Halloween with A Toddler: Fiction vs Fact
October 28, 2015 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Halloween with A Toddler: Fiction vs Fact. "You should know that if you consume your child's Halloween stash, they have technically worked for you as an independent contractor and therefore need to be given payment/W-9 or you are committing tax fraud."
posted by odinsdream (77 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
After some comforting, toddler agrees to wear the costume in exchange for all of your energy.

I laughed. Then I cried.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 1:21 PM on October 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


Halloween with Teenager: your teenager makes a surprisingly elaborate costume that maybe shows actual attention to detail and/or skill yet somehow their last English assignment was handed in two days late. They head out to watch a movie at a friend's house and you hand out candy, alone, enjoying the quiet and small children while fighting off waves of nausea as college applications are due in a few days and this is probably the last bit of uninhibited happiness your child will ever know. No costume seems as scary as the end of the middle class and you wonder if that kid dressed as a gladiator know how the Romans felt as they watched their civilization dissolve and their children open the door to the dark ages.

You also eat most of the candy.

Fin.
posted by GuyZero at 1:28 PM on October 28, 2015 [127 favorites]


Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening? See also: Pumpkin patches, Disney World, Santa photos.
posted by bleep at 1:30 PM on October 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening? See also: Pumpkin patches, Disney World, Santa photos

The purpose is to bring joy (eventual joy, not immediate) to the parent. After all we go through, give us this one thing. JUST THIS ONE THING MY GOD.
posted by cooker girl at 1:32 PM on October 28, 2015 [58 favorites]


My mother had a genius solution to the potential lapse in saying "thank you". She made me my costume for my first trick-or-treat, and then saved it for my brother to wear later; it was a cute little owl costume, all covered with meticulously cut-out paper feathers. (Mom was a fine art student and taught art in a local junior high before I was born, so she was always sorta crafty.)

But on the back of the costume, she picked a prominently-placed paper feather and wrote the words "thank you!" on it in big letters because she knew that I most likely was going to occasionally forget to verbalize that myself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:34 PM on October 28, 2015 [18 favorites]


Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening? See also: Pumpkin patches

I don't know how tiny we're talking about, but our trip to the pumpkin patch resulted in such raw, unbridled joy on our 2 year old's part that she peed herself out of sheer excitement. Despite the clean up, it was worth it.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:36 PM on October 28, 2015 [52 favorites]


This is more like Halloween With a Preschooler. Or maybe I'm just being pedantic. At the age of 2 my kid had no idea what Halloween was (we took him to a few houses anyway, dressed as Daniel Tiger). Now at 3 he kiiiind of gets it but his concept of time is such that he won't know that Today Is The Day until it's, like, happening. I suspect next year at 4 will be full on Halloween Mania.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:38 PM on October 28, 2015


When my son was 3 or so, he wanted to be a bumblebee for Halloween. Being the Good Mother that I thought I was (and being somewhat crafty), I got a pattern and started to get to work.

Unfortunately, a few days before Halloween, I got the flu bad. (Really bad. I was out of work for two weeks.) But I wanted to finish the costume, so feverish and miserable, I finished the costume for him.

And he HATED it.

Every picture we have of him in it, he's fighting off tears.

(We still give him good-natured grief about it eleven years later.)
posted by Lucinda at 1:41 PM on October 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


When my daughter was 4 or 5 she was out trick or treating, tripped over her costume and the next day couldn't stand having her arm touched... and had a greenstick forearm fracture. So keep those costumes above ankle level people.
posted by GuyZero at 1:44 PM on October 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening? See also: Pumpkin patches, Disney World, Santa photos.

Our 2.5 year old loves dressing up and he loves looking at all the frontyard decorations - the spookier the better. Of course, my wife and I still eat all the candy... dunno, seems like a win-win to me!
posted by piyushnz at 1:44 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


When my daughter was a bit under 2 I took her trick or treating. She kind of got the concept and was able to say trick or treat and thank you. We had explained the concept to her earlier so she kind of knew what to expect. We only went to 10 houses tops though, which was fine because she wouldn't be the one eating the candy anyway. It was more for us then her but I think from here on in it'll be the other way around.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:53 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening?

How else are we supposed to get free candy?
posted by drezdn at 1:53 PM on October 28, 2015 [17 favorites]


Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening?

WHY DOES THE HOOMAN ASK SILLY QUESTION?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:55 PM on October 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I took my daughter out last year when she was just under 2 and she LOVED it. Is there a need to do it? I suppose not. But it's a fun thing for them that doesn't cost a whole lot. A 2-year-old doesn't need to know what's going on for this. They get to wear a costume and there's candy and they get to collect things in a bucket. Mine would go for any single one of these concepts at any time.

