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Milk and Cookies

with Kristen

I'm a mother of five, a bargain hunter, a recreational comparison shopper, and always trying to make more time - for me and for you, too. On this blog I'm sharing my favorite tools and finds to help make your work-life juggle a bit easier.

You can find my personal blog at

What are your kids wearing for Halloween?

Categories: Elementary school kids, Holiday, Preschoolers


My eldest child has outgrown Halloween. Or, more likely, he’s between the stage of trick-or-treating/dressing-up and the stage of re-discovering it in crowds of teenagers who make everyone clench their teeth as they go to door gathering free candy dressed in a garbage bag.

The other four kids are still interested. We have a loose costume policy, which is basically this: I vastly prefer they choose a costume from the bins of clearance costumes I’ve acquired over the years. But if a child earnestly and fervently wants a different and particular costume, I am willing to consider it.

What we usually do is start with the Thinking About It stage, which is where we are now: the children are considering what they might want to be, and I’m looking up costumes and going “THIRTY DOLLARS PLUS SHIPPING? For something you’ll wear ONCE??” I wish it were easier to know THE YEAR BEFORE what costume the child would want to wear the following year. I KNOW I saw Star Wars costumes on practically-giving-them-away clearances last year, but last year none of them were into Star Wars.

William would like to be Luke Skywalker (image from Unfortunately, William is 5′4″, so he will probably need the adult-size costume, which is even more expensive than the kid one. Also, when he saw the image I just posted, he said, “If possible, I want to be the black costume, when he’s a Jedi.” At first I was dismayed, as we scrolled through page after page of Jedi costumes and all of them were “No, that’s Anakin.” But then we did an image search to see what LUKE’S Jedi outfit looks like…and it’s black clothes. It’s really just black clothes, plus a light saber. And William thinks he can make the wrist thing out of cardboard and tin foil. So that’s manageable: I can buy the light saber and make sure he has a black shirt and that’s it.

Elizabeth wants to be Raven from Teen Titans (image from Raven is a Good Guy, despite her slightly evil appearance. She’s like Daria from that old MTV show, but also a superhero. Unfortunately, in the time it took me to write this post, the costume went out of stock. I can order it from another costume site, maybe—but it seems to me that the essence of this costume is the cloak (it looks purple to me, but Elizabeth tells me it’s blue on the show). She can wear a black shirt and grey leggings for the rest of it, but it NEEDS a cloak. My mom can sew, so we’re thinking over whether that will be any savings to make one, but I’m also considering getting a blue hooded rain poncho for five dollars and using that instead. Then if we want we can get fancy with some purple hairspray and white face paint and a jewel sticker for between her eyes.

Edward wants to be the pixely character Steve from Minecraft (photos from You can pay $30-90 for a Steve mask. But as reviewers point out, how hard would this be to make out of a cardboard box? I’m not very crafty and I think even I could make this. And we have the pickaxe already, because one of the kids wanted it badly and got it for Christmas last year. The main downfall is that the school allows costumes in class on Halloween, but no masks. Without the mask, there’s no costume. But perhaps he could wear a costume from our costume box to school, and then go trick-or-treating as Steve.

Henry would like to go as Cyborg from Teen Titans (photo from Like Raven, above, Cyborg is a Good Guy. The costume is $30 including shipping, but I’m pretty sure Henry only wants to be Cyborg because Elizabeth mentioned going as Raven. That doesn’t count to me as fervently wanting, so I’m hoping to persuade him to wear one of the costumes he already owns: Melissa & Doug pirate, Melissa & Doug knight, or the Incredibles costume I got at Target at 90% off (which he calls “I-Man” because there’s an I on the front).

Incidentally, if you buy costumes and you have a child in the 3-6ish age range, I heartily recommend getting a Melissa & Doug costume. The store-bought costumes I’ve bought for Halloween have mostly been extremely flimsy, often ripping after one wearing. The Melissa & Doug costumes are meant more for a dress-up box, so they’re made to last: for the same price as a store costume, you get much much better quality. Henry has worn his probably hundreds of times with no ripping. The main problem with them is they have velcro closures that catch on the fabric of the costume itself, which gives the fabric a fuzzy look in some spots after awhile. We’ve tried the pirate and knight ones, but there’s also firefighter, doctor, police officer, chef, vet, red-and-blue superhero, pink-and-purple superhero, construction worker, waitress, fairy, princess, hair stylist, and train engineer.


What do your kids want to be for Halloween?

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15 comments so far...

  • My 2.5 year old will be young Draco Malfoy, because they have the same hair color and because I think it would be hilarious.

    Last year, he was Calvin (& Hobbes - I made him a Hobbes treat bag to carry around) and the year before that he was Yoda (I made a Yoda hat with bendable ears, little Yoda mittens/booties, and a brown tunic). He hasn’t expressed any preference yet for dressing up so I’m milking the parental costume-choosing as long as I can.

    I’m a firm believer in making costumes, but am not above purchasing pre-made stuff for them. As in, I bought a Slytherin patch and a green and silver necktie, but I’ll make the Hogwarts robe because nobody manufactures those for two year olds and it’ll probably be cheaper just to sew it.

