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How To Choose A Great Kids’ Halloween Costume

A smiling toddler boy in a gray robot Halloween costume with a light blue tie, standing in front of hay bales and leaves.

Halloween is one of the most magical days in the whole year for a child

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.

Costumes Must Be Comfortable

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.

Dress for the Weather

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?

Costumes Should be Easy-on/off

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.

Costumes Must Be Safe

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 or reflective.


Dress-up Quality Costumes Last Longer

Some poorly-made costumes will barely make it through Halloween, but dress-up quality costumes, such as ones offered by One Step Ahead, 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.

There’s an Art to Choosing a Costume Together

For a costume to be successful, the little one 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.

What’s Hot?

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 style. 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.

Related Article(s):

Halloween Safety: 13 Tips for Trick-or-Treating

Halloween Safety: How to Safety-Proof Your Child’s Costume

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