Halloween is my kids’ favorite holiday. I think it is mine too. Dressing up and trick or treating around NYC is something we look forward to all year long. But despite the cute costumes and free candy, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. No holiday, particularly one that involves a late night sugar crash, is immune to meltdowns and malfunctions.

Here are 11 things YOU KNOW will happen to parents on Halloween:

1) Even if you buy your kids costume months ahead of time, there will still be a last minute scramble for SOMETHING.

Mazzy decided she wanted to be the girl version of Robin Hood and we bought everything she needed for the costume. Then, the morning before the fall festival, Mazzy found out her friend was going as a unicorn and got jealous. Her solution was to turn her costume into a Unicorn Warrior which required the addition of a gold horn to complete her outfit. I spent the day running around to find one while she was at school. I was so excited to present it to her when she got home. MOMMY CAME THROUGH! I’M A HERO!!! But then Mazzy realized that she couldn’t have the horn and the hood of her costume on at once. The horn was left behind. My search for naught. I was just thankful I wasn’t one of the parents whose kid had a complete change of costume heart. That can happen too.

2) You got your kids to put on a clever costume but then realized— that’s only half the battle.

You’ve created the perfect costume for your kid. It’s clever and cute and culturally relevant. Your kid looks AWESOME and it will be the perfect way to show off who you are as a parent on Instagram. Look how cool and funny and adorable I am! Did I say I? I meant— my kid! There’s only one problem. Your kid refuses to stand still for a photo. Your creative ingenuity will not be memorialized for all eternity or available to show off to your friends. You will just have to accept your fate as a regular run of the mill parent.

3) You wonder if your kid’s costume can survive a solid week of Halloween.

It seems like the Halloween celebration period gets longer every year. Especially when it falls on a Wednesday. Your kid could have ten Halloween events wearing the same costume, that by the time actual Halloween comes around, that store bought piece of polyester is ripped and stained and a shell of it’s former self. And where did that second Minnie Mouse glove go? Is it gross to wear the same pair of tights AGAIN??? The only plus is that you are probably sick of taking pics of your kid in the same outfit and can just let everyone enjoy themselves minus the forced smiles.

4) Uh-oh. Someone fell asleep on the way to Halloween.

You’ve got one kid raring to go. He’s got his costume and his bucket and he’s pumped! This is going to be the best Halloween EVER!!!! But then his little brother falls asleep five minutes into trick or treating and really starts cramping his style. In order to preserve the fun, you or your spouse is going to have to sacrifice their fun and take that sleeping dinosaur/monkey/minion back home. OR— you can lift that sack of potatoes up and carry him for the rest of the night. Those kid costumes that involve decking out a wagon are starting to make a lot more sense now, am I right?

5) Did anyone check the weather???

Most parents forget to take the weather into consideration when planning their kids’ costumes and then they either have a toddler sweltering in a lion suit or freezing his ass off as surfer with a shark bite. Or a big kid who absolutely refuses to put on a coat because then no one can see his Teen Titans Go get-up. Oh crap. Is it raining?? Trick or treating in the rain SUUUUUCKS.

6) There’s always one candy that is the coveted candy of the night and the source of all the drama.

Last year, for us, it was Sour Patch Kids. For some reason, Mazzy kept getting Sour Patch Kids and Harlow would get something else. I think this is because Mazzy knew to seek them out in the bowl and Harlow was more of a trick or treating novice, just taking whatever she was handed. This escalated when Mazzy created the “I got Sour Patch Kids” song and dance and Harlow dissolved into a pile of snot and tears. I think at one point I had to hit up one of the houses on my own to make a return, like the house was Target or something and say, “I’m sorry. I know this is ridiculous but my child is sitting in a puddle of her own tears on the sidewalk. Do you mind if I just exchange this bite sized Snickers and take a bag of Sour Patch Kids instead? I think they are of equal value.”

7) Your kids will fight over who gets to ring the doorbell. Every. Single. Door.

8) You need to teach your kids how to grab the good stuff. 

Your kid will grab all the crappy candy like the dum dum lollipops and the brightly-colored Laffy Taffy, until you take matters into your own hands— “TAKE THE CHOCOLATE! COME ON!!! There are Butterfingers and Kit Kats in that bowl!” Sometimes you have to quit worrying “what the adults think” and reach your hand into the candy bowl to grab a Twix for YOURSELF.

9) Your kid encounters something that is actually spooky on Halloween and it scares the living crap out of them.

That was Harlow when we passed the entrance to Blood Manor, a haunted house in NYC. There was a man outside the door that looked like he was legitimately bleeding out the forehead from a hammer planted into his brain and then as soon as Harlow got over that, an evil clown jumped out and made her cry. You’ll try to make her feel better by saying things like, “It’s all fake and part of the fun of Halloween, Harlow!” When in reality, you almost jumped out of your skin too and will probably have nightmares for weeks.

10) Something gets ITCHY.

A costume piece will get too heavy. A wig will start falling off. A faux weapon will get lost. (This one is fresh in mind because Harlow flipped out at the fall festival when she thought she lost her Harley Quinn mallet.) These are the meltdown moments that Halloween is really all about. My philosophy is— if the crying can’t be stopped with the promise of MORE candy, then it’s time to go home.

11) You wonder if your kid will get a stomach ache or a cavity first. 

Speaking of candy, everyone has different rules for how much their kid can eat. Personally, I like to let my kids have as much as they want on Halloween but then everything gets confiscated at the end of the night. They go through their loot, I put it in two separate bags (one for Harlow and one for Mazzy) and the bags both get shoved high up in the cabinet for future distribution when it is deserved.

12) You make sure your kids brush their teeth like their lives depended on it.

No matter what candy rules you enforce or how much Sour Patch Kids they ate, it’s a safe bet that most kids have more sugar hanging out on their teeth than any other day of the year. That’s why I always do supervised brushing at the end of the night to make sure Mazzy and Harlow aren’t half-assing their oral hygiene on Halloween.

Harlow, in particular, has problems with her tooth enamel (it never came in) so we are very diligent with her tooth brushing all year round. We use Crest toothpaste (a longtime family favorite), then floss and use a mouthwash rinse. Although Mazzy brushes on her own, I still help Harlow to make sure she is thorough. We also have cut back a lot on her sugar intake (particularly candy with sugar granules right on the surface) and I’m happy to report that Harlow was cavity-free on her last dentist visit!

We don’t want to deny Harlow sweets entirely and she will be allowed to have candy on Halloween, but we have a much more serious understanding of how good oral hygiene can make a difference.

As long as she brushes well right after, she should be okay.

13) After your kids are safely in bed, you sneak over to their plastic pumpkins and wonder which pieces of candy you can take without them noticing for yourself. 

This is why you made sure your kids grabbed some Twix and Kit Kats along with all those pieces of Laffy Taffy. That’s what I always eat first!

This post was sponsored by Crest toothpaste. Check out this hilarious video from Crest about kids who were forced to have healthy Halloween snacks in place of candy.