I should start by saying I’m not an expert on parenting or Halloween but I have been around the block a few times trick or treating for the last 9 years, and the last four with 3 kids in tow. I’m sharing my best tips and tricks for trick or treating with multiple kids, most of which I learned the hard way with subsequent meltdowns and tantrums.
Eat dinner before you head out
Halloween brings out enough crazy in my kids, ensuring they aren’t hangry is essential. Putting food in their bellies before the candy comes is just a good idea. I usually serve Halloween dinner after school, either something easy in the crockpot or take out from our local Mexican spot.
Start early — and set a time limit
This obviously depends on the age of your kiddos but for us it still works to start fairly early and stick to a two hour (give or take) window. My oldest goes out in the same neighborhood but with his buddies so having him wear his watch and have a definitive end time and meeting point works best.
Don’t try to do it all
It took me a while to figure out that trying to fit in all the fun Halloween opportunities is not possible and not good for anyone. With all the candy and excitiment, Halloween tends to bring out extra special behavior – picking and choosing the activities that work best for you and your family is essential.
Make a plan
I’ve found over the years that it’s important for me to have a plan. Not to say we can’t be flexible but with so much excitement, opportunities for fun and 3 kids, sharing a clear plan ahead of time avoids confusion, added chaos and disappointment. Also now that my oldest is trick or treating with his friends, it’s essential for me to know his route and for him to know the meeting spot and time.
Divide and conquer if you can
This isn’t always possible for us, but with 3 kids that move at different paces, have different buddies, and varying agendas and stamina, dividing and conquering is ideal. My husband usually comes with us, but if he’s working, we make a plan to meet up with friends.
Bring or wear flashlights
In Maine, Halloween night can be very cold and while we start when it’s still light out, it gets dark quickly. We always go in a safe local neighborhood, but it’s filled with kids and finding your football player in a sea of little New England Patriots isn’t always easy. Throwing a cheap little flashlight in each of their baskets is a great idea. Or better yet strap on a headlamp so they don’t have to bother holding it.
Trick or treat with your tribe
Sometimes big groups can be overwhelming, but we are lucky to have a core group of great friends that we’ve been trick or treating with for years. It means each of my kids has a buddy their age and I have extra eyes on my kids. It makes it much easier to divide and conquer and keep everyone happy and keep tabs on all the kiddos.
Bring a stroller or wagon
It never fails that someone, usually my youngest reaches their breaking point and needs a lift to keep up. It also never fails that consumes get too cumbersome or the helmet they insisted on wearing becomes too heavy. It’s always good to have a way to transport kids and belongings. Whether it’s a wagon or a stroller, when trick or treating with younger kiddos, it’s a good idea to bring one along.
Keep it Simple
One of my favorite tips for trick or treating across the board, is to give yourself permission to keep it simple. Use this mantra in whatever area is stressful – I find this especially good to remember when it comes to costumes. You do you, but don’t feel like you need Pinterest worthy costumes. I’ve found the most important part about costumes is that they are warm enough, comfortable and easy to go the bathroom in.