I recently wrote an article about giving up on trick-or-treating. Instead of this time-honored tradition, which has been in steady decline for the last decade or so, we're opting for other family-friendly Halloween activities instead. But with the change in plans comes a bit of a complication. Some of the Halloween costumes we might have chosen in the past may have been great for just marching down the street from house to house, but they won't work so well at a Halloween party in the park or a Halloween carnival complete with an inflatable bouncy house. With our new plans, I have to ask myself - can my kids play in that costume?
Running, climbing and sitting down
Some of the coolest costumes out there, in my opinion, are totally impractical when it comes to the new Halloween routine many families now embrace. You can't sit down in a big cardboard robot suit. You can't climb on the jungle gym in a full length gown. It's pretty hard to do much of anything in a bumblebee costume as wide as it is tall with a stinger on the back.
I won a prize for the bee suit in junior high, but I couldn't even sit down once I had it on.
No, today's costumes must be versatile enough that kids can actually play in them, or really, they'll spend more time in the sweats they wore under the costume than in full regalia, and that's no fun, especially when it comes to taking pictures.
Think through the costume choices
Try to stick to costumes that wear like street clothes if you want your child to be comfortable and able to play with their friends. Face paints wear better than masks, for instance. And outfits with skirts that are too short for climbing can be made more kid-friendly by adding coordinating leggings. Try to steer your kids toward costumes that are fun, but functional.
Take group photos first
If your kids are attending a party with friends, make sure and try to take group photos first thing, before the kids start playing. That way, if one or more kids are wearing cute but impractical costumes, or if they just get hot and have to shed their outer layers, you will have already taken some great shots. Otherwise, you'll end up with photos that make it look like some of the kids showed up without any costumes at all.
I suggest taking your own kids' pictures before you even leave the house. That way, if their costume gets messed up, or they take it off and refuse to put it back on as soon as you get to the playground or carnival, you won't have to stress out over it. You'll have your great pictures, and you can just relax and let your kids have fun. And really, isn't that what Halloween is all about?
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