Little girl dressed as a ladybug going trick-or-treating with her parents

Taking the Stress Out of Costumes

Children between the ages of 3 and 5 are at a developmental stage where imagination is key. As a result, preschoolers typically love to play dress-up and especially love choosing costumes during this time of year! Here are some tips to help keep things fun and manageable when deciding on this year’s perfect outfit:

  • Celebrate your child’s imagination. This is a time when “magical thinking” is natural for children. In their minds, they can transform into super heroes, princess fairies or their favorite cartoon characters. Allow your child to embrace these experiences as they are part of her normal development.
  • Start planning early. Ask your child what he wants to be and begin the process of making or shopping for the costume ahead of time. If you wait until the last minute, you might not find the preferred costume, which could lead to significant disappointment or an unnecessary meltdown in the middle of the store.   
  • Involve your child. If you plan to create your child’s costume at home, engage her in the process and ask for input. Making a costume can be a fun bonding experience and is a great opportunity to empower your little one to share her vision and ideas.
  • Check for comfort. When buying a costume, be sure to check for scratchy seams or uncomfortable fabric, which may cause discomfort during trick-or-treating. If possible, have your child wear the costume around the store to make sure it’s comfortable before making a purchase.
  • Allow your child to wear the costume before he goes trick-or-treating. For preschoolers, identifying with the character they chose to dress up as does not need to be limited to one evening. If your child wants to wear the costume around the house the week prior to trick-or-treat time, let him!
  • Be prepared in case your child becomes afraid. While it’s beneficial to celebrate the power of imagination, it’s also important to remind your child what is real and what is pretend. There are often scary-looking figures at this time of year, so be ready to remind your child that they are just people dressed up in costumes or made up decorations.

Toddler in halloween costume