When I think of October, the first two words that come to mind are FAMILY COSTUME. Never mind that the month also includes my birthday and my anniversary. We are going to dress up and I can’t wait!
Parenthood brings many joys to our lives, among them the gift of experiencing the wonder of holidays through our children’s eyes. Of course, there’s the magic of Santa, the thrill of Fourth of July fireworks, and the excitement of an Easter Bunny egg hunt, but for kids and adults alike, there’s nothing more fun than getting dressed up for Halloween and hitting the streets in search of free candy. Furthermore, if your kids and partner are willing, the family costume is the ultimate Halloween experience.
As a three-time winner of the Shelburne Halloween Costume Contest in the Group category (there are about 20 categories and they pick winners in every age group, but that’s not the point), I must say I’m pretty proud of our family costume themes for the past five years, as well as our upcoming tribute to the taco (more on that later).
I also reached out to fellow blog Contributing Writer, Sarah Fabrizio, who was happy to share her fantastic photos of her incredible family costume themes from years past. I mean, I don’t think she won any awards, but, I’m not trying to compete or anything. (She also may not have entered contests. OK, fine, yes, they give awards to everyone and she definitely would have won had she entered.)
“It started off innocently enough,” Sarah told me.
I love to be creative and I figured why not create a family costume for my son’s first Halloween? From there, it just became a family tradition. I probably would have dropped the theme idea after my son’s first year, but each year we host a Halloween party, which has kept the tradition alive.
Similarly, I also was motivated to do a family costume for my first born’s first Halloween, but it was that $5 gift certificate to Shelburne Country Store that kept our tradition alive. You may not think $5 is a lot of money, but when the store in question has a penny-candy section, $5 is a small fortune, people.
Family costume ideas know no limits, but most seem to fall into three general categories: TV/Movie/Book characters, Parent/Infant themes where the baby represents an accessory, prop, or animal, and Abstract Creative Themes. Between Sarah and I, we’ve covered all three. Let’s take a look at each.
For our very first Halloween, I was inspired by an adorable white sweatsuit outfit someone had gifted Violet at my baby shower. The sweatshirt had a hood with bunny ears, which made it a Halloween costume possibility, especially since it was nice and warm for a 4-month-old. Obviously, there’s only one theme choice to compliment a white rabbit costume! Alice and the Mad Hatter rounded out our trio. Bonus: A few years later, Dad would get to reuse his Mad Hatter costume when Violet had a Wonderland-themed birthday party. This idea of recycling costumes for birthdays and Halloween would come in handy later on.
Sarah also has a bunny suit in her past-costume repertoire, but it was her husband Tim who stepped into the fuzzy pink onesie in their brilliant tribute to A Christmas Story. I’m loving Sarah’s lampshade dress and her baby girl Evelyn is too cute as the package labeled “frah-gee-lay.”
Big brother, Andrew, opted out of the family theme those two years, as Sarah doesn’t believe in robbing her kids of their choice to be whatever they want to be. Sarah says,
The joy of Halloween is getting to be someone else for the day! So, while family costumes are great, I would never force my child to be something!
This year, Sarah and her fam have another movie fave coming up, and Andrew is on board: Trolls! “My daughter will be Princess Poppy, my son is Creek, I am Guy Diamond. and my husband is the Bergen Chef!” Sounds adorable!
For my daughters’ combined birthday party last summer, they picked a Cat in the Hat theme. I checked 2016 Halloween costumes right off the list. Violet and Sabine were Thing 1 and Thing 2, respectively, while Dad sported a bowtie and Cat in the Hat topper. I kept it cute and simple as the fish in an orange dress with eyes glued to the side of my head. I will admit that I skipped out on entering the costume contest that year since it was way too cold for a little sundress. Still, we snagged a $5 coupon for Best Adult Costume. Yes, my husband, Mike, won by wearing a bowtie and sticking a hat on his head. Ok, so maybe it’s not that competitive.
Of course, the family costume that always gets the most Likes on Facebook is the one featuring an adorable baby. Here, little Andrew makes his family debut as a hot dog (awww!) while Sarah and Tim provide the ketchup and mustard. Don’t they look yummy?
For us, there was the year that we totally spaced on costumes. We found ourselves at the party store on October 30th with nothing left on the shelves but pirate outfits. So, we ran with the idea. Violet was 1 then and still needed something with plenty of warmth. We picked a parrot, of course. How cute is she sitting up on Dad’s shoulder?
Abstract Creative Themes
This category tends to be our family specialty and has been the one to snag us those free candy coupons. Now that the girls are older, I agree with Sarah. Assigning my children mandatory costumes is probably not the best practice. My solution? I let them pick what they want to be and build our family costume around their ideas. The first year that Violet chose her own costume was easy because Sabine was only two months old. Violet went with a classic children’s getup: kitty cat. I liked the concept. As a newborn, Sabine would be a napping kitten and I would also be a cat. Easy-peasy!
But what about Dad? The first rule of successful costuming: when in doubt, do drag. Enter the “crazy cat lady!”
The following year, Violet wanted to be a ladybug. Sabine was still little enough for her big sister to pick out her costume: bumblebee. Naturally, I had to be a butterfly, which made Dad the bug catcher. Another $5 of candy in the bag.
This year, we had much discussion over our Halloween theme and have finally agreed on a family costume. Actually, for the first time, it is not actually a theme but one cohesive costume. The Mercieca TACO. I knew I’d need those huge cardboard boxes we keep forgetting to recycle for something! In case you’re stumped: I’m the tomato, Sabine is the lettuce, Violet is the cheese, and Dad is the meat. Also, I’m feeling a Mexican-themed birthday party for next summer.