.

Toddler Friendly Events

Keep an eye out for local events that are kid-friendly. See our list of Queens events here. For example, all NYC zoos have activities, as do museums. Check with your local library and church.

Create your own traditions

Make a date with junior this year that you can replicate for years in the future.  Choose a book with a monster or ghost theme you can read every year. Watch a certain not-so-scary movie. Spend time together doing Halloween-themed crafts to distribute to grandparents. Make a big deal of choosing and carving a pumpkin. Or share a Halloween basket for your little ghoul, filled with non-candy treats. At the very least, take an annual Halloween photo.

Whatever you do, have fun! You will cherish these memories. Take many many pictures. Be sure to take them early, before the meltdown or the chocolate stain.


Sandy Jimenez