How to Make or Break Your Kid’s Entire Life: Halloween Costume Edition

You have the power in your hands. The power to make or break your child’s popularity standings, baby cool factor and, really, to impact the trajectory of their entire future, and this is the month when it happens.

Halloween is almost here.

You have one shot, one opportunity to seize control of your child’s destiny. You can either make them awesome, or you can dress them as a clown. A literal clown. Let me just tell you right now, parents, this is not something that will ever be approved of, smiled upon, or reminisced about fondly by your children. I speak from experience and count this as just one of the life events that has shaped me into the person that I am today (which, in translation, means it scarred me for life). Here, let’s reminisce . . . not that I remember like it was yesterday, or think about it frequently, or carry 25 years of costume-related bitterness around with me.

We took a hiatus from Halloween while growing up. In fact, the last year I can remember doing anything Halloween-ish was this one year when my mom took us to a homeschool kid fall festival thing. Because we had previously planned on Halloween-ing, we had costumes already picked out. My sister and I were outfitted as little clowns. Questionable choice to begin with, but let’s just go with it. When we got there, we walked in, all clown-suited and made-up and wigged-up, and . . . every freaking other person there is dressed as a Bible character. Seriously. There were about 15 angels and then every other person basically had on a tunic (is that the correct Biblical terminology for this type of raiment?) and a towel as a turban on their head. So, cue this mental image: My three-year-old sister and me with tears running ludicrously through the painstakingly-applied clown makeup and all these other stuffy, extra-holy parents glaring at my mother for bringing us to the event in heathenish attire, and you can see why I have Halloween-related PTSD and why it’s extra-important to me to make sure my daughter is AWESOME when it comes to her holiday garb.

Last year, one of my sisters was living with us and helping us out with my daughter. According to my husband, we started talking Halloween costumes in May. In our defense, it was not an easy task. We had to:

  1. Come up with an ensemble costume for four,
  2. Ensure that the baby costume is the star-studded central attraction of the costumed coterie, and
  3. Convince my husband to fill whichever masculine role is required.

After those hurdles are cleared, then—and only then—can the actual important process of procuring the costumes begin.

So, after we thought through, mulled, and googled dozens of options, we finally settled on . . . Neverland.

Look how thrilled my husband is. He was born to be Peter Pan.

Look how thrilled my husband is. He was born to be Peter Pan.

That’s right. We believed in fairies, we headed for the second star to the right and straight on until morning. We could fly. Okay, well, actually, we couldn’t fly. I got a little carried away with my Peter Pan quotes just then. Sorry, peeps.

Somehow, possibly with a lot of bribery and bargaining, we convinced my husband to be Peter Pan; I was Wendy; my sister was Tiger Lily; and the baby, the pièce de résistance, was, of course, Tinkerbell.

I spent an unlawful amount of money on her costume. Really. Pre-baby: If anyone else told me the amount of money I would spend on basically a skein of yarn, I would have been incredulous. I would have mocked that person. Post-baby me is all like, “Here, nice Etsy vendor, take my credit card number, and have my left kidney while you’re at it. Anything else?”

The oohs and the aahs were totally worth it. It was a clown-free moment of good triumphing over evil. And, I loved it. To date, that night, spent with our best friends and their daughter at their church’s Trunk or Treat, has stuck with me as one of my favorite first-year-of-life memories.

So, how do you make sure you can Halloween-it-up with the best of them? Here are my suggestions for awesome costumes for different size squads. Choose wisely, because as we all know, this is going to define your child’s social standing for life, and determine which lunch table they get to sit at, decide how many candy canes they get in high school (you go Glen Coco), whether they get into an Ivy League school, and what-not. You know, the really important stuff. And so, I present . . . Costumes to Help Your Family Win at Life.

Solo

  • Old lady. Please, please someone do this and take pictures. Old lady babies are excellent. So much in common—the gummy smiles, the walkers, the diapers . . . TMI?
  • Your favorite sports figure. Please include baby facial hair, and, if you’re thinking Spurs, it’s never too late to go with Broken-Nose Manu circa 2010. (Bonus spooky points if you bring along a toy bat for baby to swat. And totally off-topic, Manu was a real baller that year.)
  • Give a shout out to local San Antonio-liciousness with some Whataburger love. Small fry for the win, with bonus Fancy Ketchup.
  • In fact, any food-related costume automatically gets a shout-out from me, because how awesome are kids who say, “Forget the princess dress, I think I’ll be a doughnut!” Or mac-and-cheese. The world would be a happier place if we had more mac-and-cheese kids.
cupcake

Tow-mater cupcakes. Obviously must be a southern delicacy.

doughnut

In a world of princesses, be a doughnut. Sweet, satisfying, and sprinkled with creativity. And sprinkles.

