woman in costume leaping into the air

The Most Fun Outfit of the Year

Growing up, I knew the selection of my Halloween costume was one of the biggest decisions of my year. It’s a time to be anybody or anything you want to be. You can be spooky, silly or glamorous; the sky is the limit.

This year, Americans are expected to spend over 9 billion dollars on this holiday. We spend 3.4 billion on adult costumes, 1.2 billion on children’s costumes, and over $440,000 on pet costumes.

Halloween Costumes Allow Everyone to be Creative

man dressed as mad hatter costume halloween

Let’s face it, we all love to play dress up. We can let our creativity flow and our imaginations soar.

Some parents have concerns over choices their children are making in their costume decisions. Some parents don’t want their children to be princesses for fear of negative impact on body
image or reinforcing gender norms. Other parents worry about their children playing scary characters like monsters, or characters that carry weapons.

In researching the reasons kids choose certain costumes, I think parents can relax a bit. Two exceptions would be sexually provocative costumes or costumes that are considered insensitive.

Children and their Choice of Halloween Costume

girl dressed as princess trick or treating at house on halloween

Children who choose monster costumes may be searching for some sense of control and power – two things children don’t normally have a lot of. Or, they may be scared of monsters and by becoming one, the fear lessens. Superheroes and villains are most popular, because children can identify with the message of good versus evil. The main reason for their choice is that it is a popular character on television or in movies.

Costumes with guns, swords and other types of weapons are fine, according to Evolutionary Psychologists, as long as the focus is on the entire costume and not just the weapon.

As for being a princess, I can’t say I have ever heard of a person who grew up to be less strong or confident because they were a princess for Halloween.

Most children are completely unaware of their conscious motivations. What costume they choose to wear for one night a year will not decide their future behavior. That lies in the lessons and values that they are taught by their parents.

Lots of families enjoy this holiday by choosing family themed costumes. Everyone gets involved. Our family did lots of group- costumes over the years. One year though, when our daughter was about 10, she decided (at the last minute) to do her own thing with her costume choice. We realized her need for some independence and so that was the year we were the Three Pigs and…Cleopatra.

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