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 all at once?”
If it’s your first time taking a toddler door-to-door begging for candy, here are ten things I learned when I took Mazzy for the first time. I’ll be keeping them all in mind when I attempt to bring Harlow around this Friday night.
1) You may think your toddler has no idea what candy is and you are introducing them to the concept of caramel and chocolate for the first time, but you are mistaken. Knowing Skittles are tasty is instinctual. Knowing that chocolate exists underneath the silver foil of a Hershey Kiss is the same as knowing you want to suck your mother’s breast when you first exit the womb. Love of candy is something we are born with. What I’m saying is, you can’t fool toddlers into thinking they don’t want it— THEY WANT IT.
2) Toddlers like to get candy and eat it on the spot. Don’t waste time trying to get them to wait until you get home. “Waiting till later” is a concept toddlers will understand shortly after the Theory of Relativity.
3) Your toddler is probably too busy grabbing easy-to-reach lollipops and brightly-colored Laffy Taffy, to notice the best stuff (like Butterfingers and Kit Kats) are often buried at the bottom. Sometimes you have to quit worrying “what the adults think” and reach your hand into the candy bowl to grab a Twix for YOURSELF.
4) If you are trick or treating with more than one toddler, “Who Rings The Doorbell” is as important to the enjoyment of Halloween as what they are wearing. Be prepared to divert, distract and enforce the fine art of “taking turns”.
5) 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”.
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. Then, make sure to act genuinely “embarrassed” and “apologetic” when you have to run inside to retrieve your unruly child. (So THAT’S what an eat-in kitchen looks like! Is that a Viking stove??)
7) A toddler’s first experience with candy can be a little disgusting. 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 and then watch her continue to eat it. You must embrace the stickiness. Even if it is covered in hair.
8) Twenty minutes into trick or treating, when your two-year-old throws a massive tantrum in the middle of the street, kicking her dinosaur legs on the ground— instead of yelling, “WHAT? WHAT IS IT? YOU HAVE ALL THE CANDY YOU COULD POSSIBLY WANT!!!! I DON’T UNDERSTAND!!!”, try reaching your finger into her mouth and picking out the huge clump of Tootsie Roll lodged between her molars. Just a guess.
9) Do not dress your child up as Elmo unless he/she is comfortable with the attention that comes from pop idol status. My daughter once attacked a random child in an Elmo costume from behind. He started crying, she started screaming and Sesame Street was forever ruined.
10) Once your child knows about candy, there is no going back. I recommend letting your toddler 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!