Beggar’s Night is a special moment in the “kid year.” They have settled in to the school routine, enjoyed the ticklish spookiness of the weeks leading up to Halloween, and are about to revel in the event that is the harbinger of the holiday season. It’s magical for them, but at the same time it can be exhausting for us, the grownups. Here, we’re going to go over some simple tips and tricks to help you prepare for maximum comfort and convenience when you take your little one—or not-so-little-one!—out for Trick-or-Treating.
Whether it’s your own child or grandchild, a relative, a neighbor kid or a friend’s little one, knowing the personality of the small person you are taking out for Trick or Treat will help you a great deal in knowing what you will need to be comfortable yourself as well as help them have the best time possible. Is this child the sort who will begin peeling off their costume within the first five minutes? Will they want you to carry their candy haul if it gets even a little heavy? Will they want you to carry them if they begin to tire? Being well-acquainted with your little beggar helps you know how to prepare for the least discomfort and inconvenience and the most possible fun.
You’re going to be on your feet. Some children, like my daughter, will trick-or-treat up and down our own street and call it a night. If you are doing an easy Beggar’s Night like that, your footwear isn’t a major concern. However, some children draw up a map a week ahead of time, planning to hit up as many houses as they can, as efficiently as possible. Their goal is huge candy haul! If you are chaperoning this kind of trick or treater, you need to wear comfortable, supportive footwear and be ready to move! Kids hopped up on excitement and candy can really cover a lot of ground! If you’re worried that you can’t keep up, you have options. I know a father of four who simply follows his kids in the family minivan, so that he’s close by if they need him but he doesn’t have to run or worry if one kid goes ahead or lags behind.
Guys, this may be your time to shine in your favorite cargo shorts, but a lightweight canvas tote bag or comfortable backpack are great options for anyone. Kids might like to hand over their treats if their plastic pumpkin starts to get heavy, and lots of kids will eschew their costume accessories almost immediately. Some families have little treats for the grown-ups, and you’ll want to stash that somewhere. It’s a good idea to carry a water bottle for your little one, and some wet wipes are always a good idea. The one lolly you think is no big deal to let your beggar eat as they walk will end up on their hands, their face, on your hands, on their treat bag. . . trust me, take the wet wipes. Plan for these inevitabilities by wearing a barn coat with great big pockets or perhaps carrying your backpack.
If there is the slightest chance of rain, wear your own raincoat and take ponchos for the little ones. A bit of drizzle won’t slow you down if you’re all protected from the weather, and if your only choice is to beat a hasty retreat back home, you’ll arrive relatively dry rather than soaked and bedraggled. Carefully considering the weather report is about more than rain, though. In the northeast and Midwest, late October can get quite cold, for example. Thermals will go on under costumes at home, but taking along handwarmers or an extra pair of gloves is a good idea. Whatever the weather, if you’re prepared you will all be more comfortable and have more fun!
Remind your trick or treaters of expected behavior right from the start, as well as helping them know what will happen and when. This isn’t some rookie advice; even capable, experienced caregivers can get caught up in the excitement and forget to lay out the plan for the event. Little ones do better when they know what will happen and when. Saying, “We’ll head back toward our house at 7:00,” as you leave could avert a meltdown later. Reminding your beggar to say “Thank you,” at each house before they are standing on the first porch will make each transaction more pleasant. Grown-ups are the ones who need to take a deep breath through the excitement and remember that we will make the difference between a smoothly-run great time or a frustrating, uncomfortable evening.
Trick-or-Treating is a major event for most kids, and it’s thrilling to share in their excitement, rather like Christmas morning! By thinking ahead and making simple preparations, we can help the young people in our lives revel in the fun and avoid the little discomforts that can arise. More importantly, by watching their grown-ups plan and prepare, kids will learn that thinking ahead can make anything easier, more comfortable and more fun; that’s something that will last a lot longer than their Halloween candy haul!