She also really loves pumpkins. We took her to a pumpkin patch last year and in one area they had some pumpkins on display on and around a haystack. She ran around to each side, and her face lit up and she yelled "PUMPKINS!". Same for the next side. By the time she got to the 4th I'm pretty sure she forgot what a square was because she just kept going around, mind blown by ...pumpkins, apparently, like she hadn't just been there.
posted by Hoopo at 2:04 PM on October 28, 2015 [22 favorites]


Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening?

If the kid is little enough you can stick it in a lobster costume and carry it around the neighborhood in a big pot. Older children can be dressed as butter sauce. It's funny, because it suggests you might cook and eat your child, which you are not actually likely to do unless it has been an especially trying Halloween.
posted by The Bellman at 2:04 PM on October 28, 2015 [66 favorites]


I'm really hoping our new neighborhood has trick or treaters, as our last one was in a desolate subdivision on the prairie so we had to drive the kid to his cousin's neighborhood so he could go door to door. It was a popular one, a total zoo.

He's turning 10 and is a gargoyle this year. Last year he was a zombie and I learned that kids are little shits when you're trying to put zombie makeup on them that they specifically asked you to get for them. This year is a mask, if he wants makeup, he's on his own.
posted by emjaybee at 2:07 PM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening?

Peer pressure is real. When I see my friends and family and acquaintances all showing pictures of their kids in costumes and taking them trick-or-treating, do I really want to be THE PARENT THAT DOESN'T TAKE THEIR KID TRICK-OR-TREATING? You can make all kinds of logical arguments and I wish I were the type to just say, "Fuck it. He doesn't know what's going on. He'll figure it out in a few years." But I'm not. Especially not when I have the self-imposed GUILT of trying to make sure my one and only spawn will have ALL of the checkboxes checked when being audited for "good childhood". And, I mean, I got him in a costume the last two years. How bad will it look if I break the tradition? "Here, kiddo. You in a costume when you were a baby, when you were 1, uh, when you were 3, when you were 4..." "Where's the picture from when I was two?" "Oh, I just said FUCK IT and decided to deny your FSM-given rights to a capitalistic candy-filled childhood."

Are you saying I could just say "no"? That when we are already fighting to the pain just to get him to wear pants (nevermind it is getting cold out and all coats and hats are declared YUCKY), I don't have to go through the fight to get him into a costume he cares nothing for?

That's, like, not possible, right? I can't possibly just skip out this year, right?
(not even sarcastic, here, people!)
posted by jillithd at 2:12 PM on October 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


My favourite part was
"...after the maid cleans up from breakfast..."
posted by Omnomnom at 2:14 PM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Your child has somehow instantaneously memorized every single piece of candy in her bag by both kind and number, and even though it takes weeks to portion out the entire stash, she wails like a banshee every time she discovers you've eaten one.
posted by gottabefunky at 2:16 PM on October 28, 2015 [15 favorites]


I mean ok a lot of people are glomming onto my comment but obviously I'm not asking why people do fun things that they find fun. I'm asking why people put themselves through the kind of misery described in the link. A 4 year old is not going to remember this; the only outcome is your own stress.
posted by bleep at 2:18 PM on October 28, 2015


Actually, my favourite favourite part was the impromptu crisp picnic on the neighbour's lawn.

All the kids in our apartment building go trick or treating in the building. So about six doors, followed by a neighbourhood party at one of the kids' apartment.
I love this house!
Older Kid (4) is Tinkerbell this year, following a bat costume and a super homemade dinosaur costume the past years. Younger Kid (2) will probably refuse to wear the bat costume I have lovingly kept for her but might settle for her sister's pink fairy tutu instead.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:21 PM on October 28, 2015


Bleep, I think it's like the question "why do people have kids if all they do is throw up, poop and wail". And that's certainly true, but having kids is also awesome fun. Like Halloween.
And sometimes the horrible parts are the most funny in retrospect.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:26 PM on October 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


We trick-or-treated with the babies because all the neighbors want to see your baby. It's a community-building exercise where you see neighbors you don't see that often and admire how much each others' kids have grown. For the first few years we just went up and down our own block with the kids, where we know everyone, right at the start of trick-or-treat hours, just to chat with the neighbors and show off the kids before settling in to hand out candy all evening. Last year we let my older son (5 at the time) go onward for as long as he wanted to, which turned out to be just a couple blocks. This year they'll both be allowed to "go trick or treating" to strangers' houses if they want to, but first we'll mosey up and down the block as a family right at 5 to say hi to all the neighbors (and practice our good trick-or-treating etiquette with people who they aren't so shy of). Then I'll hand out candy and my husband will take the kids to DISTANT BLOCKS if they are so inclined.

