Trick-or-treating can be a whole lot of fun, watching your kids sprint up to neighbor’s doors and gleefully receive candy. It can even make you as a parent nostalgic for your days trick-or-treating. Sometimes, trick-or-treating on Halloween can be a massive hassle though.
There are warnings every year that instruct parents to take a closer look at their children’s Halloween candy and what to look out, which can be anxiety-inducing. The laundry list of things that could harm your children seems to get longer every year. They could be getting marijuana edibles instead of candy (though this warning was ruthlessly mocked on the Internet). They could trip while running and hurt themselves. They could run out of your sight as it’s getting dark out. They could refuse to participate in trick-or-treating.
“There’s pressure to perform (for example, ringing a doorbell and shouting, “Trick or treat!”),” Parenting coach Julie Romanowski told Today’s Parent. “They may not know what to do and can act out or get shy and clingy.”
Maybe it’s just not worth the stress. Those aren’t the only reason why we’re advocating for you and your children to head to a kids Halloween party instead. Most of the time, Halloween doesn’t cause heart palpitations, but it might be causing your young children extreme anxiety.
“Children, especially toddlers, can become very frightened by the distorted faces prevalent on Halloween night.” Family therapist Gayle Peterson told Today.
Children don’t make the distinction between fantasy and reality until they’re about five years old. They’re going to be walking around streets they might not be familiar with and see teenagers donning costumes from some of the scariest horror movies. If you’re at a Halloween party, you’re in a controlled environment where you can teach your children that the scary person in a mask is just your neighbor. There might not even be people at this party with scary costumes, which is an added bonus.
Trick-or-treating also can be totally miserable if the weather is bad. If it’s raining, sleeting, bitterly cold or extremely windy, your kids can get grumpy and cold fast—or on the opposite end of the spectrum, they might demand that you hit a few more houses far after you’ve lost feeling in your fingers. Instead, you could be in someone’s cozy living room, sitting on the couch talking with the other parents and watching your child zoom around the room to play Halloween themed-games.
Halloween parties are also a great option if you have a sleepy neighborhood. Sometimes, your neighbors are older and opt to hide behind their curtains rather than serve candy to your little ones—no matter how many times your children insistently ring the doorbell. This can be disappointing for both your kids and you when you see that most of the houses are dark, unwelcoming and undecorated. At a Halloween party, your kids can still show off their costumes to friends, enjoy the festive decorations and fill up on All Hallows Eve goodies. There might even be games, music and a mini-haunted house in the basement. Some people love going all out for Halloween parties.
You’re also significantly less stressed out. Even if you aren’t super familiar with the people whose house the Halloween party is at, you probably know a few people there. You might still need to keep an eye out for how often your children are sneaking off to the treats table, but as a parent ,you pretty much sleep with one eye open at this point. You’re always going to have a basic level of anxiety about your children, so you might as well have that while enjoying your own little haul of candy and listening to “Monster Mash.”