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October 1, 2019

The Secret to a Great Family Costume

By Kate White, Glazer Children's Museum

Halloween is one of my all-time favorite family holidays! With two young kids at home, I start planning our ensemble costume months in advance. I enjoy the creativity and imagination it takes to consider every detail and coordinate costumes that complement each other. This year, my daughters have requested a “pirate fairy” theme, so I have my work cut out for me! While I love making our costumes, I also love seeing what others dream up. I’m lucky to work at the Glazer Children’s Museum where I get to witness some of the best family ensemble costumes at our annual Halloween Spree. As I plan for this year, I have been asking myself what makes a great ensemble costume. Here are the elements that tie together some of the best family costumes I’ve seen:

  • Make sure the kids are the stars! Sorry parents, but your role is to be an accessory that enhances your little ones’ costumes. The best example that I’ve seen is a kid dressed as President Obama with his parents as secret service agents.
  • Incorporate the stroller or wagon. Whether it becomes Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, a velociraptor cage, or a racecar, the wagon or stroller can enhance your group costume. And you’ll be glad you have it when your kids get tired of walking six blocks from home during trick-or-treating.
  • Include the bump! I love it when pregnant moms embrace their bumps at Halloween. I’ve seen baby bumps dressed as Slimer from Ghostbusters, the Death Star from Star Wars, and Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. to name a few. Just because baby isn’t on the outside yet, doesn’t mean your littlest family member shouldn’t have a big job this Halloween!
  • Enjoy the baby phase while it lasts. When your kids are really little, you can opt for sarcastic or ironic costumes to make other grownups laugh! My favorite was a Game of Thrones theme with dad as Khal Drogo, the kids as dragons, and mom as Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons. Embrace this phase while you can because as they get older you better believe they will have their own ideas.
  • Don’t forget the pets. If your pets are into it, they can really bring the whole theme together. My favorite examples are Sven from Frozen, Willy Wonka, Sebastian from The Little Mermaid, and Yoshi from Mario Brothers. In a city that is so pet-friendly, I can’t wait to see the creative pet costumes on the Tampa Riverwalk this year!

The most important ingredient to a great family ensemble costume is a little silliness. Don’t take it too seriously and don’t worry about being too literal. Just have fun with it. I hope to see what you come up with at Halloween Spree at the Glazer Children’s Museum on Oct. 26! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m on a mission to find a pair of fairy wings and some pirate hats.

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