But yeah, in a neighborhood, the point of taking out your babies and toddlers to "trick or treat" is that it reinforces neighborhood bonds. Plus you can force them to wear group costumes when they're tiny. One year my older son wanted to be a cop, so I dressed the baby as a robber, and made the cop-child push the baby around in a police car cozy coupe.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:35 PM on October 28, 2015 [49 favorites]


Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening?

You do not understand. Baby Halloweens are prime candy-getting years for the parents. Baby costumes are easy to come by! Cat ears! Baby pirate! Get them at garage sales! Whatever! Then shove the cute baby in the neighbors' faces for candy, which you get to keep because Baby has no memory of anything that happened more than 3 hours ago.

This year Baby Stomper is 4, he's going as Rainbow Dash and he's clearly comprehended the signficance of the occasion, which means we're going to have to negotiate terms (percentages of the take) for the first time. I embrace all the seasons of parenthood.
posted by daisystomper at 2:38 PM on October 28, 2015 [19 favorites]


Free candy? Psh. The candy my toddler gets on Halloween is small time compared to the candy I get for 50%-75% off at the pharmacy the next day. She gets to what, 25 houses, max, before she's getting tired. It's those tiny toddler legs, they're not built for long candy missions. I can get a bag of 50 tiny chocolate bars for like $5 on November 1. I would need half a dozen toddlers and probably 2 hours to pull that off trick-or-treating, because you have to assume a good portion of the houses are giving away that weird Halloween molasses taffy, lollipops, or Hershey kisses (that's always the last stuff eaten for a reason). That's not a candy-efficient use of time!

Taking the toddlers out is all about the cute. Like Christmas--I don't give a shit about the gifts. I kinda hate the whole over-the-top crass commercialism of it. It's about the kid creeping out of her room in those jammies with feet on them, eyes wide open in disbelief when she sees all the boxes under the tree in a room lit up by colored lights.
posted by Hoopo at 2:59 PM on October 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


This sure sounds plausible. 19-month babyozzy has a bee costume, but we aren't going trick or treating, although her favorite things right now are climbing steps, putting things in bags, and telling you that ghosts say boo. Next year maybe.

We have to over buy candy anyhow; we got like 5 kids last year, but we live on a pretty main road, so we could get a hundred or more. Which means I get to eat the leftovers (and that none of the neighborhood kids gets a Twix).
posted by uncleozzy at 3:30 PM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm asking why people put themselves through the kind of misery described in the link.

Because the misery described in the link is pretty much hyperbole or it's something the author's choosing to focus on because ha, ha comedy.

Writing a piece all, "IDK, having kids around Halloween is awesome because you can put your suggestible toddler in a lion costume, cram a hanger in your husband's shirt and put on a pointy hat, then tell everyone you're The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" doesn't get the same traction than a piece that manages to flatter the reader into thinking, "I'm doing better than that" or "Yeah, that's about my level."
posted by sobell at 3:32 PM on October 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm asking why people put themselves through the kind of misery described in the link. A 4 year old is not going to remember this; the only outcome is your own stress.

The link, of course, exaggerates for effect. I love taking my kids trick-or-treating, even if it is a somewhat draining and tiring experience, because it is also fun. The kids are excited, and at about age 4ish, something in them clicks and they get it - they get that for this one night, we get to dress up and go knock on our neighbour's doors and get candy. It is a neat moment to see.

Anyways, to bring another reason why it is important to me is the Halloween after my oldest turned five about a month earlier. He was very excited about Halloween and we had his costume all picked out and ready and he had been talking about it the whole week. The day before Halloween he got sick. Like, from completely healthy bouncing off the walls normal to a lethargic mess in the space of half an hour. So we did all the tricks to try to get him well enough the next day so he could trick or treat, but he just kept getting worse. By the time evening was rolling in and trick or treating was starting, I was sitting on his bed, rocking him in my lap, while he clutched his costume and cried because he was way too sick to go outside. The next day, he was hospitalized for pneumonia.

I know there are more heartbreaking moments in parenting (the hospital story is its own version of one), but sitting with your crying kid in your lap because he's just so sick you can't possibly take him trick or treating is a pretty tough one. And that's a very personal reason why I now take him and his brother out every Halloween to do as much trick or treating as they can. It's a pretty narrow window in a kids life where this is acceptable, and I want to make sure they (and I) have a ton of positive memories to make up for that one fucked up Halloween.

