Thankfully for parents, Halloween costumes for kids have come a long way in the last few years. You don’t have to rely on your personal handiness with a sewing machine or your ability to throw together something brilliant from the castoffs in your closet anymore (though we have nothing but respect for the people who do have those special skills).
In the era of pre-fabricated jumpsuits and off-the-rack fuzzy outfits, getting your child ready to celebrate their first Halloween has never been easier.
Disney, for example, offers costumes for babies and kids that tie into their popular movie franchises, like The Incredibles, the Marvel films and, of course, the Disney princesses.
If you’d rather skip the marquee branded characters, discount and online retailers offer dozens of cute options, including animals, birds, insects, fruit, vegetables, and clever riffs on popular products in a range of sizes.
Grabbing what you need in the size that will be most comfortable for your baby is the work of minutes.
Which isn’t to say it’ll be a total cake walk.
Consider the holiday from the baby’s point of view and Halloween looks a bit nuts. Instead of hanging out in your perfectly warm home, he’s going to go wandering with you after dark through the neighbourhood, probably dressed in some kind of thick wearable blanket with a hood, hat or tail. Other adults will pop out of their doors to squeal at him in delight as they offer candy. And then you’ll do it again, and again, and again. (Isn’t the endless repetition of amusing actions supposed to be his job?)
Suffice to say, Halloween marks a bit a departure from everyday life and clothing built for comfort.
Some babies take the occasion in stride. Others may freak out. And our very best wishes go with you if your baby happens to be sick that day. (Nothing puts the trick in Halloween like a little stomach flu or a fever.)
Here's one of our favorite First Halloween stories
from the LifeTales community.
Your Halloween Stories
"Cairo's Spaceman Meltdown."
“I dressed my son, Cairo, as an astronaut for his second Halloween. He was a
hot mess. It was a chaotic evening with the doorbell ringing and the dogs going bonkers with anxiety and his wild mood. It was probably caused by a combination of the sugar—I let him have a lollipop—and exhaustion, coming on the heels of his costume parade at daycare. It was a lot of fun though.”
“We got a hand-me down pumpkin costume from a family friend whose children had outgrown it. I couldn’t keep the hood on Jack’s head, or the matching slippers on his feet, but he tolerated the pumpkin jumper. He wasn’t walking, so we didn’t bother trying to go trick-or-treating in our neighbourhood. Instead, we visited his grandparents’ house and another family friend’s place.
When Jason was born, he wore the same costume and stayed home to give out candy with his dad while Jack, who was nearly three by that point, went trick-or-treating with me.”
"How many homes should I visit?"
Pace yourself by your child’s age and stamina for social stimulation when Halloween arrives. If your baby is under three months old, you might wish to keep the visiting to a minimum (in North America, Halloween coincides with the start of flu season).
Older babies with more stamina and immunity may be up for visiting a handful of houses, but you’ll either need to carry them or provide a a lot of help, particularly if there are steep stairs where you live. Pace your expectations and go at your child’s speed. As they grow, there’ll be plenty of time to develop a candy acquisition strategy suitable for scouring the whole neighbourhood.
"Should I just stay home and give out candy?"
Do what works for you, your baby and your family. Since older children are a source of endless fascination for babies, being able to see older kids come by in their costumes may also be a fun experience for your child. If he’s walking or cruising, he may want to go to the door with you.
If your child is sleeping and you’re concerned about noise from ringing doorbells waking him up, keep your door ajar or put a sign out letting kids know they should knock. If temperature conditions allow, you can also sit outside the door with a candy bowl and baby monitor.
If you have a two-parent family and older children, one parent can stay home while the other trick-or-treats with the kids. If you’d rather not miss out on the fun, leave the candy bowl outside so trick-or-treaters can help themselves and go out as a group. Your child can always sleep in the stroller while you explore your temporarily haunted neighbourhood.
"Should I expect my daycare or preschool to participate? How common are costume parades?"
It depends on the daycare and their programs, although Halloween is widely celebrated in the United States, Canada, and in parts of Europe, Asia and Australia (read more about where Halloween is celebrated on Wikipedia). In larger preschools (especially those attached to a school, community center or larger institution), seeing the children all dressed up is a special treat.
Ask your care providers if they celebrate Halloween and how best to participate well in advance. They may also have restrictions on the type of costumes allowed.
In general, a simple costume that’s easy to put on and take off will make life easier for your child’s caregivers or teachers when your child needs to be changed.
Our Quick Tips for a Successful First Halloween
- Pick a costume that’s easy to take on and off. A baby’s sense of timing can be impeccable when you’re trying to get somewhere, and the last thing you need is a fussy costume with lots of snaps or buttons that’s a pain to take on and off when you’ve got a diaper emergency.
- Have a back-up plan in case that diaper emergency goes south on you. It doesn’t have to be expensive, either. As Pregnancy Magazine suggests, you can always stick him in a plain white onesie, put a pair of sunglasses on his head and say he’s Tom Cruise in Risky Business.
- Consider a family theme if you really love Halloween and/or have more than one child. Pinterest has some great suggestions for group costumes.
- Prevent older children or well-intentioned adults from feeding your baby candy that he might not be ready to eat. Keep an eye out for choke hazards like gum and popcorn.
- Explore alternate activities, like community costume parades and visits to the pumpkin patch. Halloween doesn’t have to mean trick-or-treating.
- Take it easy, especially if your baby isn’t sleeping well. Turn off the porch light and stay in for a Halloween-inspired TV binge watch or movie night. Teen Vogue has a great list of movies for people who don’t like being scared, while Vogue’s got a list of classic and new Halloween movies and TV shows that make for perfect October viewing.
- Make it complicated. At its core, Halloween is a fun, silly holiday. Your baby is too young to have any preconceived expectations of how his first Halloween should go. Enjoy yourself and go with the flow.
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