My son was born in the middle of September, so when his first Halloween came around, he was barely even a thing yet, let alone someone who might one day want to dress up as Thing. But that didn’t stop Mom and Buried from putting him in a little lion outfit and parading him around the neighborhood, to the delight of everyone because that shit is cute.
When his second Halloween came around, he went as a monkey. We initially tried a skeleton outfit but that did not go over well. To be honest, neither did the monkey, most of the time. But crying and screaming was kind of his thing back then. (Not that that’s changed much.) Last year was his third Halloween, and he was totally on board, chomping at the bit to be Jake the Neverland Pirate.
Finally, it was up to him to choose his costume. And it should always be from now on.
Nobody likes Halloween more than kids. (Except maybe Mom and Buried.) And even if half the reason you had kids was to have an excuse to dress up again, don’t blow their experience by forcing your costume ideas on them.
Or by letting them dress in one of these…
7 Terrible Halloween Costumes for Kids
- Superheroes with Fake Muscles – Now that I’ve seen my son in one of these costumes, complete with the huge, puffed-out chest and better abs than The Situation, I hate them a little less. He loves it and it looks hilarious. But I still mostly hate them and think the straight-up muscle-free versions are better and are about imagination and not sex appeal. I’m particularly against the fake muscles in Superman’s case, since his strength comes from our yellow sun, not from working out, and he shouldn’t even HAVE muscles. I mean, if everything is super-easy for his Kryptonian body to lift, how could he even build muscle?! But I digress.
- Princesses – I am not against a good old-fashioned princess costume for the reasons you might think, because, news flash: not everything has to be a battleground for gender equality, no matter how strongly you feel about it. Either way, “terrible” is a bit strong for this one. If your kid wants to be a princess for a Halloween, let the kid be a princess. But, if your kid already dresses like a princess every day of the week – and believe me, I can’t tell you how many little girls I see decked out in tiaras and gowns walking around in the middle of May or February – maybe switch it up a bit for Halloween? More power to them and their parents letting kids indulge their fantasies every day of the year (might as well get it out of their system now, because they won’t be wearing that tiara to junior high, I promise you.), but it’s no longer a costume when it’s a daily uniform. Why not encourage them to try something different?
- Something RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES!– Your kid is not your art project. Your kid is not the New York Times Op-Ed page. Your kid is not Tina Fey. Don’t make him dress like an Ebola patient or someone from ISIS or Ray Rice. He didn’t choose that outfit; he doesn’t watch the news. (And be honest, aside from catching a few headlines and clips from “The Daily Show”, neither do you.) Don’t be gross.
- Something Age-inappropriate – I won’t lie: if I were crafty, this is probably the direction I’d go. My kid would make a great Jesse from “Breaking Bad” or miniature Hannibal Lecter. (He’d have made an even better Kuato.) But when your kid is just a prop for your costume, or just a way for you to shock people with your own edginess (“Look at my oblivious 4yo all dressed like Machine from 8MM!”), you’re not doing them any favors. And yes, I realize this is from the guy who did the hackneyed “striking the Heisman with my baby” pose within a week of his birth. Babies do make good props! (I’m nothing if not a hypocrite.)
- Something from Frozen – Even though it’s categorically impossible, I’m pretty sure there are more Elsa costumes out there these days than there are princess costumes. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Also, if this picture from my pal The Glad Stork doesn’t convince you to return that damn Elsa costume – for the good of us all! – nothing will.
- Something Sexy – Ugh. Just ugh. Don’t be that parent. Leave it to the wackos on TLC.
- Nothing – Nothing? Really? What are you, the Grinch? Sure, if not for my wife, I would have stopped dressing up for Halloween a decade ago, but I’m not four years old! Kids love this crap. And at the age of four or five or six, they still love the “dressing up” part more than the “getting shit-tons of candy” part or the “vandalizing the neighborhood” part or the “getting hammered and hooking up” part. Let them indulge themselves before dressing up becomes something only Furries and the cast of “The Today Show” do. And if you want to start crowing about it being a Pagan holiday, WAKE UP: just about everything started as a pagan holiday. Let the kid wear a costume. And get out of his way. Do you realize how much candy you’re robbing yourself of, you pathetic, joy-crushing killjoy?