The best Halloween adventures start with a marathon dress-up session. You may spend an afternoon chasing an excited toddler and explaining why they must wear leggings under their tutu on a chilly night. Runny noses are wiped. Babies are unhappily stuffed into plush sleepsuits with adorable animal heads and paw-inspired footies. Then you walk through a crowded neighborhood while keeping the toddlers within sight and perhaps assuring a cranky infant that it’s almost over.
There are hay rides and porches so spooky your child would rather run into the street than step up and collect candy. And when it's all over, you're stuck with aching feet, a headache, and overstimulated and overtired children begging for another piece of candy. Maybe they’re even crying that they didn’t get the sweet treats they really wanted.
Are you ready for a glass of wine yet?
Tricks – No Treats – for Getting Kids to Bed
The excitement of Halloween is often followed by parental exhaustion. That doesn’t mix well with rambunctious children who are more eager to dig through their treat bags than surrender to their beds. Here are some effective post-trick or treat sleep tips for all you worn-out parents:
- Don’t over plan. There is no end to the trick-or-treat events, community festivals, and the private parties centered around Halloween. If you try to squeeze too many of these events into one day, or expect your children to dress up on multiple days, you risk overstimulating them. This leads to more temper tantrums even if your child has fun at each event. Do everyone a favor and commit to only one or two events that your child is most likely to enjoy.
- Establish candy expectations from the start.
Limiting how much candy your child consumes on Halloween night is key to keeping their energy levels and excitement in check. The fight often comes when you say “no” to excess candy unexpectedly, so sit the little ones down and tell them what they can expect from the start.
- Prepare healthy Halloween food options. It’s easier to control candy intake when your child has a variety of fun, healthy foods to enjoy. Put your creativity to the test, and you can turn carrots, celery sticks, peanut butter, raisins and whole grain crackers into creepy crawlers that your kids will want to eat.
- Put some positivity and generosity into the holiday. Shift the focus from how much candy your kids can collect to how they can bless other children or help those less fortunate. You can talk to your kids about donating some of their candy to a homeless shelter, the elementary school, or a home for children in foster care. There are also Halloween candy buyback programs that will pay your kids for parting with the sweets.
- Work with your child’s temperament. If you need to be one of the first parents to hit the sidewalks so that your child has time to wind down before bedtime, then start that dress-up session earlier. If your child doesn’t respond well to crowds, ask around to identify the best neighborhood or church parking lot to keep the rowdy teenagers at bay.
Finally, keep your child’s daily schedule in mind when planning your evening of trick-or-treating. This keeps the power of routine in your favor. You can get your little ones excited for bedtime by infusing the routine with Halloween fun. For instance, special Halloween pajamas may make it easier to get your toddler out of his costume.
There is no guarantee that the marathon dress-up session and evening of parading the crowded streets won’t leave you running for the wine cabinet. Armed with these tips, you can at least look forward to a quiet night of relaxion and sound slumber after the little ones succumb to sleep.