Delegating to Dad: Halloween Costumes

Some of you BirminghamMoms wouldn’t dream of leaving the Halloween costume to anyone else, and I’m certain many of you had your little dumplings’ attire selected before the first leaf fell. For next year, though, I’m going to recommend that you let dad handle costume selection for several reasons. 

Dads generally don’t get to participate in the fantasy play as much as we do. Let’s face it, we’ve generally read more books, sang more songs and coordinated more dress-up play than dad has gotten into. We’ve procured most of the Halloween decor as well as the candy (unfortunately, we’ve eaten it and had to go back for more) and now it’s time to let the other big kid of the house have some fun.

I’ve found that dads still have just the mischief quotient required to make for a good time at Halloween, whether that’s planning tricks or treats. Maybe I’m too cautious or maybe my husband is just more playful. Either way, I’ve determined I’m way too uptight to do this season in the all-out way that the kids will always remember.

Sure, I’ve made mistakes. One Christmas I put him in charge of outdoor lights, and under the kids’ influence he purchased blinking red ones. I returned to the house that evening to find the front step railings throbbing bright red like a severed artery. This is when I decided I’d handle Christmas but Halloween was his domain, since whatever he did, it couldn’t look wrong.

Another case in point is costumes. We’ve all done the pea-pods, pumpkins, etc. during baby days, but the time comes when the kids want to break out and just be gross, scary, nonsensical, or all three. Would anyone but dads or indulgent grandparents be buying the bleeding Scream costumes of the past few years? (For those who don’t know, a bleeding Scream costume has a plastic “heart” that the kid squeezes to pump ”blood” that drips down the face mask. It loses some of its terror when the heart makes a little squeak and signals that something is about to happen. However, this year we’re doubling the effect by adding the “open chest” portion from another costume.)

A plus of letting dad take the kids to get costumes is that you have deniability. You can face the shocked expressions of genteel homeowners on Halloween night by just shaking your head and whispering, “Can you believe it? His dad bought it for him…” while dad nods cheerfully from behind at the curb. Who cares? Your real objective is a share of the candy anyway. If the kids approach the door alone, the neighbors never need to know who let this wild child out for the night. Just stay back in the darkness and avoid standing under the streetlamp.

Even if the kids haven’t gotten to the gross/scary phase, dads are still the best advisors for super heroes and even princesses. For one thing, they usually have some suggestions for how to handle accessories like light sabers and gloves. For another, they’re more gullible when it comes to buying the wigs, tiaras and sparkly shoes that make a princess costume so appealing to begin with. Dad only gets to play the prince for a few short years. Let him play the part.