Trick or treating with a toddler can be tricky business, mainly because toddlers have no idea what the hell is going on. “Why is everybody dressed up in weird outfits?” “Why does everything taste so delicious?” “Why can’t I shove everything into my mouth at once?”

If it’s your first time taking a toddler door to door begging for candy, here are ten things you need to know.

1) Toddlers like to get candy and eat it on the spot. “Waiting till later” is a concept they will understand shortly after the Theory of Relativity.

2) Your toddler is probably too busy grabbing lollipops to notice that the best stuff lurks inside the gold Butterfinger foil and the orange Kit Kat wrapper. Sometimes you have to quit worrying “what the adults think” and reach your hand into the candy bowl to grab a Twix for YOURSELF.

3) If you are trick or treating with more than one todder, “Who Rings The Doorbell” is an integral and competitive part of the process. Be prepared to divert, distract and enforce the fine art of “taking turns”.

4) One out of every ten toddlers will go as “Child Of A Mom Who Didn’t Love Me Enough To Ignore My Massive Tantrum And Forced Me To Wear My Dinosaur Costume Anyway”.

5) The city beats the suburbs in many ways but trick or treating in an apartment building just feels WRONG WRONG WRONG.


6) Toddlers are an excellent way to check out your neighbors’ homes, since they are used to running through a door when it is opened for them. Make a huge show of calling your child back, knowing full well he/she won’t listen, and then act “embarrassed” and “apologetic” when you have to run inside to retrieve them. (So THAT’S what an eat-in kitchen looks like! Is that a Viking stove??)

7) There is no gentle way to yank a lollipop from a toddler’s hand.


8) A toddler’s first experience with candy can be a little disgusting. You must embrace the stickiness. Try not to gag when your kid reaches her chocolate saliva covered hand into someone else’s candy bowl. Or when you have to pull a lollipop out of your child’s hair while she continues to eat it. It’s confusing to have a Tootsie Roll stuck in your teeth for the first time. This understanding will help you when you have to reach your finger into the mouth of your tantruming two-year-old to dislodge that tootsie roll from his teeth.

9) Do not dress your child up as Elmo unless they are comfortable with the attention that comes from pop idol status. Note: Mazzy would like to apologize to the baby at the Children’s Library Halloween party. What must have seemed like a relentless attack was merely a prolonged show of affection.


9a) Dressing up a child as Elmo may seem like a great idea, but be prepared to explain the Elmo carcass in the days following. (Thank you to Farrah from The Three Under for submitting the picture below.)


10) Once your child knows about candy, there is no going back. I recommend letting them eat as much as they want on the night of Halloween and then telling them they won’t be getting any candy after that. Trying to get a toddler to understand a slow rationing over several weeks will break even the strongest parent. Plus, this way, you can hide the leftovers and eat them all yourself.



Upload your Halloween photos to the Mommy Shorts Facebook Fanpage. I’m be posting my favorites all week!