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Each year I am asked, "Should I take my little pumpkin out for Halloween? I want to show the neighbors my baby! " Here are a few helpful suggestions that I recommend for you and your little ghosts and goblins.

We all agree that there is nothing more adorable than an infant or toddler dressed up for their first Halloween. But Halloween can easily be an overwhelming holiday for the littlest trick-or-treaters.

Go low-key on the costume

Yes, those elaborate costumes with a million different pieces (crowns and boot covers and accessories galore!) are to die for and are sure to make you smile, but when it comes down to it, you’re probably going to spend the entire holiday pleading with your little one to keep it all on. For Halloween first-timers, the simpler, the better! Consider using one show-stopper costume piece, such as some cute kitty ears, that go with her normal clothes, like leggings and a long sleeve T-shirt. Add some drawn-on whiskers and you’re good to go.

Keep your expectations in check

No matter how you decide to celebrate your child’s first Halloween — from simple activities to die-hard family coordinated costumes and parties galore — just remember that things may not go the way you’ve envisioned and that’s OK!

It’s possible that your little pumpkin will refuse to put on his or her costume or will fall asleep right before heading out to trick-or-treat. Make the best of it by taking pictures whenever they will wear their costume and by reminding yourself that a couple years from now, they’ll be thrilled about Halloween.

Think of trick-or-treating alternatives

Traditional trick-or-treating isn’t necessarily the best option for the littlest witches and wizards. If your kids haven’t been tipped off about trick-or-treating yet, consider skipping it all together and replace it with costumed trips to harvest festivals in your area or visits to family members’ homes to show off their costume. For families with both older and younger children, have the little ones hit a few homes on your block before Mom or Dad take out the older kids to canvas the neighborhood.

If you do trick-or-treat, go early

If you can’t have Halloween without trick-or-treating, research options for younger kids. Many cities are now doing early evening trick-or-treating sessions (such as 4-6 p.m., before it gets dark) in their business districts or malls. For families who live in neighborhoods with a lot of young children, organize your neighbors for a trick-or-treating event that caters to the little ones — even a morning trick-or-treating session with other families who are home during the day could be fun!

Celebrate at home

Sometimes, little ones get the biggest kick out of Halloween by handing out candy at the door to other trick-or-treaters! They can wear their costume if they want to or you can put them in some cute Halloween pajamas and station them at the front door to dish out the treats.

Some tips for making this a success: Beware of super scary costumed kids that may come to the door by keeping your eyes out for kids that are coming up your walkway. Also, when you’re ready for bedtime, shut off your front porch lights so that trick-or-treaters will get the hint.

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