Coming up with Halloween costumes: Trick or treat?


It changes every day—sometimes two or three times.

“Mama, can I be a pirate?”

“I want to be Batman!”

“What I really want to be is Peter Rabbit. Or a bank robber! Can I be a bank robber?”

For months now, whenever the Halloween conversation came up, I said yes to any costume idea. I knew it would change soon enough, and most of them are doable.

And though I’m a fan of not spending much on costumes—and making pieces at home to make them a little different—I figured we could pull most of these off. And we had plenty of time.

But all of a sudden it’s October. So I think we need to start pinning this down.

And there’s the challenge.

Leo and Daniel are full of ideas. And they love every single one.

If Mama got to pick, they’d be a beaver and a ghost, since those are the handed-down costumes we have hanging in their closets. But I’m still trying to figure out how large a vote I get here.

You see, when I was a child, I never picked my Halloween costume. (I’m on the left in this photo.)

As Halloween approached, my five siblings and I looked through the family costume supply and picked whichever one fit that year.

The baby was a banana—dressed in yellow, with a banana sticker stuck on the back—before graduating to the mouse costume. I remember dressing as a clown, a crayon, a rabbit, a cat, a dinner table—and I brought home full bags of candy every year.

My brother Ricky dressed as a robot—in the same set of aluminum-foil-covered boxes—for years.

We don’t trick or treat together anymore, so for all I know he still wears the same costume

So this whole concept that children get to choose their costumes is a new one for me. But Leo is almost 5. He and Daniel are also in preschool, and so they are probably hearing from the other children that you get to decide what you want to be for Halloween.

And so the deliberation continues, as the boys consider superheroes, uniforms of civil servants, animals, storybook characters, Bigfoot, aliens, and vehicles.

If I had my guess, Daniel will end up as a firefighter, and Leo will be a high-speed bullet train engineer. But every now and then I talk up the beaver costume. It fits both of them and looks great.

Of course, I have to be careful with my costume marketing. If both boys decide they want to be the beaver, I’ll be in trouble.

Mainly, though, I’d just like someone to make a decision so I can get started on the assembly.

A few nights ago Daniel told me he knew what he wanted to be. I held my breath hoping it was something I could handle.

“Be garbage duck man…fire duck man—same time!” he said, with a huge smile.

Well, it’s easier than combining Peter Rabbit with the bank robber.

Photos courtesy of my parents

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.