Why I Dress Up for Halloween With My Kids

Why I Dress Up for Halloween With My Kids

Costumes aren’t just for kids – this mom says dressing up keeps her young at heart.


By: Leah Maxwell

Do you remember how old you were when you stopped dressing up for Halloween? I don’t … because I never stopped. There was a time not too long ago when I thought having children might bring about the end of my costumed reveling (and good riddance because it can be a bit of a pain), but as it turns out, the older I get, the more certain I am that putting a little effort into dressing up for the holiday just might be the thing that keeps me young.

Kids dress up at Halloween for a lot of reasons -- it’s tradition, it’s celebratory, it’s fun -- and I think the same can go for adults. Spare me the excuses about not having enough time, energy, or money (I usually pull something together last minute with regular clothes and a few well-chosen accessories -- cowboy boots, kitty ears, bathrobe, deerstalker cap … although not all at once), and just go for it. If dressing up isn’t your thing, think about it this way: the more out-of-character it is for you to wear a costume, the more your kids will get a kick out of it. And if Halloween really is for the youngsters, just consider this your personal sacrifice in the name of their good time. It’s important for kids to laugh with their parents, but there’s also something to be said for letting them laugh at us too, when the time is right.

My own parents dressed up when I was young, and perhaps it’s the memories of my super-serious dad rocking a gnarly pirate wig and fake teeth that forged the belief that my job as a parent is not only to enforce rules and teach responsible behavior, yada yada, but also to show my kids that it’s OK to let loose and have fun, even when (or maybe especially when) you’re the grownup. With that in mind, every October I jump at the chance to show my sons I’m never too old -- or too busy or too “cool” -- to throw on a pair of rabbit ears, pin a pompom to the back of my jeans, and prove that this super-serious mom isn’t afraid to laugh at herself once in a while. At ages 5 and 2, they’re still too little to understand that I’m doing this mostly for them, but maybe by the time they become parents themselves, the message will have revealed itself and they’ll be the ones roaming neighborhood streets in some ridiculous getup just to make their own kids smile. See, these rabbit ears aren’t just a dopey-looking costume, they’re a legacy.

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Finally, let’s not underestimate the original lure of wearing Halloween costumes: For one whole night, they make it possible for everyone to be someone other than themselves. As a mom, you’re used to wearing many different hats -- cook, nurse, chauffeur, therapist, teacher, personal assistant, the list goes on -- and now here is your chance to be something different, something you want to be. Be a princess. Be a superhero. Be...yoncé? Whatever it is, be young again and remember how good it feels.

When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween?



Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.

Image ©iStock.com/real444

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