Although parents are actually spending a lot more time with their kids than they were fifteen years ago, many working mothers and fathers feel as though they just aren’t getting enough quality time with their kids.
If you’re feeling this way, take an upcoming holiday to set aside some serious time with your children – Halloween. Costume creation can be fun and, most importantly, can create lasting memories for your kids (and for you). But how exactly should you go about creating a memorable Halloween costume?
Creativity is the key to making a Halloween costume that your child will remember for years. Think back – which Halloween costumes do you remember wearing as a kid?
I know I was probably a pirate at some point, and I think I may also have been Indiana Jones. But these memories are vague. On the other hand, I clearly remember my mother wrapping me in tin foil so that I could be a “leftover.” (If you want to use this idea, a piece of Tupperware on the head is a nice touch). I also remember my mother painting my sister’s face pink, dressing her all in pink, and then tying a shoe to her head. She was a piece of gum. Again, she was probably a princess or a store-bought Wonder Woman for other years, but this is the costume that sticks out in my mind.
So, try to be original. If you remember some fun ideas from your own past, see if your kids would be interested.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Clark Kent – Does your son already have a Superman t-shirt? Simply have him wear a button-up shirt over it (with the first few buttons undone, of course) and get some thick-rimmed glasses. You could also slip some wire through a necktie to give it the impression of being hastily removed. Also, get some hair gel and comb his hair to the side.
- House Painter – Get a white shirt, white pants, white shoes and a white hat. Then, you and your child can have some fun getting all Jackson Pollock on the costume – grab some different colors of paint, apply it to some brushes, and simply throw paint at the clothes. (You’re going to want to put down some sheets if doing this indoors, of course.) Keep a paint bucket and paintbrush as props.
- Weather-person in a Hurricane – Get an old raincoat and tape newspaper to it in order to emulate trash blowing around. Get some hair gel and slick your child’s hair to one side to get the “wind blowing” effect. Then, give them an old microphone (or construct one out of cardboard). If you’re really good with crafts, try using some wire to make the raincoat appear as if it’s blowing to one side as well.
Very young children may not be able to remember any creative costumes that you put them in, but you’ll remember – and your child will feel special someday when they look back at the pictures. If you’re having trouble coming up with some memorable infant Halloween costumes, take a look at these for inspiration:
- Baby Carrot – Dress your infant in all orange clothing and a green hat. Voilà – baby carrot. You could use a similar approach to dress your child up as baby corn, baby spinach or baby eggplant.
- Albert Einstein – Is your child’s hair all over the place? Finally, you can just let it be and dress them up as Einstein. Get a small brown coat, some tiny glasses, and maybe even a chalkboard that says E=mc2.
- Legos – Do you have several little ones to dress up? Get some boxes and cut out holes for your children’s arms and head (it’s easiest to leave the bottom completely open). Paint each box a different color, and glue on some small plastic bowls or Tupperware to simulate the Lego knobs.
Creating Halloween memories is all about the process. Instead of coming up with ideas for your children, bring them to a thrift store and see if they find anything they like. You can also rummage through closets, the basement, the garage, storage units – anyplace where random, reusable items may be hiding. This will give them a chance to use their imagination, while providing for some fun time spent together.
To get even more family time out of this strategy, try going to your parent’s or sibling’s house and looking through closets. (Grandparents sometimes have a lifetime’s worth of clothing and items that can be used for Halloween.) Try thinking along these lines:
- Find your child’s old Guitar Hero controller in your basement? He or she could use it to dress as a rock star – spike or dye their hair, find some cool sunglasses, maybe add a bandana or spandex (if your child’s up for it, of course).
- See if any old clothing can create a theme. Did you find a bunch of old clothes from the 60s? Your son or daughter could go as a “flower child.”
- An old trench coat could be used to create a detective or 40s-style “reporter” costume.
Perhaps one of the most unforgettable costumes you could create with your child would be an outfit that resembles another family member.
For example, I remember dressing up as my uncle for Halloween one year – complete with his famous thick-rimmed glasses, wavy dark hair, Notre Dame sweatshirt and distinctive handlebar mustache. It was a Halloween that he (and I) would never forget. In this vein, you could also use another family member’s distinct clothing to create a costume. While an “army man” costume might not be that memorable on its own, it’ll be much more special if your child wears a family member’s camouflage jacket or dog tags.
Lastly, don’t forget that Halloween is more than just the costume – play along with your kids! If your child is dressed as Clark Kent, perhaps you could be Superman’s father Jor-El or mother Lara. If you have the time to create a haunted house for your kids and their friends, you’ll no doubt create long-lasting memories regardless of your child’s costume.
[Guest post by Mitch O'Conner]