Charlotte Parent
Halloween Image Credit: Charlotte Parent
Halloween Image Credit: Charlotte Parent

Choosing Age-Appropriate Halloween Costumes

On Halloween night, children of all ages dress up in costumes ranging from cute characters to scary monsters of all sorts.

Jennifer Reid

How do you know what kind of costume is right for your child? Considering your child’s age and how dependent he is upon you to help him feel safe may help you make that decision — or set a limit — that has your child’s best interest at heart.

Dressing up is a form of imaginative play. In play, children explore various roles, including “good guys” and “bad guys.” In moments of true play, these roles may feel real to young children as they attempt to conquer the good and bad that exists both in the real world and in their internal world (e.g., their moments of behaving versus misbehaving). Thinking about how much your child invests in this type of play, as well as how much she depends on you for feelings of safety (or reality checks), can help you determine what type of costume is appropriate for her.

Most children under age 2 have not developed a capacity to fully engage in pretend play, so dressing up likely has little meaning to them. Their play consists primarily of exploring their surroundings through senses. Children in this age group depend on parents and caregivers for feelings of safety. Keep Halloween short and sweet for them — there is already a lot for their senses to process during this busy night.

Children in this age group have moved beyond solely exploring and are beginning to make sense of their world. They are developing an understanding of why and how things work. This age group relies


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