The crinkle of leaves beneath your feet, pumpkin-spiced everything at coffee shops, and the crisp bite of autumn air can mean only one thing: Halloween is on the way! But what are the best ways to celebrate with a little one? Get the most out of this trickiest of holidays with these 12 tips for enjoying baby’s first Halloween.

photo: Juhan Sonin via Flickr

1. No Tricks or Treats
There’s no shame in skipping the trick-or-treating when it comes to baby’s first Halloween. They’re not going to remember the night and aren’t old enough to enjoy the treats anyway. Ease your guilt by taking a stroller walk around your neighborhood to see the older kids in their costumes or check out the ideas below for other ways to celebrate.

2. Local Events
Malls, zoos, farms and libraries host Halloween and fall-themed events and crafts all season long. As these often take place during the day, they’ll likely fit into baby’s schedule better than nighttime outings.

3. Baby Party
You and your parent friends can host a baby Halloween party. Set up a fall-themed backdrop, add in a few pumpkins, and get those cuties in their costumes for a perfect photo op. If the holiday falls on a weekday, set the party date for the weekend before.

4. Pass Out Candy
Show off baby’s adorable costume without leaving your house. A bedecked baby is the perfect partner for handing out candy to the neighborhood kids. Once bedtime rolls around, put any remaining candy in a bowl outside the front door so no one rings the bell. Then it’s pajama time on the couch with a scary movie for you!

photo: PublicDomanPictures via Pixabay

5. Touring Tricks & Treats
Make a quick visit to a couple of your favorite friends and relatives. They’re the ones who will most appreciate the cuteness of your infant all dressed up, and they might even have an age-appropriate treat for baby.

6. Travel in Style
If you do decide to go trick-or-treating, which is inevitable if your little one has older siblings, make sure baby is riding in style. Whether baby’s tagging along in a carrier, stroller or wagon, make it part of the festivities by decorating it for the holiday. Check out these baby carrier Halloween costumes for inspiration!

7. Smart Costume
No matter what your plans for Halloween are, dress baby appropriately for the environment. That adorable fuzzy bear costume layered with warm clothes underneath is perfect for a chilly night of trick-or-treating but might not be the best choice for an indoor activity or in warmer climates. No matter how cute a costume, if baby isn’t comfortable, no one will have a good time.

8. Pumpkin Decorating
While your little one may be too young to partake in the tradition of carving a jack-o’-lantern, there are other options for pumpkin fun. Let baby go to town with stickers or non-toxic paint on a small pumpkin or gourd. Or cover a pumpkin with natural glue, put out an array of baby-safe craft items, like pompoms, and stick them on. If you do decide to carve a pumpkin, make it a sensory activity by letting baby get messy with the pumpkin innards.

photo: Eric Chan via Flickr

9. Taste of Halloween
Chances are most Halloween candy is a no-go for baby, but that doesn’t mean they can’t partake in the tastes of the season. While you’re sipping pumpkin-spiced latte, whip up a batch of pumpkin muffins for your wee one’s tiny taste buds. If baby’s too young for finger food, try fresh pumpkin puree with a dash of cinnamon. Here are 11 recipes for baby purees made with autumn ingredients.

10. Practice Run
In the days leading up to Halloween, try out all the parts of the costume so your little one can get a feel for it. Babies grow fast, so this will ensure it still fits. You’ll also be able to gauge how long baby will tolerate any accessories, like hats or headbands. Keep your camera or phone handy for capturing all those precious moments. The low-key practice run may yield some of the best photo ops of the holiday.

11. Reduce the Fear Factor
While older kids and adults may relish in all the frights of the night, Halloween can be scary for little ones. Spooky noises, masks and flashing lights can be terrifying and overwhelming for baby’s senses. Don’t be afraid to keep your distance from any costumes or decorations that might be too much.

12. Be Flexible
Like anything when it comes to infants, it’s always important to be flexible. Babies get tired or hungry, they have diaper blowouts that ruin costumes, and they don’t care about your carefully crafted plans. Have a backup outfit handy and, if worse comes to worse, there’s always next year when baby will be a year older and more able to enjoy all the fun that is Halloween.

—Katie L. Carroll

Featured image: Omar Lopez via Unsplash 

RELATED STORIES:

10 DIY Baby Halloween Costumes That Start with a Onesie

Creative Halloween Costume Ideas for Babies and Toddlers

12 Funny Baby Costumes You’ll Love