Today’s Hint: What to do When Your Child Rejects a Halloween Costume


Pajamas like these can make great costumes.

When I bought my daughter her cute butterfly Halloween costume earlier this fall, it didn’t even cross my mind that she might not like wearing it.

However, I was reminded that this could be a possibility when I read a post titled “Toddler rejected costume – anyone else?” on a local mom message board, with some moms responding that their kids wouldn’t wear costumes until age three or four. Similarly, Andrea Wada Davies recently wrote a funny BabyZone piece on the costumes her 11-month-old daughter rejected.

My toddler screams whenever I dress her or change her diaper so now that I think about it, putting fake wings and an antenna headband on her is probably going to be a struggle (and is probably why I haven’t tried a trial run of her costume).

Thankfully, if she does reject wearing the costume, other parents have some good ideas for how to deal with these types of Halloween costume emergencies. Here are four ideas:

1.) Go for a costume made out of regular clothes. If an elaborate costume doesn’t work, you can always opt for a costume cobbled together from your child’s wardrobe. For instance, as one mom suggests, overalls (or jeans), a plaid shirt and a bit of hay in a pocket make a farmer. Similarly, you can dress your child up all in the color of a given animal (think all green for a frog) and put a little face paint on him or her, or opt for a skirt that resembles a poodle skirt or a tutu. Last Halloween, for example, I put my daughter in pink pants, a cute white shirt and a pink tutu and called her a ballerina (see the image above). Other examples of easy costumes you can make from clothes include Charlie Brown and Linus and Sesame Street characters.

2.) Try pajamas. Many kid pajamas look like costumes (skeleton pajamas, anyone) so, as the Rookie Moms recently suggested, pajamas can make a “comfy, cute and wearable” costume. The good news with this approach is that you won’t be wasting money on buying a backup costume since the pajamas can be used as pajamas after the 31st.  If this idea appeals to you, check out the Rookie Moms’ 15 pajama costume ideas.

3.) Leave the costume out, let your child get used to it, try to put it on him or her and repeat until your little one accepts the costume. This approach is worth a try and some parents attest that it does work, though getting a toddler used to a fancy costume is probably easier said than done.

4.) Buy a cheap replacement, making sure to let your child pick the costume out. You generally can find costumes on sale at stores as Halloween nears. As Glen Craig from Free from Broke notes, “you can find some super deals” on costumes if you wait until the last minute to buy them. The caveat: Pickings will probably be slim.

Then, once you’re armed with a new look for your little one, you can save the rejected costume for playtime dress up.

To be sure, as Koa Beck advised on the blog Mommyish, you’ll want to make sure your toddler is well rested, well fed and in a good mood when you try any costume on him or her for the first time. Otherwise, he or she likely will reject it. And there’s also always the good old-fashioned approach of making your child wear what you picked out, even if it leads to a temper tantrum or two.

What are your tricks for dealing with these types of costume rejections?

Share Button

Drop Me a Hint


  1. says

    Um I am tempted to say throw it in the costume bin and just get her something soft and warm. Wings wouldn’t fly here either at that age. I had girls that were very sensitive to different fabrics. They still are.

  2. says

    Sometimes even when they pick the costume out themselves they still won’t wear it. Sigh… You do what you can. These are some great alternatives. I like the idea of leaving the costume out. Some kids need to come into their own as if something were their idea.

  3. says

    We are going the “pajama costume” route this year. My boys already have Spiderman & Batman (with detachable cape!) pjs, so all I bought were masks, which they will probably play with until they outgrow superheroes :-)

  4. says

    I have spent many hours wrestling my children into various costumes. It turns out that it matters more to me that we have a photo of child in costume than that he wears it on a particular day. It also lightens the pressure to take photos a few days before or after. In 5 years, you probably won’t remember or care that it wasn’t exactly Halloween.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *