November 1, 2017

Halloween Lessons Learned

Wiped Out: BrownBaby#1 trick-or-treated himself into a passed out stupor on Halloween. Time to break out the wine! Image copyrighted by Adrienne Gibbs. Permission required for all reprints.

I’ve been doing Halloween my entire life, but now that I have two kids it’s taken on a whole new angle. When I had one kid, and he was a toddler, Halloween was simply dressing him up and answering the door. Maybe we went by the neighbors to introduce him to the idea of saying “trick or treat.” When that Brown Baby 1 turned four, it got more serious. We were invited to go trick or treating with a bunch of other kids, and that was my first experience with the mom wagon, the beers, the drinks, the parents passing out flasks of wine and stopping at Starbucks to use the bathroom and regroup.

But now I have two and BrownBaby2 is just about two and not quite old enough to be out and about in a 27-degree Halloween situation. My oldest is five. I live in Chicago. Trick or treating ends at 7 p.m., per the laws of my particular South Side neighborhood. Last year we only were able to trick or treat for about 45 minutes because of the location I drove to and because I went to work and had to fight traffic to get back home in time. So this year I got hip. I took the day off of work so I could do all the Halloween things and you know what? I STILL ran out of time!

I’m also exhausted.

Hopefully you all aren’t wiped out like I am. But if you are, here are my newly-learned Halloween-with-two-kids-under-six Halloween lessons, or tips.

  1. Take the day off work or try to take a half day. Get up early and get ready. No sleeping in.
  2. Prep Halloween dinner two days before the big day or cook Halloween dinner before lunchtime and set it up.
  3. Don’t be like me and wait until Halloween to buy candy. *runs and hides * Thank goodness there’s a Sam’s Club near me.
  4. If you take the kids by your office or your partner’s office, do it early, like at 2 or 3. That way, you can trick-or-treat at 4.
  5. If you do go with a group, try to keep it within walking distance of your own home. I’m no longer going to try to drag little bitty kids to blocks where we have no respite from the cold, no bathroom and nowhere to change a diaper.
  6. If it’s too cold for your baby/toddler, then split duties and have one person stay home and the other go out with the oldest.
  7. Carry band-aids. Whew. All the kids I saw who fell face first on concrete steps was appalling.
  8. You might need help if you want to trick-or-treat and pass out candy at your own home. Enlist a cousin or a babysitter. Several of my neighbors use their nannies for this purpose, plus the nanny watches the smallest kids. I don’t have a nanny, so my husband got off work a half hour early to pass out candy/watch our house.
  9. Bring juice boxes and healthy snacks for your kids to eat and keep said snacks in the wagon that you will inevitably use to cart them back home because they will be pooped.
  10. Go with furry, head-to-toe suits if in a cold weather climate. And stuff the suit with layers of t-shirts and sweatshirts and long underwear. It’s warmer that way.
  11. Always carry a thermos full of hot tea and whiskey or hot tea and rum. Or… coffee and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Again, it’s warmer that way.

Here’s to a bigger better Halloween next year.  Meanwhile, drop your top tips below for things you plan to do differently next year. Only 365 days to go….