For most of my kids’ lives, they’ve worn Halloween costumes with a theme.
The year my son was born, our daughter, then 3, was Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” our son was the cowardly lion. The next year, big sister was Little Red Riding Hood, and our son was the (not so Big) Bad Wolf. We’ve had a mermaid and a pirate, then Elsa and the snow monster (who later decided to be a storm trooper). One year, after we became a family of five, all the kids were characters from “Star Wars.”
Last year, we were going to characters from Hogwarts, including Hermione, Draco Malfoy and Luna Lovegood — with me dressed as Professor McGonagall. But even the best-laid plans go awry. Our youngest daughter, then 2, decided she wanted to be a flamingo instead. Our son, ever the “Star Wars” fan, declared last minute that he was going to be a storm trooper for the third year in a row. My husband decided the Jesus wig I bought him did not look so much like Hagrid, and decided not to dress up at all.
And, so, we were down to two Harry Potter characters, a pink bird and a light-saber carrying storm trooper.
I’ve now realized that our days of coordinating costumes are over. Sure, I’m a little sad, not that it’s easy finding matching costumes for three very different children with very different opinions.
This year, I decided to let the kids decide whatever they wanted to be. In July, I bought some half-priced costumes for my two daughters, ones that could double for both dress-up and Halloween. Our youngest daughter, now 3, flip-flops between wanting to be a mermaid and a peacock. (Again, what is it with the birds?) Our oldest daughter, now 9, says she’ll probably be Glinda the good witch or else come up with a costume “on her own.”
Our son, 7, has been the most indecisive. It’s unlikely he’ll fit in the storm trooper costume for the fourth year in a row. At first, he suggested he might like to be a SWAT officer, which he often says he wants to be when he grows up. He then changed his mind. I offered to buy him a “special ops” Army costume instead, but he quickly decided against that, too. I offered several other ideas, but he told me they weren’t scary enough.
And so, he has decided on the character Foxy from a video game called “Five Nights at Freddy’s.” Not that he’s ever played the video game — after reading some parental reviews, we don’t allow it. But his friends often talk about it, and he had his heart set on the costume, which really wasn’t that scary after all. And so, we bought it.
Will we actually end up with a mermaid, a good witch and a Foxy on Halloween this week? Your guess is as good as mine. But I’ve discovered as my kids get older, it’s more important for me to give them a little more freedom and let them make some decisions on their own.
They’ll have fun, regardless of what they decide to wear.
— Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at email@example.com.