The pumpkins are here. And so are the ads. Diapers.com, Amazon.com…they’ve all got their cute, line-up of Halloween costumes for babies. But I ask, is it really necessary to dress your 6-month-old in a bumblebee costume? Photo ops aside, shouldn’t we leave that for Anne Geddes, people?
A few years ago, mostly to satisfy my own sweet tooth, I dragged my then 2-year-old out trick-or-treating. Constantly lifting her up and out of her stroller was excruciating for both of us. Where was my judgment? (Obviously hijacked by Three Musketeers). Not only did all the creepy, crawly, lights, sounds and costumes scare the beJesus out of her, she got a Halloween high that I’m still trying to detox her from years later. I am solely to blame for her sugarholism.
My friend shared her golden Halloween rule with me recently: One candy for every year of the child’s life. A 3 year old gets to pick out 3 pieces of candy. The only problem I foresee in that scenario is eating all the leftover candy myself, which, at my age, is almost as lethal as giving it to my kid.
For fear of sounding like a Halloween Scrooge, I offer the following advice: Hold off, people. Hold off as long as you can. Take your baby or toddler to a pumpkin patch or to a friend’s small Halloween gathering where you can control the stimuli, both visual and edible. Resist the “Doesn’t my baby make the cutest poodle?” phase and help promote a healthy Halloween toddler. Make the treats he/she gets at this tender age more about “fun” and less about “fructose”. Pretzels and baked chips come in crazy bat shapes. Why not play Pin The Stem On the Pumpkin or bob for apples with your toddler? After the apples have been retrieved, they can be dipped in honey, chocolate or peanut butter.
If you have to dress up your wee one as a pink flamingo, give them a thrilling sense of responsibility and have them help with handing out candy. At their young age, seeing all the ghosts and goblins knock at the door will be treat enough.
Trust me, before you can say “Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat, Give Me Something Good To Eat: If You Don’t, I Don’t Care, I’ll Pull Down Your Underwear,” your child will be of Halloween age, coordinating which Harry Potter character to dress up as, which neighborhood to pillage, how much booty they intend to seize and bartering their loot like the true Sugar Pirates they are.
To all the new parents of babies and toddlers…Ahoy, matey and may you have calm seas and smooth sailing out there on October 31.