Select Page
Youth dressed as a green 4-H clover

A happy 4-H member’s smile is contagious in this face-friendly clover costume.

While Walmart has already jumped to Christmas season, many parents are still scrambling to figure out their children’s costume for October’s Halloween party.   Now, all of us have the cutest pumpkins in the pumpkin patch, but none of our children want to dress up as pumpkins anymore!  Gone are the simple days of our generation when white sheets with eye holes were the extent of our Halloween attire.

With the hectic schedule of the world and the complicated costumes of today, here are a few guidelines to follow when helping children choose Halloween costumes (and keep them safe safety during the spooktacular holiday season).

This little pumpkin has comfortable walking shoes for trick or treating.

If it Fits, it Flies Past Inspection

While cute or scary may be what the children are striving for, well-fitting costumes should be the goal for all parents. Ill-fighting costumes are a disaster waiting to happen.  Costumes that hang loosely become a distraction.  Capes, gowns, or any material in length that drags the ground can be a tricky thing to maneuver at any age so be sure to trim above the ankle.  Speaking of ankles, shoes that are too high can cause unexpected hospital visits so keep shoes low to the ground and comfortable to walk in.  Children (and parents) do a lot of walking to collect their candy treats.  Shoes that are too large or too small can cause blisters and cranky children, all things to avoid on a fun night.

Can You See Me Now?

One of the scariest things about Halloween is not what you can see but what you can’t see!  Not being able to see children in costume in poorly lit areas of the neighborhood can be scary for adults.  Parents, remedy this by using inexpensive reflective paint or tape to make children’s costumes visible or giving them glowsticks to wear or flashlights to hold.

Be sure to think about if your children can see well in their costumes.  Masks can be difficult to wear if they don’t fit well.  Be sure that eye and breathing holes are extra-large.  If a costume can be complete without a mask, consider skipping it and use makeup.  If costumes are come with hats, scarves, or capes, secure them down with velcro to keep from hitting others.

Does my Makeup Look OK?

Children love face paint and makeup, and hair dye appears to be the latest trend.  Halloween seems a good fit for these outlets, but use them with caution.  More and more children are sensitive to pigments found in everyday items – makeup included.  Your children may be going for the spooky look but not at the risk of it being itchy and painful.  If your children will be using face paint, makeup and/or hair dye, do a simple test run at least a week before use to ensure there are no allergies to the ingredients.

Accessorize Everything…Or Not
Girl with face painted like a skeleton

Makeup that does not obstruct children’s view is essential to their safety.

You’ve probably heard that “accessories make the outfit,” but in the case of Halloween and children, accessories can be highly overrated.  Parents usually end up carrying the accessories that went with their children’s costumes before the night is over.  But if children insist their outfits are not complete without a Ninja sword or Katniss Everdeen’s bow and arrow, be sure they are easily distinguished toys.  Those accessories should be soft and flexible.

Spooktacular Adventure Awaits!

Whether you get into Halloween with costumes or not, these tips are good reminders for all of us to look out for children and keep them safe.  Enjoy the upcoming holiday seasons!

To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills to your children or to volunteer your time to work with children in your area, please contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.

Niki Crawson

Niki Crawson is the Holmes County 4-H Extension Agent in the NW District.