Ask The Mamas: Trick or Treating

Each week we will ask our mamas a question from our readers that pertains to babies, toddlers, or parenting. Make sure to check back each Tuesday to see their responses!

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MSW reader Colleen asks:

“How old was your child when they went trick or treating the first time? If you haven’t gone yet, what age do you think you will start?” 

Last year was Emma’s first Halloween and she was about ten months old at the time, so we didn’t take her out, we only dressed her up and went to my husband’s parents’ house to hand out candy. This year, we may take her to a few of the neighbors’ houses for trick-or-treat - just to say “Hi” and show off her costume, and then we’ll go back home and hand out candy. With her being 21 months this year, she’s still too young to understand, or eat any of the candy, and mama and daddy sure don’t need that temptation in the house either! ~Sam A.

My little guy is almost 3 and he kind of went trick-or-treating last year. We took him around to a couple houses on our street, but mostly just to show him off in his costume. He did not understand the concept at all! He’ll be going out trick or treating this year as well with some neighborhood kiddos his age, but I still don’t think he’ll really “get” it. ~Mary Ellen M. 

C was only almost two months old at her first Halloween. While we did not take her trick-or-treating, of course, we did dress her up (she was a princess ballerina!) and brought her with a friend’s older child to a Halloween event. At the event, there were games, photo opportunities, and of course, people passing out some candy. It was designed to be a safe place for younger children to have fun on Halloween. It was cute and I’d do something like that again with a newborn. I think an appropriate age would be three years, or somewhere close to three years. At that age, I think most kids can understand what’s happening and have fun with it! ~ Cassie W. 

P is two and I haven’t taken him yet. Last year he had just started walking, and he hated wearing a costume, so we just stayed home and handed out candy. I plan to take him this year if he cooperates. I let him eat a little candy here and there so I figure he’s at the age where he will be excited to get candy. Before kids are walking it seems like more trouble than its worth to take them but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. ~ Amanda C. 

Our son just turned four this October, and last year was his first time trick-or-treating. He was apprehensive, unsure about ringing doorbells. For the previous two Halloweens, he didn’t even know what candy was, and we wanted to keep it that way for as long as we could. This year, he thinks he totally gets this Halloween thing and he’s really looking forward to walking around our neighborhood in the costume he picked out. We are already expecting resistance on him not getting to eat more than one or two pieces of candy, so we will see how that goes. We also want to severely limit him eating candies that use food dyes, so we may strategically eliminate the candy we have no intention of letting him eat and saving the ones we’re okay with (mainly chocolate) for special occasions. If I don’t eat most of his candy first, I expect his stash to last for a while. ~Alex T.

For A’s first Halloween we just dressed her up and took her to visit grandparents, great grandparents and her godmother. We plan to do the same thing this year. Honestly, I am not sure when we will start trick-or-treating with her. ~Christy A. 

My older daughter was six and we were busy preparing for her trick-or-treating later in the day. I had no plans to include my 20-month-old daughter because I felt she was too young to trick-or-treat. However, Little Sister became INCREASINGLY fussy throughout the afternoon. Nothing would satisfy her. After several hours of her frustrations, I finally asked her if she wanted to go trick-or-treating also. She got so excited!! I had no costume planned, obviously, but I dressed her in one of her long nightgowns, tied a little bonnet on, drew long eyelashes above and below her eyes with an eyeliner and she ‘went’ as a baby doll. She had a blast all night long, when I didn’t even expect her to know what was going on! It was a lesson learned that even though she couldn’t speak words explaining what she wanted, she KNEW what she wanted! While she didn’t have any candy as her older sister did, several friends’ households gave her appropriate items for her age, so she even got some goodies to enjoy! So my suggestion to you is, don’t discount your child’s age when deciding the ‘correct’ age to trick-or-treat. Even the littlest ones understand more than we think they do. My ‘baby doll’ is 26 now and still enjoys Halloween. And I have wonderfully warm memories from her first experience with the holiday! ~Betty M. 

I plan on taking my 18-month old and six-week-old to a couple of neighbors’ homes in their costumes mostly just to say, “Hello!” I think my older son will have fun in his costume and we need a photo opportunity. ~Corey P.

I took my daughter when she was 9.5 months old, because my husband has siblings who are still young enough to trick-or-treat, and they really wanted her to go with them. My sister-in-law even made her costume for me to match theirs (they were a fireman and two dalmatian puppies). My in-laws know a lot of their neighbors pretty well and they love to see the kids come out every year, so it was a really special family memory for us. ~Christina D.

My daughter was 9 months old for her first Halloween and she wore a costume to a daytime parade but skipped trick-o-treating that year. So her first time was her second Halloween at 20 months. Last year, she was 3 months shy of her third birthday and our son was 10 months old and wore a costume and went around the neighborhood too, but primarily stayed in the Radio Flyer wagon while big sister hit up the neighbors for treats! ~Lori W.

My daughter will be 28 months this Halloween and it will be her first year out trick or treating. Her first two halloweens we dressed her up and brought her to my in laws for dinner. I didn’t see the point in taking her around by herself then. Plus, getting her to sleep on time was way too important to us. I am really looking forward to this year. We won’t be out for very long, but it will still be fun! ~Jessica S.

We took my son at 8 months. We only went to a few houses (his grandparents and a few neighbors that we knew would want to see him) and it wasnt really for the candy as much as it was for the experience for all of us as a family. He also went the following year and really loved it. This year we are dressing up our daughter who is 4 months and she will tag along with her brother so he can actually do the trick or treating. ~Melissa T.

The advice given here is solely based on our individual experiences and in no way is it going to be perfect for every mama, every baby, and every situation. None of us are medical doctors. If you have a question regarding a medical topic we can give our opinions, but please consult with your doctor. We are not liable or responsible for the results of following any specific advice in any given situation.

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