HallowHeaderHalloween is such a great holiday for so many reasons. I wish it lasted longer than a day. But having a toddler makes it challenging. You don’t want to spook the little one so bad that they fear Halloween for the rest of their lives and you don’t want them hyped up on sugar for the next couple of weeks. However, you also don’t want them to miss out on the holiday either. So how do you prepare your toddler for Halloween fun and what’s the best way to keep them from consuming too much candy?

Even if your toddler’s too young to go trick-or-treating and understand when to stop eating all of his candy, you can still have fun celebrating Halloween together whether you are at home or away on travel. Here are a few of my ideas to keep your little goblin (and you) happy this Halloween.

Party at the zoo
Our zoo has a fantastic party for the little goblins and their mummies. Several ghoulish activities, like pumpkin bowling and beanbag tosses, can be found throughout the zoo. Little ones can wear their costumes if they dare and take a stroll down jack-o-lantern lane, creep up to candy stations, and let their spirit come alive! The zoo is open to wander and leisure on their own while visiting Dracula and the fortune tellers, playing fun Halloween games, seeing creepy displays, and visiting Candy Land on the way out! It’s a night of not-too-scary Halloween fun that’s sure to get your toddler in the holiday spirit. Check out the local zoo’s website to see if they throw a Halloween party for the little ghouls.

Trick or Treat at friend’s and relative’s housesHallow4 edited
Last year my youngest was only 11 months and not quite ready for the traditional trick-or-treating on Halloween. However, he had a brother who was 4 and ready to start ringing doorbells as soon as he woke up that morning. So we kept it simple and pleased both kiddos by driving around to different family members’ houses — grandparents, aunts, uncles, and some close friends who also have children. That way, they both were able to wear a costume, keep warm, and get some treats while being in a non-scary environment with people he knew.

Trick or Treat on Toddler Time
If you do choose (or have to because of an older sibling or no close relative) to go trick or treating around town, give your little goblin a healthy snack/meal before you head out so s/he won’t get cranky (or continue to reach into the candy bag for a snack). It’s just like any other outing. Don’t overwhelm him or her and plan your route ahead of time so you can keep your route short in case you need to head back home ASAP. However, most toddlers probably won’t make it more than a few blocks.

Visit a Hallow7pumpkin patch
Besides painting or carving the actual pumpkin … visiting a pumpkin patch is one of my favorite activities to do during Halloween. Pumpkin patches are magical because they combine all the smells, tastes, sounds, and sites of the season in one place the entire family can enjoy. And chances are, there’s one within a 20 mile radius from where you live.  Depending on the patch, most offer a wide variety of activities and attractions your toddler is sure to love. From pony, train, and hayrides to petting zoos and Milo mazes, there’s something for all the little toddler personalities. Check out the local paper or do a quick search on the internet to find one that fits your expectations the best.

Limit the candy consumptionHallow6 edited
Once you’re home, do a thorough candy check. Throw out anything that is unwrapped and homemade by anyone you don’t know well. As well as anything that looks even vaguely suspicious (like loose candy in a plastic bag), or sweets that can turn into choking hazards (sticky, chewy, or hard candies, anything with caramel, popcorn, nuts, and gum). After the search, let your toddler select a few pieces of what remains as his Halloween treat and throw away the rest after he goes to bed. Which benefits you in more ways than one (you won’t be tempted to reach in the bucket). At this age, your little ghoul most likely won’t know what he’s missing if you choose to get rid of most of his leftover loot. But if they do realize it’s MIA, you could offer to swap the rest of his candy our for a small toy.

Or you could scare up healthy snacks like pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin smoothie, Halloween ice pops, or whatever else would please your toddler’s healthy palate. Do a quick Google search online for some creative and healthy recipes.

Halloween doesn’t have to turn out to be a nightmare in disguise. Even if your toddler seems fearless, you’ll still want to put the brakes on the overstimulation…and the sweets. With some of my ideas listed above, you can have a spook-tacular Halloween with your toddler! Do you have any ideas for toddlers for Halloween? Share them below!

Make sure to check out Luxury TravelingMom’s Not So Spooky Ideas for Halloween travel with kids and don’t miss out on our twitter party tonight at 8pm EST.  We’re talking all about Halloween and Haunted Travel!

Amanda is a freelance writer and blog owner of: “The Procrastinating Mommy” – a PR friendly family blog. You can also follow her on Twitter at: @Amanda_aka_Mom.