Halloween is coming up and for a lot of people that brings excitement. For others it means disrupted sleep for their little ones. How can you enjoy Halloween and protect your child’s sleep? Here are my top tips:

The littlest babies who will not be going out

If you have decided not to take your baby out for the night, but you still plan on giving out treats, stick to your regular bedtime routine and then sit out front with your monitor so that you can see the kids before they ring the bell. If you use white noise, move it towards the window so that it creates a little bit of a sound buffer between the crib and the outside excitement.

The kids who will be trick or treating

Plan your bedtime routine before you go out:

Once you get home, most kids will want to sort through the treats and sample a few. When you are ready to get the to bed, take a few extra minutes to help them unwind. It can be helpful to have toothpaste on the toothbrush and pjs laid out – you might even want to pick out your bedtime story so it is all set up for you!

Plan a healthy dinner early dinner (if you can):

Dinner does not have to be fancy, but make it nutritious because you know that treats will be eaten so you want to fill up on the healthy foods first. Breakfast for dinner or picnic dinners are always a hit at our house.

Head out early:

A few years ago, I asked a few neighbours if we could take my youngest to the door early so that I could put him to bed and then take my older son out. I have been reading the local chat groups on Facebook and the start time seems to be 6:00pm in our neighbourhood.

Decide how long you will be out for and or your route:

With older kids, it will help to tell them “we will be going to the house at the end of the street and then back” or “let’s set the timer on the phone and see how many houses we can get to before the alarm goes off”. Talking about it beforehand might help to end the night smoothly (I can’t promise they won’t beg to stay out later).

Take a big bag and maybe a wagon

My kids like to use little buckets to trick or treat, but a few bags of chips and that bucket is full. Take along a few reusable shopping bags so that you can dump the bucket and continue on your way. Reusable bags are often sturdier than grocery bags!

A wagon is going to be helpful when those little costumed legs get tired of walking up and down the driveways. It can be tricky to carry a child with costumes (and often bulky warm gear underneath).

Remember your 80/20 rule:

It’s Halloween!!! Bedtime will be later, treats will be consumed and memories will be made. Could it mean a choppy night? Yes! Could it mean a grumpy kid the next day? Yes! But going off track once in a while is okay; remember that you can get sleep back on track by offering an earlier bedtime the next night (or few) to make up for it.

Have fun! Enjoy the night and all of the craziness that comes with Halloween.