Halloween is often a fun time for children getting dressed up in costumes, greeting other children, and showing off their costumes. If you have a toddler, it is entirely possible for your child to participate in Halloween, with a few considerations. At this age, it is unlikely that your toddler would be able to re-use the Halloween costume for a future event, so you will need to decide if you want to make a costume or purchase one. Halloween costumes for toddlers can made at home or purchased without breaking the bank.
You will need to ask yourself a few questions first. (1) Will my child enjoy the event? Some children are frightened by the costumes and may do better at a planned event rather than going door to door. Other children may do better dressed up at home, occasionally helping out with the trick-or-treaters that come to the door. (2)Will my child wear a costume? Toddlers need outfits that are comfortable and easy to wear. At this age, toddlers will only wear what’s comfortable and familiar. You may want to make sure that your child has at least tried on the Halloween costume prior to the event. This will also help you anticipate any difficulty your child may have with the costume. (3) Will my child be safe? Ask youself, is the costume safe for the child to wear? At this age toddlers are rather curious and will likely pull and touch the outfit. Look for potential problems with the outfit ahead of time. Are there sharp edges, pins, or loose items that could present a safety issue?
Dependent on the event, you will need to decide in advance if you are going to create your own toddler Halloween costume or if you will purchase it. Either way, you will need to plan accordingly. If your child won’t be wearing the Halloween costume for a long period of time and you do not want to spend extra money on a costume, you may want to improvise, using clothing you already have at home. If your toddler is attending a special event or several events, it may be easier to purchase specially made toddler costumes. This article will discuss both avenues.
Creating Toddler Halloween Costumes
When making your own costume, the easiest and cheapest thing to do is to look through your toddler’s closet for dresses, sweat suits, separates and sleepers that can be adapted into costumes. For example, a little girl can easily become a princess with added accessories. A headband can be transformed with flowers and ribbons to create a crown. If you think your toddler will wear a crown, you can cover cardboard band to create one. If you aren’t creative or you lack the time to make a crown, the local dollar store may have a crown and possibly a magic wand to complete the look.
Other clothing adaptations:
1. Pick an Animal: Teddy bear, Cat, Cow, Lamb, Puppy, Tiger
If your child has a brown, black, orange, or white sweat suit, you can easily create an animal costume. This especially works well if you child has a hooded sweatshirt. For ears, use felt to cut out the appropriate size ears. These can be hand or machine stitched to the hood. For safety reasons, do not use straight pins or safety pins. Rather than a mask, you can use hypoallergenic make up to create the particular animal face. For fun, have your toddler practice the animal sound. To decorate the sweat suit, stitch or iron-on colored felt to create spots or stripes. An additional option would be to purchase colored tape for the spots or stripes, which can be easily removed.
2. What About A Farmer?
If your toddler has the necessary clothing in his closet, this is an easy Halloween costume to create. You will need to gather a pair of jeans, boots and a flannel shirt. Other accessories you may have (or purchase at your local dollar store) would include a handkerchief and a straw hat. The handkerchief could be placed to hang out of a shirt or pants pocket. Dependent on your toddler’s activity, you could loosely tie this around the collar of his shirt as well (keep in mind safety, you do not want anything constricting around your child’s neck.) Along these lines, you could use similar clothing to create a scarecrow as a Halloween costume.
3. Who Wants to Be A Fairy Tale Character?
Looking through your toddler’s closet, ask yourself is there anything that could be used to create characters like Little Bo Peep or Red Riding Hood? Dresses, jackets, or separates may easily be adapted to create this look. Does your toddler have a stuffed animal; (i.e. lamb) that she could carry around to complete the look? Do you have a basket she could carry around, pretending to be Little Red Riding Hood?
4. All About the Special Character
In looking through your toddler’s closet, look for outfits or sleepers that have a special character on it. With added accessories, can you dress up an everyday outfit to make it look like a Halloween costume? For example, if your child has a Bob the Builder sweatshirt, add a pair of jeans and boots to start the character costume. From your child’s toy box, add a construction hat and some plastic tools. No money was spent, and yet your child now has a Halloween costume.
5. Using A Sports Theme
Most toddler boys have sport related clothing that can be easily adapted to a Halloween costume. Adding accessories such as a hat or having your toddler carry a ball to coordinate will further complete the look.
6. Creating Halloween Theme
Again, if your toddler has a solid color sweat suit, you can easily adapt the sweat suit to a Halloween symbol. A black sweat suit can be adapted into a cat if you add ears to a hooded shirt and whiskers to your toddler’s face with hypoallergenic makeup. If you do not have a hooded sweat suit, consider buying colored tape to make a skeleton instead. Use white tape on the sweat suit, cutting strips to make the skeleton outline. Once your child is done with the costume, simply remove the strips. If you have an orange sweat suit, cut black tape (or electrical tape) and arrange the strips on the shirt so that you have a jack o’ lantern face on the front of the shirt. (You can find colored or electrical tape at a reasonable price at your local discount store or at your local dollar store. For a few extra dollars, you may even be able to find glow-in-the-dark tape. For safety reasons, make sure something on your child’s costume has light reflective properties if (s)he will be out after dark, even though an adult will be with your toddler. )
The possibilities are endless if your toddler has a sweat suit and you choose to use colored tape. Some additional ideas: (1) Storm: use a dark colored sweat suit and use white or yellow tape to create lightning bolts. (2) Night: Use a dark sweat suit and use yellow tape to create a moon and stars on the sweat suit. (3) Devil: use a red hooded sweat suit. Use black tape to add horns on each side of the hood as well as a pitchfork across the front of the suit from ankle to shoulder.
(Note: If your child does not have a sweatsuit, consider a cheaper alternative to purchasing an entire Halloween costume by either buying a sweatsuit at a consignment or used clothing shop or by buying a new sweatsuit at a local retailer. Either way, you have still reduced cost.)
Buying A Costume
If you are not the creative type, and would rather purchase a Halloween costume for your toddler, there are several options available to you. When considering a purchase, as when making a costume, consider safety first.
One option is your local department or discount stores. You can find outfits at a reasonable price, and if you shop early enough, you can also find variety. Waiting until the last minute, however, will limit your selection for a Halloween costume. Purchasing at a local store is quicker than purchasing online and does not include shipping costs.
If you shop for a Halloween costume at a specialty shop, you may spend more money on an outfit, but you will have the added convenience. Infant and toddler stores will have Halloween designs with your child’s age and safety concerns in mind. (By the way, after season sales start as early as November 1 and are a great way to purchase next year’s Halloween costume at significant savings.)
Another option is to buy online. While this also offers the convenience of shopping from your home, it also requires that you plan ahead. Some options for buying on line include stores such as www.childrensplace.com, www.buycostumes.com, www.brandsonsale.com, extremehalloween.com, www.anytimecostumes.com/costumes/cchome.html, and www.orientaltrading.com. Keep in mind that you will also incur the added cost of shipping and handling. However, one way to stretch your dollar is to buy an outfit that can be reused by a sibling or one that can be used again for dress up play.
While choosing a Halloween costume for a toddler has many options, it need not be difficult to choose based on your circumstance and your preferences. There are many options if you choose to adapt your toddler’s clothing or purchase a Halloween costume. Keep in mind that the first priority is for your child to be safe and comfortable, especially if this is the first Halloween (s)he is participating in. Have fun and be safe!