Whether you're a first-time dad taking littles out for some trick-or-treating fun or an old hand who has (literally) been around the block a few times, here's what you need to bring to make your Halloween evening efficient, easy, and fun.
- An empty bag (or two) to carry extra costume parts. It doesn’t matter how cute those wings look or how much you tell them they have to hold on to that light saber, a few houses in, kids start to their costumes. Bringing an extra renewable shopping bag can give you a quick place to store them when they start handing you their tails and capes.
- Wipes. Face paint smudges easily and kids can get sticky from just looking at candy. When the kids were small, we always had wipes with us, but it’s still handy to have some even when everyone is out of diapers. Jonathan likes individual wipes that fit perfectly in your pocket or Dad Wallet for situations like this, when you just need something quick and don’t want to carry a whole wipes pack.
- Flashlights and/or glow sticks for the kids. It’s easier to spot kids who are glowing in the dark, especially when you’re walking in a big group and everyone thinks everyone else has their eye on the little ones. Glow stick necklaces or bracelets are cheap and easy to stick on, plus kids LOVE them. You can go in a lot of directions for this one—everyone can use reflective runner’s tape or those light up pumpkin necklaces many stores carry—but make sure you have something that makes kids easy to spot at dusk. Think twice about giving everyone a flashlight because they end up in the empty bag or because they shine it in each other’s eyes and then you’re all blinded. But if you think your kids can handle it, go for it.
- Comfortable shoes. Half a block in, you’re not going to care whether or not those tennis shoes ruin the authentic vibe of the costume. Wear cute shoes for the pictures first, then make sure everyone has on walkable shoes for the actual trick-or-treating.
- A stroller. If you don’t put any kids in it, you can use it for all of the costumes and pumpkins. Win-win.
- A pumpkin or candy sack for everyone. It seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many years we’ve been digging through the garage an hour before trying to find last year’s dusty pumpkins.
When you're all done taking a bunch of kids in costume outside in the dark to talk to neighbors you've seen once or twice while putting the trash out, tuck them into bed and make extra sure they are fully asleep. Now it's time to raid their sugary stash.
You survived Halloween with kids. The only proper way to celebrate is by stealing your children's candy and pairing it with your favorite after-bedtime grown-up drink. Here are our expert pairing recommendations:
- Beer. We recommend a straightforward beer with fruity candy. Gummy bears or any hard-shelled, red-dye-infused candy bring out the fruity undertones in everything from an ale to a stout beer.
- Wine. Clearly, red wine goes with chocolate. We love a spicy wine, like a malbec or a pinot noir, with whatever dark chocolates you can dig out of the bottom of the pumpkin. If you're more of a white wine person, choose a candy bar with nougat or cookie inside to pick up the citrus in the white.
- Hard liquor. The pairings are endless--gin and tonic combined with mallow pumpkins and candy corn are the perfect end to a long trek through the neighborhood. And of course, a couple of shots of whiskey neat will make even the most mysterious candy from your neighbor with 17 cats appear more appetizing. Bon appetite!