I Enjoy Putting Absolutely No Thought Into My Kids’ Halloween Costumes
Don't feel bad if you're not doing some elaborate nonsense for Instagram. Free yourself!
My two oldest kids didn’t know what they wanted to be for Halloween this year, so I took them last weekend to buy costumes. My 9-year-old decided he wanted to be a football player, so I bought him a helmet and a jersey — done. My 6-year-old wanted to be a ninja, so I steered him to the less expensive of two options. My youngest two got to pick from among their brothers’ hand-me-downs and one stray second-hand Baby Shark costume; they’re both so thrilled with their selections they’re wearing them around the house randomly.
It was the easiest process imaginable. No overthinking; no complicated family costume scheme. I didn’t even entertain the idea of making costumes myself, or even spending the money for higher-end getups. And not for one minute did I feel bad about it, either. I refuse to put any more than the bare minimum into Halloween.
In a world where there are so many decisions to make regarding my kids, I’m eager to make this one easy. I’m busy with all of the day-to-day things — trying to figure out whose night it is to carpool to soccer and which vegetable I can serve that my kids are most likely to at least lick before declaring it disgusting — so I don’t mind spending $25 on a store-bought costume for my kid once a year. When Halloween night comes along, all four of my kids are excited to get dressed up and head out together for trick-or-treating, and that makes my mom heart happy.
I’m sure it makes other moms’ hearts happy to parade their children around the neighborhood in a creative, homemade costume they carefully sourced and crafted. I’m impressed by families who pull off themes. And I’m definitely missing a huge opportunity with three boys and one girl to do a family costume like Goldilocks and the Three Bears or Dorothy, Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow.
But I remember hating my homemade costumes as a kid. My mother, an amateur seamstress, made my costumes based on what fabric and pattern she could find that year at the craft store, and so one year I was Little Red Riding Hood and another year I was a witch. All I wanted to be was a princess.
Looking back, I understand the practicality of her making my costumes, and I appreciate the time and love she put in, with gorgeous results. In fact, by the time I was a teenager I was begging for her to make my costumes. But at age 7, all I wanted was for her to buy me a sparkly dress with a tiara.
Part of me feels like a lazy mom or like I don’t care enough about my kids to make sure they have a well-thought-out, original costume. But when planning for a holiday that’s sandwiched in between the madness that is back-to-school and the insanity that surrounds Christmas, I’ll keep things as easy as possible. And I like it that way.
Lauren Davidson is a Pittsburgh-based writer and editor focusing on parenting, arts and culture, and weddings. She has worked at newspapers and magazines in New England and western Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with degrees in English and French. She lives with her editor husband, four energetic kids, and one affectionate cat. Follow her on Twitter @laurenmylo.