And on a completely unrelated note, I was at an event today at the local police headquarters and someone's child - probably somewhere between 3 and 4 - was there, in a beautiful princess dress and an Iron Man mask. She came up to everyone she could catch in the hallway and gave us candy. It was fucking awesome and justifies Halloween for toddlers on its own merits.
posted by nubs at 3:47 PM on October 28, 2015 [32 favorites]


Heh, my sister's old neighborhood did it right. At each house of course there was the bowl of candy for the kids, and everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing over the costumes.

And out near the front door of each house was the cooler of beer for the parents, and most houses had pizza or snacks somewhere. It took like 4 hours to get through like 30 houses. By the end of the night the kids had all mingled together and were watching DVDs at somebody's house. The parents would still be trick or treating well after the official time was over.
posted by disclaimer at 3:52 PM on October 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


Way to be a drag, GuyZero. Next you'll be telling us to make our witch costumes with white reflective tape and cardboard brooms (yes, I was recently Safety Witch for Halloween).

jk of course - hope kidzero's arm is okay!
posted by queensissy at 3:53 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


kidzero's arm was... man, a decade ago now? It's kind of family lore at this point. And man, there is no stink like the cast on the arm of a kindergartener. But yeah basically anything can happen with little kids on halloween and it's generally not what you expect.

This year the same kid made her own vampire teeth with thermoplastic and casting her own teeth. Kids these days and their hollywood prop techniques.
posted by GuyZero at 4:05 PM on October 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


I live in a Halloween destination neighborhood where kids are driven in from all over to get their trick or treat on.

Which makes me happy because aside from my 'hood, it's "trunk or treat" events as far as the eye can see - put on by churches that don't want their kids exposed to razor blades, poisons, pedophiles or neighbors that attend different (or no!) churches.

I really think the "trunk or treat" phenomenon is an indicator of a huge societal problem - and that as a result, the next generation will be even *more* fearful of anyone who's not exactly like them. [/debbiedowner]
posted by headnsouth at 4:46 PM on October 28, 2015 [13 favorites]


hanov3r v2 is about to turn 5. He does not like candy. Not one bit. Won't eat candy*, cookies, cake, ice cream.

He *LOVES* him some Halloween, and has since he was about 2. He loves costumes, he loves the decorations (ask him about his skeleton animal collection!). When he was 3, he told us he did not want to go trick-or-treating, but he did want to help hand out candy. And, every time the doorbell rang, he'd throw the door open and say "Oh, I love your costume!".

It was totes adorbz.

* Well, he does love lollipops
posted by hanov3r at 4:53 PM on October 28, 2015 [17 favorites]


Adults love Halloween because it's the only time of year when they can pretend all that chocolate they're buying is for other people.

Er, ah, yes. There has been a downside to buying the candy a couple of weeks in advance, which is that, by some strange magic, it keeps relocating itself to my tongue. Fortunately, people bring their kids from villages around to trick-or-treat in my housing tract (rural area, so lots of people with no near neighbors), so my twelve large bags of candy should vanish quickly.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:05 PM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


4 year olds aren't toddlers, for one.

For two, 4 year olds definitely understand Halloween (see also: not toddlers). My son just turned 4 and he is completely aware of everything about Halloween (but not like the kid in this piece because again, 4-year-olds aren't toddlers.)

Also you have to realize that toddlers are terrible anyway; putting them in a costume and going out is at least a different kind of terrible, which is more interesting than the regular terrible.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:13 PM on October 28, 2015 [14 favorites]


He *LOVES* him some Halloween, and has since he was about 2. He loves costumes, he loves the decorations (ask him about his skeleton animal collection!). When he was 3, he told us he did not want to go trick-or-treating, but he did want to help hand out candy. And, every time the doorbell rang, he'd throw the door open and say "Oh, I love your costume!".

Aww. That is truly adorable.

Which also reminded me of this: not toddlers, but still awesome and worth linking to just one more time.
posted by maudlin at 5:15 PM on October 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


And out near the front door of each house was the cooler if beer for the parents

In my street growing up, all our parents usually carried out a division of labor. One parent would man the house handing out candy while the other would be on Kid Escort duty; sometimes with the parents of kids who were friends joining forces in a roving pack.

It was also understood among the fathers on the block that the fathers who were handing out candy would discreetly have shots available for the fathers on escort duty. my father got quite merry some halloweens.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:17 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


SO gGLAD MAUDLIN LINKED TO THAT STORY, I was just about to look for it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:18 PM on October 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


The first year I took my daughter trick or treating, she was barely 2. The next day, she came up to me and said "Coat on."

Figuring she wanted to go for a walk, I went and fetched her coat, but she said "No. Other coat. Poodle coat."

