Halloween: Costumes & Dress-Up tips

Does your family celebrate Halloween by dressing up in costume, trick or treating, putting up spooky decorations around the house, or with any other fun traditions?

halloween-circle-preschool-witchFor me, my favorite part of Halloween is seeing how excited children are about dressing up in costume every year! Costumes can be great for children to act out play scenarios, build self-esteem and confidence, and also helps children to build awareness of other people’s feelings as they see things from another perspective.

At Dr. Day Care, we ask our children to celebrate Halloween by dressing in pajamas. Every year someone asks me why we don’t ask the children to dress up in costume, especially since I so love seeing the child’s costume choices.

Here are a few reasons to save Halloween costumes for home-

Costumes can be disruptive.

At Dr. Day Care, our main priority is teaching and keeping your child safe.  Dressing in pajamas in lieu of costumes helps minimize the disruption on an already distracting day.  Teachers have a lot to focus on, so adding costumes into the mix can make things even more challenging.

Not all families celebrate Halloween.

We welcome all traditions and want everyone to feel comfortable at Dr. Day Care, in costume or not!

Saving the costume for Trick-or-Treating.

Some costumes are difficult to wear for an hour or two, all day would be even more challenging!  This is especially true for children that are toilet training.  Saving the costume also makes it more meaningful for your family.

School can be messy!

Hands-on learning is the best way to learn!  Most children will get their clothes dirty during the school day, and that is ok.  We don’t want your child (or you!) to worry about ruining tonight’s Halloween costume.

naeyc-families_halloweenDr. Day Care students have the opportunity to dress up every day as part of the Dramatic Play learning center.  This center changes based on the educational topic of the month- it could contain props for a Vet’s office, Kitchen, Beach, Restaurant, or more!  So how is dressing up for Halloween different than dressing up for dramatic play?  This article from NAEYC (Is Dressing Up for Halloween Different than for Pretend Play?) explains it nicely:

Is there a difference between dressing up as part of play (I’m a firefighter and I need a firefighter’s hat) and dressing up for an event like Halloween?
Yes, there is a big difference. In pretend play, children use props and clothing to enact a role that promotes the story (scripts and scenarios) of their dramatic play. They make conscious decisions as to what will work for the roles they are enacting. They have power over the play, and they choose the costumes using their imaginations and resources. The props don’t have to be overly detailed. A scarf can serve as a cape or an upside-down bowl can serve as a firefighter’s helmet. The important criteria are that the child has the authority to determine what she will use and how it fits into her play.

On the other hand, Halloween costumes are often predetermined and very specific in their design, so there is little room for the imagination to take over. A firefighter costume comes with all the necessary pieces–a helmet, uniform, badge, hose, and so on. It would be better for the child’s imagination to engage him or her in developing the costume, using items found around the house–or making items–to represent the firefighter’s props. For example, you could cover the upside-down bowl with red duct tape and convert a cardboard paper towel roll into a hose. The process of creating the costume is just as important as wearing it.


Is your child dressing up for Halloween?  If so, tell us about his or her costume in the comments!