With fall officially here, it's almost time to start enjoying cooler nights and crisp autumn air. It also means Halloween will be here in the blink of an eye, so it's time to start brainstorming potential popular costume ideas for your little one. Whether store bought or homemade, it's important to consider a few key issues when choosing a Halloween costume for your child to ensure a fun and safe trick-or-treating experience.
Nothing can turn the magic of Halloween night into a real-life nightmare faster than an itchy costume, so it's critical the fabric is soft and breathable, as well as flame resistant. Forego any costume that does not specifically contain the label “Flame Resistant” or “Flame Retardant,” suggests the CPSC, even if that means your tot has to go with his second choice. A flame retardant costume may still catch fire, but will be more resistant to fire and will extinguish quicker compared to a costume that is not flame resistant.
Light, bright-colored costumes are the best for trick-or-treating since they allow motorists to see children more easily, but don't fret if your preschooler dreams of being his favorite Disney pirate character or a classic black cat. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends adding reflective tape to costumes, candy buckets, and/or shoes to increase visibility among motorists. Wearing glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets or carrying a flashlight are other options if reflective tape is hard to come by.
A comfortable kid on Halloween night is a happy kid, making proper fit in a costume essential for an enjoyable night trick-or-treating. Choose a snug-fitting costume (but not tight) and avoid anything with billowing sleeves, which are a fire hazard. Baggy bottoms or long, flowing skirts that may cause your child to trip are also discouraged. A good costume will allow your child to move freely and comfortably throughout the night without making her too hot or too cold, or interfering in any way as she walks.
Use non-toxic cosmetics, if at all possible, in place of a synthetic mask since a mask can interfere with a child's ability to see properly. If a mask is a must, make sure it fits securely on your child's head but does not restrict his breathing or obstruct his vision in any way. If the costume comes with a hat or wig, secure it so that it does not fall down into his eyes.
Though they're often the deciding factor when it comes to what costume a child chooses for Halloween, accessories are a critical consideration for parents. Make sure knives, swords, and guns are soft and flexible, avoiding any that are made of hard plastic. Consider the length of the accessory as well since canes, sticks, or wands that are too long can cause a child to trip and fall.
An age-appropriate costume means more than just double-checking the skirt length on your child's zombie cheerleader costume. While risqué costumes that objectify young girls are never a good idea, neither are gruesome and violent costumes for young boys. Come up with a compromise you'll both be happy with if your child requests a costume you deem inappropriate for his age.