Toddlers' Tricks and Treats: A Guide to Exploring Haunted Neopia with your Baby Neopet
Ah, Halloween! That festival of spookiness that celebrates bumps in the night and shivers down your spine!
But for those of us with Baby Neopets, this exciting but macabre celebration poses something of a challenge; how do we involve our sweet, sensitive youngsters in the hair-raising fun without scaring them senseless?
How do you strike that delicate balance between a happy revel in the spook-fest and terrifying your little one into months of nightmares?
Well, stop your worrying! With a little help from my baby Usul, I've compiled a list of grim games and dreadful diversions right in the Haunted Woods that are guaranteed to help your little nipper enjoy the holiday without mentally scaring the training pants off them.
But before you go running towards those creepy trees with your tot in tow, it's best to make sure you're both prepared.
First up, breakfast!
The most important meal of the day! And with so much monstrous merriment ahead, your little one is going to need a hearty one.
While your older Neopets gleefully tuck into their Eyeball Muffins and Coffee of the Dead, your wee baby will need something a little softer for those few of tooth.
I recommend Haunted Milk for very young babies. It tastes just like regular milk, but it wails quietly like a ghost, and the ghastly cup adds a nicely spooky touch. My little one jumped the first time the cup floated out of her hands, then proceeded to laugh her self silly as she chased it around the breakfast table until it was all slurped away.
For slightly older babies who are sporting a baby tooth or two, Ghost Pancakes make an ideal accompaniment. They float around just like the milk, but aren't too scary (or gross looking!) to enjoy with gusto!
Next, pack your bags!
Those creepy corners of Neopia are dark even in the middle of the day, and on Halloween, the most dreadful denizens will be out in full force.
You will need:
- Something silver to guard against Werelupes.
A Silver Kiko Souvenir Spoon will do just fine, but I prefer to slip a Stunning Silver Ring around my little one's tiny wrist.
- Garlic to ward off vampires.
You can make your baby wear a Garlic Shield, or even just buy Two Garlic Bulbs to keep in their pockets.
My favourite is the Handheld Meowclops Torch, but Altadorian Torch and Techo Torch work just as well. Perfect for shining into the darkest corners and to scare away shadow monsters.
To help prevent your little one from becoming too frightened by the inhabitants they may encounter, give them a spooky toy of their own to hide behind.
There are lots of unearthly plushies available, such as the heart-achingly adorable Halloween Bruce Plushie, the freakish but reasonably-priced Sloth Faerie Plushie, even the ever-sinister Hubrid Nox is available in plushie form.
But my little Usul loves Usukis, and she chose to bring along her beloved Usuki Zombie. Keep back, Monsters! This toy will eat your brains!
Now you're all packed and ready to go!
Scary as it might seem, the Haunted Woods isn't all face-biting Meepits and hungry monsters roaring out of the ground. In fact, there are a few places I highly recommend for baby pets!
Yes, the Colouring Pages. As much as these areas scattered around Neopia might seem a little boring to older Neopians, small children LOVE a good colouring book! Bring along your best, most un-nibbled Sloth Crayons and scribble away at some of these spooky outlines. My baby's favourite was Image 8, she just LOVED the funny faces of the Bearog!
Not as terrifying as its name suggests, this is where old games go to rot. You might not get any Neopoints for playing these games, but they are still fun!
My baby particularly enjoyed Alpine Challenge. She wasn't very good at it, but making the Usul crash into trees over and over again made her laugh hard!
What baby doesn't love looking at cute little petpets? And although toddlers can be a little too rough with petpets sometimes, those Spooky Petpets are a hardy bunch, fully capable of defending themselves against over-eager eye-poking... just be careful to keep a close watch on your tot; you don't want them to lose a finger!
Tippled particularly enjoyed playing with cute little Calabats, and was most amused by the slime trails left by the Slorgs.
I REALLY wouldn't recommend taking your baby to meet some of the Haunted Woods' most famous inhabitants, like Edna and the Brain Tree. Fascinating as they are, they're the stuff of nightmares.
So hurry past, don't make eye contact, and on to the Deserted Fairground!
Cork Gun Gallery
A friendly, charismatic shopkeeper and an easy-looking game, your little one will love turning those handles and firing that cork gun!
However, it's VERY easy to get carried away with this game. Just 100 NP a shot? How hard can it be? Next thing you know, you're down 5,000 NP and haven't won a thing. So I'd definitely recommend setting a strict budget before you come to this stand.
By now your little one's probably a little peckish, and Halloween is a time for tasty treats! Most of the Spooky Foods are either too tough on the tummy and teeth, or just plain too horrifying to give to a baby, but there are a few options that are more child-safe.
Pumpkin Chip Surprise features delicious pumpkin flavoured cookie dough with chocolate chip icing, all piled inside a not-too-scary carved pumpkin.
Pumpkin Scoopings is another option for babies, nice and soft for gummy mouths, with little seeds and bugs for extra protein. Yum!
But Tippled's favourite was Mummified Ice Cream. A great tasting ice cream wrapped in greying bandages that she had a great time unwrapping to get to the icy treat in the middle.
Another game that's dreadfully easy to lose a vast amount of Neopoints on in a very short space of time. However, watching the little Mootix ball bounce down the pins is sure to entertain and delight your baby; they do revel in such simple things! It's worth dropping hundreds of Neopoints just to hear them squeal so excitedly!
If your baby doesn't scream in fear as soon as they lay eyes on the shopkeeper, this is another fun little game. Again, like Bagatelle and the Cork Gun Gallery, you're more likely to lose Neopoints than make a fortune, so make sure you set a budget and stick to it, no matter how much your little one cries for "more wobbly wobbly coconut!"
Most of the other attractions at the Deserted Fairground are either too scary or too dangerous for toddlers, so once you've lost most of your savings on rigged games and baby giggles, it might be time to move on to Neovia.
I don't know about you, but I'm not too comfortable with letting my Baby Neopet dunk her open-mouthed face into a tank of filthy water... but I'm more than happy to do it myself for her amusement!
Even if you don't win anything, you soaking yourself through is a guaranteed source of hilarity for any rug rat!
Neovian Printing Press
If there's one thing that's good for babies, it's books! Did you know that reading to your baby from a young age is proven to increase their intelligence levels? It's true! Faerie tested and approved! So you can't take your little one on a spooky Halloween tour of creepy Neopia without stopping in at the Neovian Printing Press.
Some of the books here are a little mature for infants, but there are a few that are more suited for little mites.
No Need To Be Rood is a great story that also serves as a gentle way of introducing basic manners and etiquette, ideal for older toddlers!
Lutari Photography, by contrast, is full of beautiful, interesting pictures, more suited to smaller babies who tend to zone out when you're reading anything too wordy.
And Stories from Beyond is just a good old collection of short tales, great for bedtime stories.
By now your sweet little nipper is probably pretty tuckered out after a long day exploring and enjoying Halloween, so take them home, finish off that bedtime story you just bought, and put them to bed for a restful night's sleep, uninterrupted by ghoulish nightmares.
And no matter what age you and your Neopets are, I hope you have a great Halloween and eat yourself sick with candy!