Why I gave up trying to create the perfect Halloween costume
Late-night sewing machine sessions and multiple trips to the craft store left this mom wondering - who was more interested in creating a memorable costume, them or me? Photo: courtesy of Julie Vick In elementary school I went as a soda maker for Halloween. My dad made the costume by painting a box of devices […]

Late-night sewing machine sessions and multiple trips to the craft store left this mom wondering - who was more interested in creating a memorable costume, them or me?

Young Girl Dressed in Pepsi Vending Machine

Photo: courtesy of Julie Vick

In elementary school I went as a soda maker for Halloween. My dad made the costume by painting a box of devices to look like a vending machine and cutting out holes for the arms and face. It was perfect for the Colorado Halloweens of my youth, where snow often made an appearance, and a cute Tinkerbell costume had to be covered with a parka.

It snowed on Halloween when I was carrying the soda maker and a thin layer of flakes piled up on top of the box as I walked from door to door collecting candy. Later that night, the snow melted and ran down the side of the costume, smearing some of the paint. But the box stood up to all the Halloween events that year and helped me get a month's worth of mini chocolate bars and gummy treats, so I was okay with letting it go. As a fan of spontaneity and mischief, my dad always loved Halloween and loved helping me create my costumes. Another year, he made a portable Rubik's cube box for me by carefully measuring and painting the colored squares on the sides.

Dumbledore, Moana, Captain Hook, Rey, Canadian rocket, rain cloud 38 best store-bought Halloween costumes for kids When I had my own kids, I remembered the soda maker and some of the other unique costumes I wore as a kid. During the first Halloweens of my children's lives, my husband and I tried to make costumes or modify store-bought ones to make them unique. One year we sewn felt tips on a shirt to turn it into a hedgehog costume, and another year we created Batman and Robin outfits by buying capes and sewing felt logos onto tight clothing.

The Batman and Robin costumes turned out to be the last my dad would see my kids in, and after his death I felt a renewed desire to create memorable costumes. Putting work in its uniqueness was a good way to remember him and pass on a tradition.

But last fall, as we were browsing a big box store, my sons snagged two store-bought costumes: a black cat and a hot dog. It was late September, and since kids change their minds about Halloween costumes about as often as performers change in a Broadway show, I was hesitant to buy them. Should I stall a little longer? Try to recreate similar costumes at home? I had also seen the vast wasteland that is a vacation section in store a few days before Halloween and didn't want the outfits to be ripped off by someone else if the boys had hearts attached to them. I decided to buy them and keep the tags, figuring I could return them if they changed my mind.

While I can appreciate the uniqueness of homemade Halloween costumes, they can be difficult to put together around work and other obligations. Previous Halloweens had involved late-night sewing machine sessions and multiple trips to the overwhelming aisles of a craft store to complete them on time. Unique homemade costumes can also be difficult to re-use or pass on, and there are many parental desires associated with children's clothing - who was more interested in creating a memorable costume, them or me?

child dressed as Rubik's Cube

Photo: courtesy of Julie Vick

This past Halloween my oldest son was steadfast in his desire to be a black cat, so he wore the costume we bought. My youngest son browsed through a series of costumes we had around the house for various Halloween events - Spider-Man, a leopard, a superhero, and the hot dog.

They both seemed happy with their choices and enjoyed celebrating the holidays, which I realized mattered more than any perfect Pinterest vacation visions I had in my head. In the future, if any of my kids are keen on becoming a dark inanimate object, I'll be more than happy to help them create it, but if they just want to throw a sheet over them. head and go like a ghost, so be it.

After last Halloween we added the hot dog and cat to our dress up clothes box, and now my kids sometimes don a costume to jump on the trampoline or complete a homemade obstacle course. It's nice to see them take more advantage of it. Sometimes when I watch a hot dog and a black cat have an impromptu basement dance party in June, I stop and think how entertained my dad would be to see them too.

This article was originally published online in October 2018.

Read more:
22 cute and easy Halloween costumes for babies
10 easy ways to tell if your child's Halloween costume is offensive


Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

CREDIT : HEATHER WESTONSet Smart LimitsTake charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely. Don’t clip your child’s wings. Your toddler’s mission in life is to gain independence. So when she’s developmentally capable of putting her toys away, clearing her plate from the table, and herself, let her. Giving a child responsibility is good for her self-esteem ( and your sanity ! ).

Don’t try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child’s minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her, you teach her self-reliance and resilience.

Pick your battles. Kids can’t absorb too many rules without turning off completely. Forget arguing about little stuff like fashion choices and occasional potty language. Focus on the things that really matter -- that means no hitting, rude talk, or lying.

Play with your children. Let them choose the activity, and don’t worry about rules. Just go with the flow and have fun. That’s the name of the game.

Read books together every day. Get started when he’s a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents’ voices. Cuddling up with your child and a book is a great bonding experience that will set him up for a lifetime of reading.

Schedule daily special time. Let your child choose an activity where you hang out together for 10 or 15 minutes with no interruptions. There’s no better way for you to show your love.

Encourage daddy time. The greatest untapped resource available for improving the lives of our children is time with Dad -- early and often. Kids with engaged fathers do better in school, problem-solve more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them.

Make warm memories. Your children will probably not remember anything that you say to them, but they will recall the family rituals -- like bedtimes and game night -- that you do together.

Be the role model your children deserve. Kids learn by watching their parents. Modeling appropriate, respectful, good behavior works much better than telling them what to do.

Fess up when you blow it. This is the best way to show your child how and when she should apologize.

Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

Live a little greener. Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, recycle, reuse, and conserve each day. Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighborhood.

