5 Things to Have in Your Dress-Up Bin, and How to Help Your Preschooler Choose a Halloween Costume

Eliza Clark
October 7, 2008

We love thinking about our little ones' wild and ever-churning imaginations and Halloween together. The holiday seems made-to-order for the preschooler mind (not to mention the preschooler sweet tooth). Dressing up on Halloween night, and for all the Halloween parties and parades that tend to precede it, is just an extension of our kids' constant drive to try on new outfits, costumes and roles.

That is why this year, rather than focusing on the question of "what are the kids going to wear for Halloween?", we are instead thinking about how best to stock their dress-up bin so that they can enjoy the fun all year long. And that way, when the great night arrives, they'll have plenty of options to choose from (because we all know how they love to change their minds at the last minute!).

Inspired by a passage in Amanda Soule's wonderful book, The Creative Family, we recommend the following for every preschooler's dress-up collection:

Scarves -- of all shades, fabrics and styles, they can become skirts, headdresses, capes, veils, you name it!

Hats -- always a huge hit, the little ones can never have too much headgear.

Shoes -- don't throw away your worn out dancing shoes, whatever you do! They have a very promising second life ahead of them in your child's fantasy world.

Accessories -- jewelry, sun glasses, ties, belts, and bags. Children know exactly how important they are!

Makeup and face paint -- best saved for special occasions because it will make a mess; a grand, fun mess, but still a mess. And be sure you have good makeup remover in the house....

The best thing about all these items is that you can scrounge most of them up from the back of your own closet, or an expedition into grandmother's attic. Thrift stores also have all these and more quirky gems in abundance.

And when we're looking to splurge on a gorgeous princess or witch or pirate or fireman or animal costume, we love browsing these sites (and so do our kids):  

Chasing Fireflies  

One Step Ahead 

Magic Cabin

In short, our best advice for helping the little ones to choose a Halloween costume is: have a well-stocked dress-up collection; go ahead and let them pick out a special costume; but don't be dismayed if they decide not to wear it on the big night, but go for an old favorite instead -- the new costume has every other day of the year to get lots of playtime.

From the Parents

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