It’s A Pirate Costume Not A Wedding Gown, Let Your Kid Wear It Before Halloween

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I hate it when parents treat Halloween costumes like some super special, precious item that can’t be soiled. If your kid wants to wear his Halloween costume constantly — why not let him?

This is the first year my kid has been really into Halloween. He was just shy of three last year, now he’s just shy of four — and what a difference a year makes. Last year he was mildly amused when we put his Incredible Hulk costume on. This year, we put his Jake and the Neverland Pirates costume on and he refuses to take it off. I’m totally okay with that. He can wear it everyday until Halloween if he wants — it’s festive. What do I care?

No, he’s not wearing it to preschool, but only because I don’t want the other kids to feel like they’re missing out. Also, we live in Florida and I don’t want him sweltering in non-breathable polyester. But if wearing his costume around the house for a few hours a day makes him happy – why not?


I think we’ve become collectively anal about our kids and their appearances. I couldn’t care less if my child’s Halloween costume is slightly dirty or needs to be sewn because I had to wash it a few times before Halloween and it’s too cheap and flimsy to hold up to that kind of treatment. So what? He’s not Heidi Klum, he’s a four-year-old. If my one-and-half-year-old wanted to wear her magical unicorn fairy princess daily — I’d let her, too. But she is showing no interest, and probably won’t for a few years.

I might just be laid back about these things because it’s in my nature to be laid back. My house isn’t perfect. I don’t have Pinterest-worthy anything. It’s just not who I am. I honestly didn’t even like Halloween before I had kids. But seeing my son in that costume — dancing around and singing Yo-Ho matey’s awaaaaaayyyy is the best. Why would I put a stop to that kind of joy?

If your kid is wants to wear their Halloween costume before the big day and you’ve never considered letting them before — maybe you should. There’s a very small window of opportunity for doing things like wearing pirate boots and a headband and carrying a foam sword to Publix. Do you really want that window to close because you needed them to have a pristine costume?

I don’t.

(photo: Maria Guido)


  1. keelhaulrose

    October 13, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I’m actually forcing my kids to wear their costumes early. Big One so we can make sure the fit is okay and that things look the way that they’re supposed to, and Little One because she has tactile sensitivities and we want to make sure Halloween isn’t going to be one giant meltdown because of an itchy costume.
    I don’t see it as that big of a deal, though I still won’t let them eat in them, nor wear them in public, until after Halloween.

    • Katherine Handcock

      October 13, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      That’s a good idea with the advance wear, especially for the little critter 🙂

  2. Rachel Sea

    October 13, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    The thing is only going to fit for 5 minutes before they grow out of it, might as well let them get in as many wearings as possible.

    • WarriorMermaids

      October 13, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      For real; it sucks to have a cool costume you only get to wear once.

  3. Angelica

    October 13, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    So much this! My daughter has worn her Minnie Mouse costume four or five times already this year. She is two and a half and is just getting into playing dress up. She asks to wear her costume constantly. As long as it is still wearable on Halloween night, I don’t care. That simple gesture makes her day every single time. i never understood the notion that we have to keep things in pristine for “special occasions” for children. They aren’t in each stage of life for long, so let them enjoy their stuff while they still want to. But I also let my kid play in mud and smear finger paint all over her body regardless of what she is wearing because both my daughter and her clothes are washable.

  4. momma425

    October 13, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I’m in support of this- as long as the costume is easily washed.

    Idk about you, but my kid finds a way to get herself dirty every five seconds. After waiting for over a year for the Elsa dress that she just HAD to have become available a reasonable price, the last thing that needs to happen is for the dress to get stained 2 weeks before Halloween and me to not be able to get that out without having all the glitter fall off in my washing machine. I’m good.

    • Personal

      October 14, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      I’d probably use a bucket instead of the machine for that one. 🙂

  5. CynicalMomof3

    October 13, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I’ve done that, myself. And I’ve discovered that we are costume rippers, as well as piece losers. Last year’s Izzy needed about 4 hours of repair in the weeks (and then hours) immediately before the holiday, and not all the pieces were available The Day Of.

    We now only allow a couple, supervised, wearings prior to Halloween (generally this is pretty easy, since we don’t buy them till a week or 2 ahead). After, however, it goes in the playclothes bin and can be worn to their hearts’ content.

    • SunnyD847

      October 13, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Yeah, unless there’s an event like a party or parade before Halloween, they can’t wear the costumes. Afterwards they’re up for grabs. We put all of their costumes, dress-up clothes, ballet recital outfits, etc. on hooks along a wall in the basement and all the kids would dress up during parties and play dates. I loved seeing the crazy mix-up ensembles they would create 🙂

  6. Valerie

    October 13, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    My kids love wearing their costumes basically the whole month of October. I say go for it!

