Ah, Halloween. That festival of merriment. Kids in costume. Candy. Lots of candy. Pumpkin carving. Cobwebs and creepy decorations. If you're a parent of little ones, it's a whirlwind of sugar highs and the inevitable sugar lows. Oh those lows. So how do you tackle the seemingly never-ending Trick or Treat-a-thon and get everyone home at a reasonable hour and without complete meltdowns? We've got a few trick or treating tips for parents:
1. Group mentality
Pair up or gang up with some friends and their kids to walk the neighborhood together. Not only does this allow the kids to be with their friends, and you with yours (!), you can all set a designated route and end time so everyone is on the same page. And of course, it's more fun to travel in packs of ghosts and goblins anyway.
2. Set a course
Before you even leave your house, figure out which houses you plan to hit, or at least which streets. Make it clear to the kids that you are only going to those specific locations so there's no whining or disappointment when you have hit them all and it's time to go home.
3. Please sir, may I have some more?
This isn't Dickens, so you're not going to be cruel about letting your kids sample their wares as you Trick or Treat, but for the sake of their blood sugar - and your sanity - at least set some ground rules. Perhaps it's one piece every 5 houses or they can only have 5 total throughout the night. Whatever you decide, make them aware and stick to it!
4. Start early
While we realize that school, jobs and after school obligations might interfere with hitting the streets at 3pm, the earlier you start, the earlier you can end. Or you can start late and use that as an excuse to only be trick or treating for an hour! Whatever works best for your lifestyle and your family's schedule, try to make sure you get home at least an hour before bedtime so sugar highs can wear off and no one's bouncing off the walls.
5. Sort and stash
Half the fun of collecting all that candy is seeing what you've got at the end of the night. But there's no rule you need to sort it immediately. Decide ahead of time if you are going to review the contents of those plastic pumpkins when you get home or in the morning. If you promise the kids they can sort and trade that night, even MORE reason to end your trek early and come home. And it's the perfect excuse, too. If in the am, you may be able to dump some of the excess while they're sleeping. Or you can use this as a teaching tool to engage your kids in some charitable pursuits by setting aside some of the candy to send to Operation Gratitude.
What are your tips and tricks for a fun and safe Halloween? We'd love to hear them (and so would other House Party parents out there!)