Ah, I see! Her halloween costume had been a sort of all-in-one pink poodle thing, with a hood with poodle ears on it. Apparently the hood made it a coat. OK, that's adorable, she wants to keep wearing the costume, good show. I got the costume, and together we wrestled her into it. Then she promptly ran into her room. I was just in the process of thinking "what the hell?" when she emerged clutching her pumpkin bucket, which we had emptied all of her Halloween candy out of the night before to prevent sugar overload.

"OK!" she said. "Let's go!"

So let me assure you, when it involves free candy? 2 year olds can ABSOLUTELY figure out where they are and what they're doing.
posted by KathrynT at 5:19 PM on October 28, 2015 [30 favorites]


I have a lump in my throat from reading your comments. My daughter is 22 so Halloween was a long time ago, but boy are they great memories. In my heart she will always be a two year old fairy princess waving her wand and twirling around in her tutu.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:41 PM on October 28, 2015 [12 favorites]




My son decided last year that at the age of 12 he was too mature for trick-or-treating. I was sad for a few minutes until he told me what he was planning to do instead: He set up an electronic keyboard and amplifier in our entryway and played the opening bars of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor every time I answered the door. I'm hoping for an encore performance this year, but I'm not sure what he's got cooked up.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:08 PM on October 28, 2015 [27 favorites]


someone's child - probably somewhere between 3 and 4 - was there, in a beautiful princess dress and an Iron Man mask

Last year, my daughter mixed her Elsa dress with her Darth Vader helmet and went as Darth Elsa.

But to other people's points, preschoolers aren't toddlers. And when our kiddo was a toddler, we had her staying home with us because we knew she would flip her shit at scary big people in costumes. She had a riot eating candy and "riding" the pumpkin we had picked up at the pumpkin patch. (She loved that pumpkin patch & spent two hours individually patting each pumpkin and saying, "Grow, little one, grow!")

As long as you know your kid and you work on having the holiday that they can handle, not the Pinterest narrative you think you should have for the memories, Halloween + toddlers or Halloween + preschool is awesome.
posted by sobell at 6:44 PM on October 28, 2015 [13 favorites]


They've already mashed Thanksgiving and Christimas togther. My concern is that if we take Halloween too seriously at our house, it's going to eventually end up as a big three month holiday extravaganza: Hallowthanksmas.

Nobody has time for all that.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:55 PM on October 28, 2015


kirkaracha: "The Booze You Need to Get You Through Trick-or-Treating"

One of my favorite things about my neighborhood is that when it's above FREEZING MY OVARIES OFF outside for Halloween, everyone sits on their front porch with booze handing out candy, and wanders up and down the street chatting with neighbors and trading booze all night.

(We get like 300 trick-or-treaters in a cold or wet year, so there's a lot of stamina required by the candy-hander-outers.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:31 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ugh trunk or treats, UGH. Walking around a church parking lot to get candy, let's take everything great about Halloween and make it boring as shit.
posted by emjaybee at 7:56 PM on October 28, 2015 [15 favorites]


Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening?

My (childless) take on this is that it's for two reasons:

1. People with tiny children are exhausted, and the opportunity to do these comforting rituals is something they, themselves look forward to as a reward for all the piss and shit and tantrums. (This totally explains why people with infants and similarly pre-sentient grubs get so into holidays and vacations that are kid-centric, IMO, when really they could probably save their energy for a year or two at least.)

2. Enacting this stuff annually from birth gets you used to what these things are about, so by the time you are old enough to enjoy them, you already have some context. If parents had to waste the childlike wonder phase explaining to kids why Halloween or Disney World or whatever is fun, it would take until puberty to get it to sink in. If you lay the groundwork early, you maximize the period in your kid's life when they get to actually enjoy it.

That said, I did always hate forced enjoyment of stuff like pumpkin patches and viewing Holiday lights displays. This stuff is just not that fun, and it usually resulted in tons of punishment for improper behavior and/or failure to get in the spirit of things.
posted by Sara C. at 8:03 PM on October 28, 2015


Looking at the comments - I had no idea that uncontrollable peeing was such a big part of the toddler landscape!
posted by helmutdog at 8:20 PM on October 28, 2015


I love Halloween with my school age kids. We only made it to about 3 houses the first time we took our eldest out, but he was sold on the concept. Out after dark, free candy, running around the neighbourhood. What's not to like?