Always tell the truth. It’s how you want your child to behave, right ? Kiss and hug your spouse in front of the kids. Your marriage is the only example your child has of what an intimate relationship styles, feels, and sounds like. So it’s your emploi to set a great standard.

Give appropriate praise. Instead of simply saying, ' You’re great, ' try to be specific about what your child did to deserve the positive feedback. You might say, ' Waiting until I was off the phone to ask for cookies was hard, and I really liked your patience. '

Cheer the good stuff. When you notice your child doing something helpful or nice, let him know how you feel. It’s a great way to reinforce good behavior so he’s more likely to keep doing it.

Gossip about your kids. Fact : What we overhear is far more potent than what we are told directly. Make praise more effective by letting your child ' catch ' you whispering a compliment about him to Grandma, Dad, or even his teddy.

Give yourself a break. Hitting the drive-through when you’re too tired to cook doesn’t make you a bad père.

Trust your mommy gut. No one knows your child better than you. Follow your instincts when it comes to his health and well-being. If you think something’s wrong, chances are you’re right. Just say ' No. ' Resist the urge to take on extra obligations at the office or become the Volunteer Queen at your child’s school. You will never, ever regret spending more time with your children.

Don’t accept disrespect from your child. Never allow her to be rude or say hurtful things to you or anyone else. If she does, tell her firmly that you will not tolerate any form of disrespect. Pass along your plan. Mobilize the other caregivers in your child’s life -- your spouse, grandparents, daycare worker, babysitter -- to help reinforce the values and the behavior you want to instill. This includes everything from saying thank you and being kind to not whining.

Ask your children three ' you ' questions every day. The art of conversation is an important social skill, but parents often neglect to teach it. Get a kid going with questions like, ' Did you have fun at school ? ' ; ' What did you do at the party you went to ? ' ; or ' Where do you want to go tomorrow afternoon ? ' Teach kids this bravery trick. Tell them to always notice the color of a person’s eyes. Making eye contact will help a hesitant child appear more confident and will help any kid to be more assertive and less likely to be picked on.

Acknowledge your kid’s strong emotions. When your child’s meltdown is over, ask him, ' How did that feel ? ' and ' What do you think would make it better ? ' Then listen to him. He’ll recover from a tantrum more easily if you let him talk it out.

Show your child how to become a responsible citizen. Find ways to help others all year. Kids gain a sense of self-worth by volunteering in the community. Don’t raise a spoiled kid. Keep this thought in mind : Every child is a treasure, but no child is the center of the universe. Teach him accordingly.

Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early : When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why. Explain to your kids why values are important. The simple answer : When you’re kind, generous, honest, and respectful, you make the people around you feel good. More important, you feel good about yourself.

Set up a ' gratitude circle ' every night at dinner. Go around the table and take turns talking about the various people who were generous and kind to each of you that day. It may sound corny, but it makes everyone feel good.

Serve a food again and again. If your child rejects a new dish, don’t give up hope. You may have to offer it another six, eight, or even 10 times before he eats it and decides he likes it. Avoid food fights. A healthy child instinctively knows how much to eat. If he refuses to finish whatever food is on his plate, just let it go. He won’t starve.

Eat at least one meal as a family each day. Sitting down at the table together is a relaxed way for everyone to connect -- a time to share happy news, talk about the day, or tell a silly joke. It also helps your kids develop healthy eating vêtements. Let your kids place an order. Once a week, allow your children to choose what’s for dinner and cook it for them.

Say ' I love you ' whenever you feel it, even if it’s 743 times a day. You simply can not spoil a child with too many mushy words of affection and too many smooches. Not possible. Keep in mind what grandmoms always say. Children are not yours, they are only lent to you for a time. In those fleeting years, do your best to help them grow up to be good people. Savor the moments. Yes, parenthood is the most exhausting travail on the planet. Yes, your house is a mess, the laundry’s piled up, and the dog needs to be walked. But your kid just laughed. Enjoy it now -- it will be over far too fast.

Teach your baby to sign. Just because a child can’t talk doesn’t mean there isn’t lots that she’d like to say. Simple signs can help you know what she needs and even how she feels well before she has the words to tell you -- a great way to reduce frustration. Keep the tube in the family room. Research has repeatedly shown that children with a TV in their bedroom weigh more, sleep less, and have lower grades and poorer social skills. P. S. Parents with a television in their bedroom have sex less often. Get kids moving. The latest research shows that brain development in young children may be linked to their activity level. Place your baby on her tummy several times during the day, let your toddler walk instead of ride in her stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise.

Get your kids vaccinated. Outbreaks of measles and other diseases still occur in our country and throughout the world. Protect that smile. Encouraging your kid to brush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste will guard against cavities. Be averti about safety. Babyproof your home thoroughly, and never leave a child under 5 in the tub alone. Make sure car seats are installed correctly, and insist that your child wear a helmet when riding his bike or scooter. Listen to the doc. If your pediatrician thinks your kid’s fever is caused by a malware, don’t push for antibiotics. The best medicine may be rest, lots of fluids, and a little TLC. Overprescribing antibiotics can cause medical problems for your child and increase the probabilités of creating superbugs that resist treatment.

Keep sunblock next to your kid’s toothpaste. Apply it every day as part of the morning routine. It’ll become as natural as brushing her teeth. Put your baby to bed drowsy but still awake. This helps your child learn to soothe himself to sleep and prevents bedtime problems down the line. Know when to toilet train. Look for these two signs that your child is ready to use the potty : He senses the urge to pee and poop ( this is different from knowing that he’s already gone ), and he asks for a diaper change.

SHOP NOW

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *