Everyone has one in their life. Everyone has someone around them who loves Halloween and the costumes and all the candy corn. I am that someone for my friends and family. Even as a child, I started thinking about my costume far in advance each year. College provided huge opportunities for costume parties. My husband and I met in college working food service before he enlisted. We donned our first costumes together for our Halloween shift. I should have taken a hint from our costumes that I would soon become a military spouse as he enlisted a few months later. I went as a soldier and he went as Klinger from M*A*S*H. It was many years before my husband dressed up again. I, on the other hand, have dressed up all along with our kids.
Halloween takes on a whole new life when you have a kids. Costumes, candy, and keeping kids happy on trick-or-treat day doesn’t have to be frightful. Hopefully our experiences will help with planning a great Halloween whether simple or elaborate.
1) Costumes are Halloween!
Costumes are my number one favorite reason why I love Halloween! My husband still doesn’t necessarily share my enthusiasm but he has learned to play along. One of my young sons was eagerly anticipating what he was going to be for Halloween. He asked his dad, “What are you going to be?” He replied, “I’m kind of a stick in the mud when it comes to Halloween.” And we promptly forgot about the conversation until the clerk in the checkout asked my son what he was going to be. He proudly answered and then said, “And my dad’s gonna be a stick in the mud!” We have had many laughs over that story through the years. But that is how Halloween is for us. I think and plan and create and wear costumes and my husband hands out candy.
Costumes can be homemade or store-bought. We do a combination. I keep all of our costume parts in containers and add to them each year or recycle them into a new costume. For example, one year one of our sons dressed up like a cowboy. Then, a couple years later we recycled that costume into a rodeo clown by adding a wig and some face paint. Our youngest son wished to be a butler and then next year we recyled some of that costume to make him into a professional dog walker with me as his dog. I wore black sweats, painted my face, sewed some floppy ears onto a hat and buckled a dog collar around my neck. We also have only boys so storing costumes and handing them down made sense for us.
We established a couple of rules regarding costumes early on. No scary costumes and no trick-or-treating past sixth grade. These two rules helped us as our kids grew up. My kids were always anxious to grow into certain costumes so for many years in a row we had a Darth Vader which was the scariest we allowed. Once they were past sixth grade they helped hand out candy. We came home from trick-or-treating one year to find our oldest dressed in random pieces and parts from the costume bucket while handing out candy. It has remained a great Halloween memory for our family.
Because we are Army National Guard we have stayed in the same small town through my husband’s military career. But living in the military community and making PCS moves gives the unique opportunity to wear a costume again especially if you have any adult parties to attend. Costumes can also be traded, borrowed, or sold if keeping a container of costumes is not something your family likes to do. Most people don’t necessarily remember what your kids were the year before and often kids love wearing it again. A few years ago I started planning a Captain Jack costume and then decided to wear it myself. The next year I was Cannibal Captain Jack by purchasing the temporary tatoo eyes for my face. I had great fun being Captain Jack even though I am a female. People ask me often to bring him back out. So if you don’t have time, don’t feel creative, or have a child that just wants to wear last years costume…go with it and have fun!