Since he was old enough to pick he's always wanted weird costumes you can't buy and it forces me to get my craft on. A purple fish, a ghast, and this year a phoenix. We just finished working on it tonight and honestly, he looks more like a gigantic red chicken, but he is SO HAPPY. And so am I.
posted by Cuke at 8:37 PM on October 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't have kids, but I babysit for a family with two young weirdos. Their dad made a robot lizard costume at the behest of the youngest (then 2 1/2) last year, but he couldn't wear it because said youngest screamed in terror when viewing an actual robot lizard (okay, it was just some silver and green cardboard). This year, she has no requests for Dad, but intends to be a fairy monkey. Little kids seem to be great at hybrids.
posted by queensissy at 9:48 PM on October 28, 2015


We can't do Halloween for semi-complicated religious reasons, and this is the first year that our almost-four year old fully gets that it's a day in which you get dressed up and people give you candy. I am super super glad we live somewhere it's not such a big deal and her school is downplaying it due to cultural reasons too, because next year is going to have to involve two priests explaining satanic worship to a very indignant five year old. Good luck with that one, guys.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:52 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


sobell: Last year, my daughter mixed her Elsa dress with her Darth Vader helmet and went as Darth Elsa.

My favoritest Halloween costume that I've ever seen was worn by a young boy (probably about 5 or 6) at a Halloween parade in Northern Virginia several years back. Gorilla mask, pirate shirt and vest, vampire cape. That kid was totally in it to win it.
posted by hanov3r at 11:54 PM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Since he was old enough to pick he's always wanted weird costumes you can't buy and it forces me to get my craft on.

One year KidLucinda wanted to be a Swiss Army Knife. Mr. Lucinda fabricated a vest-type thing made of wood, cardboard and aluminum foil that was AMAZING.
posted by Lucinda at 1:57 AM on October 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


This post, and especially the comments, actually made me kind of sad. My parents never took me trick-or-treating when I was a kid, because my family fell on that terrible intersection of extremely-healthy-vegetarians-who-eat-carob and much-too-religious-for-a-holiday-celebrating-the-devil. The first and only time I went trick-or-treating was my freshman year in college, when I dressed up as princess leia.

So I always swore that I would take my own children trick-or-treating from the time they were babies. But even though I have a two-year-old now, I live in a country that barely celebrates Halloween, and doesn't do trick-or-treating at all, goddamnit.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 3:37 AM on October 29, 2015



Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening?

Yeah, when I put my then 18-month-old to bed after her first real Halloween, she mournfully told me that "one day isn't Halloween enough." She asked to wear her kitty costume every day for months, and eventually wore a hole through the feet. Kids might not be able to express their awareness and excitement in the ways we inderstand, but that doesn't mean they don't get it.
posted by snickerdoodle at 3:38 AM on October 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'll be honest, if my 18-month-old put that sentence together, I would pick her up out of the crib and take her straight down the block to the rectory for an exorcism. Which I guess would be a pretty good Halloween activity.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:01 AM on October 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, my kiddo at 18 months old was barely speaking 1 word sentences. Now, at 27 months, he probably has the ability to say "more Halloween, Mama? More?"

I think the honest part of "honest toddler" is really god damned believable. There are no exaggerations in that piece other than slightly fancy language and putting all possible scenarios into one day. (Speaking as the parent of a toddler who insisted I take off his current shirt to put on his chosen "fish" shirt, where 30 seconds later as I present his "fish" shirt, he screams "No, Mama, take it away!", declares it yucky, and runs away.)

Our version will be ding donging the door bell. And then doing it again. At the same house. And then again. Screaming if I say "that's enough" and getting the evil eye from the owner of said house.
posted by jillithd at 6:52 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Our version will be ding donging the door bell. And then doing it again. At the same house. And then again

Mine would be climbing the steps. And then again. We go on walks around the neighborhood and she points out everybody's stoop. "Steps." Yes, those are steps. "[goose-stepping, as if climbing the steps] Steps." No, we're not going to climb those. "Steps." Let's keep walking. "Steps."
posted by uncleozzy at 7:32 AM on October 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm glad Halloween exists. Since we're not allowed to talk to our neighbors ever because they might sue us, it serves as a reminder that yes, we humans can socialize with other humans (and not just with robots à la Aisimov's The Naked Sun) once in a while and it's actually ok.

I can just hear some lawyers saying, oh, yeah, right, I guess we can't give up Halloween, can we. Oh, wait, there's always a town or three every year cancelling Halloween, due to either political correctness (like here) or the evils of candy (blame this guy?). I don't have children, but I'll take these toddler problems any day over the whiny adults who can't see past the end of their noses.
posted by Melismata at 7:58 AM on October 29, 2015


lollymccatburglar, you could dress up and go door-to-door handing out candy and wishing people a Happy Halloween. A backwards trick o'treating, but could be as fun if you live in a neighborhoody-type neighborhood.
My neighborhood is pretty quiet and I'm not sure how well-prepared my elderly neighbors will be for trick o'treaters given we get pretty few, mostly neighbor kids. But we plan to take our 14-month-old out and I hope to get to 4 houses where the elderly neighbors will be thrilled to see him. He will be Hobbes, my husband will be Calvin, and I will be Susie Derkins.
posted by aabbbiee at 8:00 AM on October 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