    I think you should go for the cardboard box idea for this Steve costume. I don’t think I’d pay money for that when you could do it with some construction paper / paint and a leftover box.

    Meggan  |  October 10th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

  • Mine will NOT DECIDE. I ask him and he keeps changing his mind. He’s asked to be Ironman, Spiderman, Batman, Harry Potter, a skeleton, and then last night he says Handy Manny. I have made his costume for three of the four years he’s needed a costume and two of those three, I decided on the costume. Last year, he was consistent in wanting to be a spider. It’s driving me crazy that he won’t decide this year.

    jen  |  October 10th, 2012 at 7:12 pm

  • I think the blue rain poncho will be perfect. Alternatively, get blue material from the fabric store, and follow these directions for a no-sew hooded cape:

    liz  |  October 10th, 2012 at 7:13 pm

  • liz- Ooo, that looks like a cape _I_ can make! (And I love the instruction “loose enough to not choke the child.” GOOD TIP.)

    swistle  |  October 10th, 2012 at 7:17 pm

  • My girls are nine and five. The nine year old is going to be Katniss from The Hunger Games. She already has the bow and arrows (thank you, Dad!) and I bought her a mockingjay pin from for $15.

    The five year old asked to be Merida from Disney’s Brave. My mom is making the dress and I bought her a toy bow and arrows set from for $8.

    Yay for is what I’m saying.

    Tommie  |  October 10th, 2012 at 8:08 pm

  • Question: is the M&D knight costume too babyish for a kindergartener who just turned 6? Will it be big enough? I’m sure that if I let HIM look at the pictures online, he’s going to point to one of the cheap flimsy but cooler looking knight costumes and refuse the M&D one. But, I also suspect that the M&D is MUCH BETTER in reality…so long as it isn’t too babyish. What do you think?

    Christy  |  October 10th, 2012 at 8:13 pm

  • Christy- I’m not sure. Henry is in kindergarten and doesn’t find it babyish—but he’s five and a third, so that’s quite a bit younger. If you look at it on Amazon, and you look at the alternate image, it shows two little boys modeling the costume—that might give a better idea. For something a little tougher, we also have this black knight set.

    swistle  |  October 10th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

  • Just wanted to second the Melissa and Doug recommendation. We have every “boy” costume and my son wears them multiple times a week. I have given several as gifts and all have been big hits.

    My boys are going as St. Louis Cardinals. Last time my now 7 year old dressed up like one (in 2006) we won the World Series, so I am hoping the luck continues!

    KateB  |  October 11th, 2012 at 1:33 am

  • The 6 year old wants to be a lion. The 11 year old is going as a metronome. Needless to say, that will be a homemade costume. His always are– his sister is more often wants a store-bought costume but this year she wants homemade, too. She’s realized that store-bought costumes rarely win a prize at our town’s Halloween parade and she covets a prize.

    StephLove  |  October 11th, 2012 at 1:05 pm

  • My kiddo (age 5) wants to be a “Princess Doctor,” which is apparently a Thing in her mind. She has plans for a gown, tiara and stethoscope. Tiny weirdo. Her backup plan is a Plants vs. Zombies conehead zombie, but so far she’s been undone by the idea of fake blood.

    BKC  |  October 11th, 2012 at 5:20 pm

  • My oldest wants to be Steve from Minecraft… and I refuse to pay $60 for what is basically a cardboard box to sit on his head… so, we are patiently painting the pixelated looking face, etc. on a cardboard box at home. Hoping that it turns out, because I’m really not the mom who makes costumes… I tend to let them buy them, but we enforce a dollar limit. It has been a nice project to work on together though. :)

    patsyk  |  October 12th, 2012 at 2:50 pm

  • I think you could do the pixel-y guy pretty well with face paint if you sectioned his face into squares (washable marker, maybe?) and then painted each square with face paint. Since most of it’s skin tone, maybe a couple of bottles of dollar store foundation in different shades could work, plus a cheapo face paint kit for the black and white?

    Wendty  |  October 14th, 2012 at 9:53 pm

  • My kids will be: a green crayon, a ninja, and a bigger ninja (Curses on all the damn ninjas. They ALWAYS want to be ninjas. But they love their costumes…so)

    Husband will be Luke Skywalker complete with light saber and Jedi bath robe. (I think he is crazypants. It will be 90 million degrees and he will collapse from heatstroke.)

    I will be Alice from Wonderland. I have lots of work events to use the costume for, so I thought it would work. I was also thinking that with some small edits, I might be able to be Dorothy from Oz next year.

    Misty  |  October 15th, 2012 at 1:09 am

  • My 15 month old is too young to pick out or care, really, but I had grand ideas of sewing a dinosaur costume for her. However, I’ve had some trouble with getting the proper fabric (ordered it online and the place sent me completely wrong stuff)- so it may not happen in time :( If it doesn’t I’m not quite sure what we’ll do…

    Kristina  |  October 15th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

  • My turning-3-on-Wednesday daughter is going to be supergirl. My dad bought her a very, very, very cute but very, very, very expensive costume on etsy. She is obsessed with super heroes and rescuing so, I’m thinking at least she can play dress-up in it afterwords.

    Shoeaddict  |  October 15th, 2012 at 10:00 pm