  7. Valerie

    October 13, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    And holy crap, he is so cute.

  8. ToninaMDC

    October 13, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I’m with you to a point.

    Do I think my kid’s costume has to be perfect and pristine for his school Halloween party and Trick or Treat? No, a little dirt or a slightly raveled hem isn’t going to be the end of the world. This is a child’s Halloween costume, not a wardrobe piece for a major motion picture.

    On the other hand, my kid is extremely tough on his clothes. Before we switched to shorts mode last spring, he put holes in the knees of four pairs of pants in the space of just over a week. He constantly yanks on the necks of his shirts so they end up stretched and torn and their buttons pop off constantly, he uses the bottom part of his shirts to carry pointy rocks he’s dug up – he’s just hard on clothes, as many 8YO’s are. Letting him play in his beloved Cleveland Browns uniform/costume right now is a bad idea because he will inevitably play football in it wherever he wears it and it will inevitably end up torn up all to hell long before the big day arrives. I can’t afford to get him another one and there’s only so much damage I can repair before the costume is rendered unwearable. He may be sad that he doesn’t get to wear it right this minute, but he’d be utterly crushed if he didn’t get to wear it for Halloween itself.

    So while I agree that some people need to ease up about trying to keep their kids’ Halloween costumes museum-quality perfect, I think declaring that everyone should let their kids wear their costumes before Halloween is silly as well.

  9. rrlo

    October 13, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    The only reason I don’t want my kid to wear his multi-piece costume is because, honestly, I don’t want to be responsible for keeping track of all the pieces. Kid bought the outfit. He tried it on. Now it is in his closet until Halloween.

  10. Katherine Handcock

    October 13, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    The only reason I don’t let my kids wear their costumes in advance is because Ben has a bad tendency to get bored of things. I know he’d decide whatever he picked was “old” before Halloween if I let him at it too early! So it will come back out the week of Halloween and he can wear it to his heart’s content 🙂

    • SunnyD847

      October 13, 2014 at 10:30 pm

      Oh yeah, I don’t let them take the tags off ANYTHING because they were always changing their kids about what to be.

    • Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak

      October 13, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      My six year old is not allowed to wear hers for that same reason. I want the excitement to still be there on Halloween. I usually pay good money for a quality costume that she can use for dress-up for awhile.. ( We bought a couple of princess costumes 3 years ago and they’re still in great shape.)

  11. JAN

    October 13, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    I actually picked up a couple of costumes this summer at yard sales. I got a suoergirl, a spiderman, a Thor, and a Minnie Mouse for a grand total of $4. They’ve been wearing the crap out of those costumes. I did get “new” costumes for actual Halloween that they haven’t worn yet but I will say that Spiderman and Suoergirl are frequent shoppers at our local grocery store.

  12. CrazyFor Kate

    October 14, 2014 at 1:19 am

    Your son has like the best smile ever. Seriously. I…don’t have any comments on the actual article. Too much cute, sorry.

  13. Mette

    October 14, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Nothing to with costumes, but I totally agree that a lot of people are almost obsessed about their kids’ appearances, just take a look at Instagram and see how important it is for some people to show their newborns in the latest baby fashion, which is of course also very expensive. It blows my mind that it’s the kind of thing people care about.

  14. Shelly Lloyd

    October 14, 2014 at 8:56 am

    My friends’ pirate costumes cost more than some wedding gowns and they wear their costumes all the freaking time. LOL. But then again their hobby is pirate festivals. And they are grown ups.

  15. Shelly Lloyd

    October 14, 2014 at 8:57 am

    I always use to let my kids wear their costumes to the grocery store or where ever. Some of their schools were ok with costumes on Halloween day others were not. If they allowed it on Halloween I would let them. Most of our costumes where home made anyways.

  16. Kelly

    October 14, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I can’t even think about costumes because your baby’s smile is so stinking sweet. What a cutie pie!

  17. Personal

    October 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Precious boy! I’d definitely let him wear it, too. 🙂

  18. evilqueen80

    October 16, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    When my daughter was about 3 she wanted to wear her halloween costume (Emily Elizabeth from Clifford) to daycare all day on Halloween. No biggie it’s a skirt sweater and tights so go for it. Come nap time she wets her pants for the first time in months all over the costume. She winds up trick or treating in a Cinderella costume brought from the store on the way home miserable all night

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