I haven't had any kids come to the house for at least three years. I don't know if they have all been instructed to avoid my house, or if they all go to the town carnival and don't even trick-or-treat any more......
posted by thelonius at 8:22 AM on October 29, 2015


Halloween is STILL my favorite holiday and if I am ever solely responsible for a small child that kid is going to get the most elaborate costumes on the block. To this day, I treasure the memory of the year my friends and I invented Halloween caroling-- good lord, we got a lot of candy.
posted by nonasuch at 8:30 AM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


My favorite Halloween was the year my oldest daughter was 2.5. Instead of saying "Trick or Treat" she'd go up to houses and say "Put the candy in the bag!"

That was also the year I went into labor while we were trick-or-treating. (Um, honey? I'm having contractions 2 minutes apart and I don't think I can walk home. {Calls hospital on cell phone. Nurse on the phone freaks out. "You're doing what? Come in right now!} We went straight from knocking on doors to the hospital, where we got a great photo of my tiny giraffe helping push my gurney to the exam room. Her sister was born just after midnight.

She was very confused the next Halloween when I didn't come home with another baby; she thought you got one every year when you went trick-or-treating.
posted by belladonna at 8:44 AM on October 29, 2015 [28 favorites]


That was also the year I went into labor while we were trick-or-treating.

THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE.
posted by GuyZero at 8:48 AM on October 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


My son and his neighborhood tribe have all decided they're too old this year. Mancub said he'd rather spend his allowance the next day buying the candy he wants when it goes on sale. Part of me is sad, as I remember the Buzz Lightyear costume he wore for three months as a preschooler, and part of me is kinda proud of the thrifty forward candy planning.

There's only about 20 houses in our neighborhood, and most of the kids are now in Jr. High or high school, so I figure we will only get the four or five families with little kids this year. I miss seeing all the costumes like we did when we lived in a destination neighborhood, where kids would come from other towns to see one neighbor's crazy haunted house. We would go through 20-30 pounds of candy in that neighborhood.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:50 AM on October 29, 2015


Be prepared, SecretAgentSockpuppet, they may change their mind at the last minute.

I love Halloween.

I love every thing about it. The costumes, the candy, the kids, jack-o-lanterns, parties, all of it.

I go over board most yes, not so much this year as I can no longer physically do it all, however, I will have candy and pumpkins and I have a costume I love.


Halloween is the one day I year I'm not the weird lady on the block, but the cool one who gives out good candy and prizes. It is also the only time my skull decorations fit in.

Toddlers are adorable on Halloween. Cute costumes and not sure what is going on. Parents who are frazzled, but tucking the memories away. Ohhing at the jack-o-lanterns (every year, except this one, I normally have way too many pumpkins.)

I love every minute of it and I would be sad if parents didn't bring their little ones around.
posted by SuzySmith at 9:01 AM on October 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ugh trunk or treats, UGH. Walking around a church parking lot to get candy, let's take everything great about Halloween and make it boring as shit.

and

Yeah, when I put my then 18-month-old to bed after her first real Halloween, she mournfully told me that "one day isn't Halloween enough." She asked to wear her kitty costume every day for months, and eventually wore a hole through the feet.

Incidentally, although I myself have always viewed most Trunk or Treat events with suspicion, my church ran one this year that was presented not as a way to avoid horrible secular Halloween, but as a supplement to it so that kids can wear their costumes more than once. It was two weeks ago, the church invited the neighborhood and gave out lots of candy and baked goods, and lots of children got to wear their Elsa costumes, Batman costumes, and witch costumes in advance of the 31st.

(The church also has ongoing relationships with many low-income families, and I think it was also offered for those who don't live in very trick-or-treat friendly neighborhoods and who feel weird about driving their kids to different neighborhoods to get candy.)

Anyway, that was the first time I heard about a Trunk or Treat event without rolling my eyes, so I figured I would mention my personal revelation that some of them are "let's all enjoy MORE Halloween!" rather than "fear your godless neighborhoods."
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:48 AM on October 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


ALSO: zombies can't operate chainsaws, what is this neighbour even doing
posted by Hoopo at 10:06 AM on October 29, 2015


How can nobody have dropped this precious gem of a halloween story in this thread about (not) toddlers in costume?
posted by WaylandSmith at 10:24 AM on October 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is there really a need to do all this stuff with a tiny kid who doesn't know where they are or what's happening? See also: Pumpkin patches, Disney World, Santa photos.

