Keep it simple

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!

Originally Published: 
Lais Borges/Scary Mommy; Getty

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.

This article was originally published on