Any kid who can wear balloon grapes has my respect. Also, take note of the axe murderer on the side. Oh, for the more innocent days of the 90s.

Any kid who can wear balloon grapes has my respect. Also, take note of the ax murderer on the side. Oh, for the more innocent days of the 90s.

macncheese

  • The latest and greatest technology. iPhone baby was a smash sensation when the phone first came out. No clue on how you might be able to dress baby as an Amazon Echo, but, hey, the Snapchat ghost might be a cutting edge and easy option?

 

iPhone baby stroller Halloween costumeIt’s a Crowd

  • Lobster in a pot. With chefs. You’ve probably seen this on Pinterest, because it was so stinking cute that it flooded the internet a couple of years ago. It’s still cute, and the pot gives you a built-in baby carrying device. Win on all levels.
  • Ninja Turtles.
  • Despicable Me squad. Because what everyone needs to hear the Minion singing and sounds allll night long.
  • Most of the good crowd themes come from favorite movies, but can’t decide on just one? Go as leads from everyone’s favorite movies.
Indiana Jones, Sandy, Toothless and Marty McFly - so much protagonist in one picture

Indiana Jones, Sandy, Toothless and Marty McFly—so much protagonist in one picture

  • Hogwarts houses. You could even add a little Dumbledore flair, and obviously you have to dress your favorite kid as Ravenclaw, because, well, we’re the best. Don’t even try to argue otherwise . . . muggle.
Okay, so it's no Ravenclaw, but who can complain when Gryffindors are this cute?

Okay, so it’s no Ravenclaw, but who can complain when Gryffindors are this cute?

Any Disney character or ensemble is an easy win. Think about some of the following (with bonus points if you veer outside the usual and/or pry the Frozen costume out of your kid’s recalcitrant fingers . . . and I’m not even going to make the obvious joke there. Stop singing to yourself.).

  • Boo, Sully, and Mike from Monsters, Inc.
  • Sleeping Beauty has plenty of good characters for everyone. Bonus points to moms who give their daughters a sword, too, because girl power.

You go Princess. Wield that sword!

  • We totes won’t be mad if you go with the Neverland theme. Think of the possibilities. You’ve got Smee, Hook, Lost Boys, and the list goes on and on.
  • Snow White. I include her not because she’s original but only because I’ve been typecast and have been SW for Halloween no less than five times in my life. Curse of the blue-eyed brunette. Sheesh.
Second born, second place. Please note that while I have a handmade Snow White costume, my sister is dressed in a Christmas sweater and a Dallas Cowboys beanie.

Second born, second place. Please note that while I have a handmade Snow White costume, my sister is dressed in a Christmas sweater and a Dallas Cowboys beanie.

Major props for creativity with Wall-E. And, Wall-E and Super Girl can unite forces and save the world.

Major props for creativity with Wall-E. And, Wall-E and Super Girl can unite forces and save the world.

 

Don’t. Just Don’ts.

  • I may have mentioned this before, but clowns.
  • Partisan politicking. While no one in their right mind is going to turn up their nose at a tiny young, scrappy, and hungry Alexander Hamilton, this election year is crazy enough without inflicting other people’s opinions regarding your political views on your kids.
  • Hooters infant. If you want to be a Hooters girl, go for it. If you’ve been one, good for you. But . . . there’s just something wrong about giving a baby fake boobs. On second thought, just steer clear of any sexy baby attire, mmmkay?

Bonus Points and Honorable Mentions for Mom-stumes

The best mom costumes are going to be either (a) comfy, (b) related to current affairs and/or pop culture, (c) nostalgic, or (d) all of the above. These are some of the best ones out there:

Miss Teen South Carolina circa 2007 - "uhmmm, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and uh, I believe that our, I, education like such as uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere..."

Miss Teen South Carolina circa 2007—”uhmmm, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and uh, I believe that our, I, education like such as uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere . . .”

Everyon's favorite icon of Americana - the Lunch Lady

Everyone’s favorite icon of Americana—the Lunch Lady

Any costume that doesn't require pants is a winner

Any costume that doesn’t require pants is a winner

Happy Haunting, you guys!

P.S. To answer the most-asked question about our Halloween shenanigans: No, my husband did not wear tights with his Peter Pan costume. The fact that they actually make Peter Pan costumes that include tights for men is a crime in and of itself.

P.P.S. My mom would want you to know that next year following the clown-pocalypse, she made me a Ruth costume, and I totally rocked the robe-and-towel Biblical garb.

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