Halloween is one of the most magical days in the whole kid year, and the magic is all too fleeting.
Think about it: each year, your child's costume will be captured forever in family memories, stories, photos, and videos. You're not just choosing a Halloween costume, you're weaving family history-in-the-making. That's why it pays to take your time and choose a really terrific costume.
At One Step Ahead, our merchandisers—many who are also parents—evaluate hundreds of costumes before making their picks for our collections. We also listen carefully to our customer reviewers as well as our Parents' and Kids' Panels. Here's what we've learned from all of them about choosing a great kids' costume.
If kids are uncomfortable, they can't enjoy themselves. Period. A stiff, scratchy, poorly-constructed costume can cast a shadow over the entire day. So look for soft, quality fabrics, roomy cuts, finished seams and edges, and a little "give," whether through stretchy fabrics or elasticized waists. Check sizing information carefully.
If you live in a cold climate, look for costumes that offer warmth, like buntings for babies, furry animal jumpsuits, or bubble-suits, which are designed for easy layering. Instead of throwing an everyday parka over that glorious princess costume, how about adding an elegant cape?
Having to wrestle your child in and out of a complicated costume will detract from the fun for both of you. Look for costumes with long zippers, snaps, or cleverly detailed one-piece jumpsuits that only look elaborate. If you're potty training or diaper changing, factor that into account.
Trick-or-treaters need to be able to walk well in their costume (no too-big shoes or heels), see well (make sure masks and hoods don't hamper vision), and be visible. (Read our article on safety-proofing costumes for steps you can take to make your child's costume safer.)
Some poorly-made costumes will barely make it through Halloween, but dress-up quality costumes (the kind we sell) live on to inspire imaginative role-play. A dress-up quality costume—in a character your child is absolutely crazy about—will spark creativity and offer much greater play value. For example, princess costumes and hero costumes are can't-lose role-play investments.
For a costume to be successful, the little person wearing it has to love it just as much as you do. You only have two or three years to do all of the choosing, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Even a two or three year old may have pretty firm ideas about what he or she wants to wear. In this case, one solution might be to pre-select three or four costumes, print or cut out their images, and then let your child choose.
For older kids, approach the costume selection process as fun bonding time. Often it's easier if you set the limits—warmth, cost, age-appropriateness—upfront.
Every year, there are a few really popular kids' costumes. They usually revolve around hot kids' movies and TV shows. Traditional Halloween-themed costumes like witches and monsters are forever in vogue. We've also found that classic storybook characters, "when I grow up" heroes, and animal costumes are always big hits.
In other words, as long as your child's costume is adorable and comfortable, and you're both wild about it, then that costume is a keeper.
Have a magical Halloween, and enjoy every second. Because Halloween magic is all-too fleeting, and little trick or treaters don't stay little for long.
© 2013 One Step Ahead