It’s almost Halloween which means most kids are clamoring for their choice of costume, and we moms are pulling our hair out trying to figure out how to make it happen. (Especially if said kids keep CHANGING THEIR MINDS!)
This stress can reach epic proportions when you’re dressing up as a family theme. But never fear, take it from someone whose family has dressed up in theme for the past eight years, it can be done and it can be fun!
1. Start Early
Early can mean months in advance, weeks in advance, or the night before. Unfortunately I’ve pulled a few night-before-Halloween all nighters. Don’t be like me.
We always start with a family meeting to discuss IF we want to dress up together or if we’d prefer to dress up individually.
While I, as the mom, LOVE that we dress up as a theme, I don’t want my kids’ biggest issue in therapy (because you know there WILL be therapy needed) to be, “I never got to be what I wanted for Halloween because my mom always made us dress up together as a theme!”
Not once in our eight years has one of the kids “gone rogue” and dressed up on his own, but every year I prepare myself that this could be the year. Usually one or several start out wanting to do their own thing, but then they start brainstorming possible themes and everyone jumps on board. I always sit back and let them decide while silently cheering when they finally land on dressing up together as a family.
Need ideas of themes? Look at popular groups of characters on tv or in books. Your best luck will be found by searching “group costume themes” online. We try to make sure each family member is proud of their costume individually and as a part of the group.
Once you’ve nailed down your theme, it’s time to forge full-steam ahead.
2. Search everywhere
You can go out and purchase costumes in stores or online, but when you’re dressing multiple family members, that can add up quickly. You might need to search elsewhere for costume parts.
In the past, I’ve put out an “all call” to family and friends searching for needed pieces. Many people have old costumes collecting dust and are all-too-happy to loan them out.
I’ve also had great luck at thrift stores. Sometimes they have whole costumes in the store, but usually I can search the racks for the various pieces I need to pull the costumes together.
Don’t sweat it if the costume is not exactly right. Close enough is perfectly fine.
Here’s the deal: most likely your kids are only going to wear this for ONE night. Sure, maybe that princess dress or jedi belt might get another go, but don’t be surprised if she trips on the sidewalk and rips her dress or he gets frustrated at his mask and “loses” it along the route. You’ll be glad you didn’t stress out trying to make it just right.
If you’re crafty, your sewing machine can also be a great way to pull the costumes together. One year I made most of the costumes (see previous comment about all nighters). Another year I purchased them exclusively from a thrift store. Typically it’s a combination of borrowing, buying, and creating from thrift store finds.
3. Have fun!
People enjoy seeing families dress up together. When we all walk along the sidewalk together from house-to-house, folks see the various characters and get a kick out of the theme. And now our neighbors and friends eagerly await the unveiling of the Meggison Halloween theme which we keep top secret until Halloween night.
Usually each costume can stand alone if we get separated on our route. The exception was when I dressed up as the Bearded Lady as part of our circus theme and then fell behind the rest of our group. Let’s just say I got a few strange looks, and I’m glad most of our neighbors already know me to be an upstanding citizen.
Dressing up as a family theme for Halloween is easier to pull together than you might expect. And since our oldest son is now 13 and our costume days are coming to an end, please let me pass the torch along to you. You’ll enjoy this fun tradition and have many “boo-tiful” memories to look back on!