If you know me personally, I think it would be fairly easy for you to assume that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s not! I am a WOO girl at heart who loves a great excuse to dress up–theme or not–and celebrate just about anything. You want a mommy-night out with karaoke from YouTube on the phone? I’m your girl! You want a Friends-themed wedding shower or a Harry Potter-themed baby shower? I will go all-in! However, Halloween is a whole different ballgame.
My husband LOVES Halloween. He loves haunted houses, hay-rides, costumes, scary movies, and all the rest. If I had my way, I would just hand out candy in a witch hat but he always wants to go big. When we had our daughter, I knew it was the start of the family-themed costume life for us. What I didn’t anticipate was all the pressure I would put on myself to get it right each year. We are three years in and each year I find little tips and tricks to making this pressure I put on myself more manageable and, dare I say it? Fun!<insert gasp of horror>
Find a balance
We have had costumes we have purchased, made, thrifted, and borrowed. You don’t have to buy a costume to have fun and stand out. Instead, ask around your friend community and see what they have that you could potentially borrow. Pull out old items you may have in the closet and get creative. Parents are always tell our children to think out of the box, so get them involved too! Remember, that cardboard box becomes anything you want if you let your imagination wonder. Our first year dressing up, I sewed costumes for us, but I found out it wasn’t my favorite pastime, so I will probably never go sewing-heavy again.
Figure out what works for you
Do what works for you and your family. Put minimal stress on yourself when trying to make it all work, this is a time to have fun and make memories. No one will remember if a beard isn’t on straight, the snowsuit makes the costume too tight, or the snow boots just do not match the crown on someone’s head. What everyone will remember is the laughter, the journey, and the great photos!
Thrift it out
Thrift stores are awesome for finding pieces to fit your theme. Look for something that is close to your vision and be creative. We were characters from Annie a few years ago and the floor length fur coat I was wearing was a gem of a find at a thrift shop, as was the head scarf and nightie – creating an intriguing Ms. Hannigan if I do say so myself!
4. Color palettes do wonders
The internet has many pre-made color palettes of popular characters. Find the colors that define the character you are trying to dress as and look for pieces that support it. When we were characters from Beauty and the Beast, it was easy to purchase a Belle costume for a child. Transforming myself into Mrs. Potts, however, wasn’t quite so easy. I chose to bring pops of color from her character into my own outfit to help make the transformation believable and bring cohesiveness to our costumes.
Do it for you!
I don’t think anything else needs to be said: do it for you!
This year we are characters from Moana, my husband’s choice in honor of his Pacific Islander heritage. If my daughter had it her way it would be Frozen, but he believes the time will come all too soon when she doesn’t want us to dress up with her anymore (she doesn’t know yet that we will ALWAYS dress up; her teenage years will be fun). Our daughter will be Moana. I purchased her costume the week following Halloween last year.
Pro tip: always go get the discounted costumes for your dress up bin!
My husband will be Maui–this is the first year we are outright purchasing a costume for him–and I will be Te Fiti, a combo homemade look. I bought a green wig from a local costume shop and found a green cape at a thrift shop. I will add fake flowers around the cape and also use those to make a crown.
I know that this year will be different for many of us–we can’t specifically count on the usual tick-or-treating routine. We are making plans with some friends and family so that we can swing by with our daughter and gather a little goody bags that I will have left at their homes previously. It’s a way for us to get out and enjoy a tradition safely. Whatever you and your family do, have fun, be well, and make memories!