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The stay-at-home dad: Halloween costume roulette

by TYLER WILSON/Coeur Voice contributor
| October 20, 2021 1:00 AM

My kids struggle to decide what they want out of a Halloween costume. All I know is that I need as many options as possible.

We discuss Halloween costumes as early as the summer. My four kids need weeks to really narrow their options. And yet, we’re still buying things last minute, deep into October.

My oldest daughter, now 10, usually needs two options on Halloween, because history has shown something always goes haywire at the last minute.

In kindergarten, she made a big deal about dressing up as Doc McStuffins. It’s all she talked about for months, so we bought the costume early and rested easy. Then, the week of Halloween, she burst into tears one night before bed.

Her: “I just really want to be Cinderella for the school party and I didn’t tell you, and now IT’S TOO LATE!”

Cut to Dad searching multiple stores for a Cinderella costume. She wore it to school, then went back to Doc McStuffins for trick-or-treating. So she conned us into two costumes, obviously.

The next year, she really wanted to be Moana, but her and her mom decided the store-bought versions didn’t really look convincing enough. They spent hours making their own incredible Moana costume, complete with real shells, a handmade straw skirt and a painted-on print that actually matched the movie. It looked incredible. A real work of art.

But it was too “itchy.”

Cut to Dad searching multiple stores for that previously inadequate Moana costume. At least she wore the handmade one for some Halloween-inspired family pictures.

She’s not the only one of my kids stricken with indecision. They’re all never sure, and they all know their parents are the suckers who will buy multiple costumes just to be sure tears don’t erupt on All Hallow’s Eve.

We have so many Spider-Man costumes. One is a classic Spider-Man costume. Another is the Iron Spider version from the recent “Avengers” movies (which none of the kids have seen). We’ve got multiple masks too, because one came with a ripped seam, another plastic one cracked slightly, etc.

This year, my 8-year-old son said he wanted to be Spider-Man again. I said, “Great, your costume probably still fits from last year!”

Him: “No, I want to be the Miles Morales Spider-Man with the black suit.”

Though I’m a sucker, I have learned to shop ahead for such situations. A few years back I started browsing costumes a few days after Halloween. Wait a few days and those clearance prices get dirt cheap. Yes, the options can be slim, but the big box stores tend to overstock on super popular characters like Spider-Man, and eventually you can find new costumes for like three bucks each. It’ll be the wrong size, of course, but if you buy big, eventually someone in the family should be able to fit into it. Plus safety pins.

Since the pandemic started, I’ve had less desire to browse around various department stores for hours on end, so my arsenal of backup costumes has thinned the past couple years. The one remaining beneficiary in the house is my 4-year-old son. He’s still a pretty little guy, and almost all these costumes can be stretched or pinned to fit his frame.

This year, he had the following options: Three Spider-Man costumes, two Ninja Turtle costumes (both Raphael, duh), Superman, Superman with lucha libre-style mask (non-canon, but pretty cool), a Power Ranger, Doc McStuffins/doctor, about a dozen different Disney Princess dresses, a firefighter, a couple different Batman options, Lego Batgirl, some Transformer, a dinosaur and a Paw Patrol pup.

He said he wanted to be a dragon.

I am trying to convince him the dinosaur costume is actually a dragon. It’s not going well.

• • •

Tyler Wilson is a freelance writer and a stay-at-home dad to four kids, ages 4-10. He is tired. He can be reached at twilson@cdapress.com.

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