Disney World can be awesome if you agree beforehand that the trip is for your child and plan breaks for pool time and naps. We went a year ago and had wonderful moments like this and this and this. My son was super into Mickey Mouse Clubhouse at the time, so it was perfect. We only went to the Magic Kingdom for two days, with one water park day in between. Short and sweet.

The kids are excited, and at about age 4ish, something in them clicks and they get it - they get that for this one night, we get to dress up and go knock on our neighbour's doors and get candy. It is a neat moment to see.

We have reached that moment at Chez Fleebnork. My almost-4-year-old has chosen a Paw Patrol costume and has been talking about trick or treating for weeks. I'm hoping he is willing to actually wear his costume and doesn't chicken out about walking up to strange houses.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:42 AM on October 29, 2015


a fiendish thingy: "Incidentally, although I myself have always viewed most Trunk or Treat events with suspicion, my church ran one this year that was presented not as a way to avoid horrible secular Halloween, but as a supplement to it so that kids can wear their costumes more than once. "

Oh, yeah, around here they're totally supplemental events for additional costume-wearing, and/or in case the weather is miserable on Halloween and/or for parents of children with special needs to be able to do a lower-key, safer, shorter trick-or-treating so their kid doesn't miss out and/or for places where neighborhoods are kinda depopulated of kids or too car-centric and there aren't many houses giving out candy. (My friend has a 4-year-old in a wheelchair, "traditional" trick-or-treating is exhausting and requires very careful route planning; trunk-or-treat means they can take both kids to trunk-or-treat and then let their older daughter trick-or-treat without the little one feeling too left out.)

They have a trunk-or-treat at the Catholic Church a couple of blocks from my house, which is mostly attended by smaller toddlers -- the elementary-aged kids GO and dress up, but they spend more time herding the little ones around and seem to view it as dishonorable to take the candy as it's too "easy." It's like Teeny Pre-Halloween for very small children. Anyway, the pastor also does up the rectory in full-on haunted house decor, puts on a scary Dracula costume over his priest-collar, and hands out full-sized candy bars on Halloween.

I associate "hell houses" with taking the fun out Halloween. Trunk-or-Treats I think are mainly about parent convenience, as not everyone lives in a cozy little detached-house neighborhood with safe sidewalks and friendly neighbors, and kids who live in apartment complexes or ultra-paved suburban hellscapes or "golf course communities" that ban fun and decorations should all get to trick-or-treat too!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:49 PM on October 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Anyway, the pastor also does up the rectory in full-on haunted house decor, puts on a scary Dracula costume over his priest-collar, and hands out full-sized candy bars on Halloween.

This. Is awesome.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:56 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


My mom's a priest and also hands out full-sized candy bars so I guess hit up an ecclesiastical directory for the best Halloween locations?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:07 PM on October 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Like KathrynT, my 2 (or maybe 3?) year old also thought we'd go trick-or-treating again the next day. She was sad to find out it only happened once a year. But the next year she was ready and excited. Last year, when she was eight, she had stamina and did some three hours of trick-or-treating. (Luckily, she's always been nice about sharing -- she'll come home and offer us both the kinds of candy she knows we like best and the candies she hates.)

Last year, my daughter mixed her Elsa dress with her Darth Vader helmet and went as Darth Elsa.
One year I took a Bunny Princess trick-or-treating.
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:56 PM on October 29, 2015


That is fantastic! What did the Bunny Princess dress up as?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:35 AM on October 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


My son decided last year that at the age of 12 he was too mature for trick-or-treating. I was sad for a few minutes until he told me what he was planning to do instead: He set up an electronic keyboard and amplifier in our entryway and played the opening bars of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor every time I answered the door. I'm hoping for an encore performance this year, but I'm not sure what he's got cooked up.

Just to update: Two keyboards plus his 27-key foot pedal board, and spooky music of his own composition. He's been rehearsing all afternoon.
posted by Daily Alice at 2:13 PM on October 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


When my godson was not quite two years old, I took him trick-or-treating. He was dressed as a bee. At every house, I would prompt him to greet the neighbor who opened the door, thank them, then say goodbye. By house #4, the people would open the door and he would yell, "HI THANK YOU BYE!!!" and hold out his treat bag. He got pretty annoyed when I would ask him to say thank you YET AGAIN. He also had no idea that the strange little packages he got at every house were candy. He kind of looked at them and tossed them in his bag. I thought it was hilarious that he didn't question this weird mission we sent him on: dress in this furry costume, trespass on your neighbor's property (which you usually aren't allowed to do), don't go in their house, but collect these crinkly plastic things, leave.

I still laugh when I think of it. I'm laughing now!
posted by Aquifer at 8:21 PM on November 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


« Older Don't miss your due date   |   Meet The Uyghurs Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments