Tips for Surviving Halloween with Young Kids


This year Halloween falls on a school night, ugh. So, don’t hesitate to start the trick or treating early. Most kid-friendly neighborhoods expect some early visitors. Toddlers don’t need to be out for hours, so keep it simple. Easier for them and you!

Plan an early dinner in advance, so the kiddos have full tummies before they start eating candy.  You will want an easy dinner: takeout, leftovers, pizza.  Don’t cook dinner on Halloween! Putting on costumes, doing makeup, and getting out the door always takes longer with an excited toddler!  If your kids are used to eating much later, then have a heavy afternoon snack. You just don’t want them to fill up on candy. In fact, you may want to set a candy limit before you even start: “We have school tomorrow, so only __ pieces tonight. We can have more this weekend.”

If you want trick or treaters to still visit even after your little ones are down, leave your light on with a cute sign on the doorbell, such as, “Knock for candy. It will get pretty scary if you wake our sleeping kids…”

Stay local. Costumes don’t fit well in car seats. If you are going to drive to a special location, you may want to consider changing clothes or adding costume accessories in the car once you arrive. I once tried to put my first son in a car seat dressed like a shark… yeah, that was hilarious, with a screaming child and all.  Also remember toddlers can’t walk miles and miles, even older kids. You may want to bring a stroller or push toy to ride on.  Last year, we were all firemen, and I made our stroller into a firetruck.

If you are like me, you will take a ton of pictures. The kids in the house, next to the pumpkins outside, walking down the street, with their friends (look at those cute costumes…), a family shot, active trick or treating…you get the idea. But this year, I challenge you and myself to be more present. Yes, of course, I will get some pictures, but I will not, repeat after me, “I will NOT obsess over getting the perfect picture.”  Because with kids, there is no perfect picture and going in search of it will only leave you feeling disappointed.  Plus your partner and your kids will be annoyed.  This combination will not make for a Happy Halloween.

And finally, relax a little.  Your kids will be crazy on Halloween.  The parades at school, the excitement, the costumes, the sugar!!!  So, give yourself and your kids some grace. I’m not saying allow poor behavior, I am just saying it’s ok if your kids go a little nuts. No judgements here. Remember, the best treat will be a glass of wine for you at the end of the night. Your kids enjoyed Halloween; that’s all that matters! Great job, mama, great job!

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Kelly migrated to San Francisco in 2009 after living in Chicago, Florida, and growing up in Texas. She is happy now to call the Bay Area her home. She is a licensed Physician Assistant and previously worked in OBGYN and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. With the support of her husband and college sweetheart, Rob, she took a break from medicine to do something more creative! In addition to running San Francisco Moms Blog, Kelly is mommy to Mr. Gavin and Mr. Byron. She is happy to be the princess of the house! When she is not working or chasing her boys, she loves cooking, college football, and spending time and traveling with her family.


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