Must-have items to take with you while Trick-or-Treating

Halloween trick-or-treating

Costumes? Check. Trick or treat bag? Check.  House keys? Check.  Phone? Check.  You may think you're all ready to go out trick or treating, but consider this: you're going out walking, in the dark, with a group of excited kids who are likely to consume large amounts of candy and get even more hyperactive.  Unless you want the evening to dissolve into tears and tantrums (or an early abandonment of your trick-or-treat plans), you'll want to bring a lot more than that.

This is our 14th year of taking a child trick-or-treating on Halloween night, and over the years, I've amassed a must-have list of items to have with me.  Here's my list of items to pack in your Halloween night purse to make trick-or-treating less stressful and more fun:

An extra-large tote bag
First things first: leave the tiny purse at home and get out a large tote bag.  Your kids may start out holding their own stuff, but eventually they'll want both hands free.  At some point, they're going to hand you their wand, sword, ax, headband, mask -- or even an entire costume -- to hold, because it gets in the way of their quest for candy.

You don't want to trip over tree roots or cracks in the sidewalk, so give each child a flashlight. Get a flashlight with a neck cord so your child doesn't have to hold the flashlight the entire time. Another bonus -- kids can hold flashlights under their chins to make spooky faces!

Glow sticks and reflectors
Kids running around and crossing streets in the dark, excited and hyped on candy.... it's not the ideal scenario for drivers.  Make yourselves more visible by giving everyone reflector necklaces, glow stick necklaces and glow stick bracelets. If your child is carrying a plastic pumpkin or a thin loot bag, you can also put the glow stick inside the bag.

Extra loot bags
I can't tell you the number of times my kids' loot bags have burst due to excess weight!  Okay, they were really old bags, but even if your bag is brand new, it may be too small to hold all the candy.  Or you may have a young child who will find his candy too heavy to carry (that's probably a sign that you've gathered enough candy and it's time to go home.

Bottle of water
With all the walking, and all the candy they'll eat (or sneak) as they go from house to house, your kids are bound to get thirsty (and so will you!)

Healthy snack
Make sure your child has a healthy dinner before you go out. Little grazers may need a snack midway through the trick-or-treating. If you have a healthy snack with you to help with hunger pangs, it's a lot easier to limit the candy to one or two pieces.

Lots of candy means sticky fingers, and you don't want them rummaging inside your neighbor's cauldron of candy!

Safety pins
Hey, it's a $20 costume. It's going to take a lot of abuse during that costume parade, class Halloween party, and trick-or-treat marathon.  Don't be surprised if one of the straps breaks off, or if a button comes loose.

Trick-or-treat night is like an afternoon at Disneyland -- even if you think your kid is too old for a stroller, consider taking one anyway, because he'll get tired and you'll end up carrying him.  Or you might need it to catch up to the older kids, who most certainly aren't going to want to slow down for their little brother.

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