We have a little policy at our house. Perhaps I've mentioned it. Limited to no unnecessary sugar consumed by people for whom the grown-ups of the family have assumed responsibility for their dietary and dental health.
It's fairly easy policy to abide by in normal life, and the rule has relaxed somewhat in the past few months--for those of you who are close to calling us un-American or cruel. But Halloween is one of those days (are there more?) that exist for nearly the express purpose of encouraging people to beg for and consume large amounts of unnecessary sugar. That's the whole entire point. Nothing more to it to come close to redeeming the holiday.
So this is Bryn's third Halloween (fourth if you count being three weeks old). Each of the three years, she has dressed up even though we didn't go trick-or-treating, usually for a party at school.
At one, she was a duck, thanks to a homemade, puffy costume that my mom made that has passed down through all the grandkids. She happened to be taller than the earlier guys, so the pants rode up a little bit. But, c'mon, can you get cuter than that?
At two years old, she was a giraffe (again, a hand-me-down, that was a "smidge" too small, although you would never know by the sheer delight that the costume brought the sweet thing.)
She is definitely learning the holiday customs and norms, so I was starting to wonder how long we could get away with not trick-or-treating. So we decided on a compromise. She could get dressed up, and we would take a walk around the block. The kicker--which nearly trumped it all--was that we were going to carry flashlights. Mom, Dad, and Bryn all had mini-flashlights of their own. She thought that was the coolest.
So, at three, Bryn was a princess. I'd have to say, the most beautiful princess ever there was to be. Some of the neighbors were sitting in their driveways handing out candy and would offer it as we walked by. Beau would simply say, "no thanks, we're just walking." I felt compelled each time (again with my issues) to explain: "See, we're just taking a walk around the block in her costume with a flashlight because we don't really let her eat candy. No, no, it's okay. It's just our thing. You know. Might not last, but she's fine with it one more year. ... She's really enjoying her flashlight." Then I'd run to catch up with the family.
The one drawback I see to not associating more closely the dress-up walk with Halloween in particular, is that Bryn asks to do that nearly every day now as we drive up to the house. So far, we've managed to talk her down each time to just carrying the flashlight.