Top family costumes for Halloween and beyond

Halloween has always been one of my favorite times of year, and even more so now that I’m a parent to two young boys, ages 4 and 7, who share my love of the holiday. Yes, the trick or treating is always a hit, but the biggest reason we get excited about Halloween in our household is the opportunity to dress up as a family.

Last year after Halloween was over, the questions began – “When will it be Halloween again?” From early November 2021 to early October of this year, they had fun dreaming about what character they’d be, until they finally settled on the perfect pick. What characters my husband and I will be are still an important part of the equation, making Halloween truly a family affair!

There’s no doubt their love of Halloween is rooted in a critical part of healthy early childhood development – imaginative play. As the Academy for American Pediatrics puts it: “Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children.”

Halloween offers a perfect opportunity for parents and caregivers to engage with children in imaginative play. That’s why we’ve thoughtfully compiled a list of family costumes ideas for you to try this Halloween (or any time of year, for that matter)! These picks include something for everyone and can be adapted based on the size and makeup of your family. (And perhaps most importantly, they are kid approved by my two little ones!)

With a little creativity and items you may already own at home, each of these options can be DIY. Google any of these costumes followed by “DIY” and a host of ideas will be at your fingertips. However, if you’re inclined to buy them, please use the links below and Amazon will share a small portion of the proceeds with Tennesseans for Quality Early Education. Your purchase will help us advance important advocacy work on behalf of young children and families in Tennessee. If you decide to go that route – THANK YOU on behalf of Tennessee’s littlest learners.

Now, on to the costumes!


Toy Story

If you’ve seen any of Disney’s Toy Story movies, you know there are tons of characters to choose for parents and kids alike. In fact, this Halloween my 7-year-old will take on the role of Woody; my 4-year-old will be Buzz Lightyear; and at the request of our kids, my husband and I plan to be Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.

Purchase on Amazon using links below

Kid Woody

Kid Jessie

Kid Buzz Lightyear

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head Kit 


Superheroes

What kid doesn’t dream of being a superhero and saving the world at some point? When asked at the beginning of the school year what he wanted to be when he grew up, my 4-year-old definitely said, “Spider Man!” The beauty of the family dressing up as superheroes, is that everyone can choose their favorite – from Spider Man to Wonder Woman and everything in between. A few years ago, our family took on the following Avenger characters -- Black Panther, Shuri, Hulk and Spider Man. And the following year, we dressed up as the Incredibles! Batman and Robin have also made an appearance at our house.

Purchase on Amazon using links below

Baby/Toddler Hulk

Toddler Spider Man

Kid Spider Man

Toddler/Kid Wonder Woman

Kid Black Panther

The Incredibles – Baby Jack Jack

The Incredibles – Violet

The Incredibles – Dash


Minions

This was a strong contender for our family costume this year. They’re cute; they’re funny; and there are lots of them! And this option is super easy to create yourself. Grab a yellow shirt, some overalls and goggles, and VOILA!

Purchase on Amazon using links below

Baby/toddler Minion

Kid Minion

Adult Female Minion

Adult Male Minion


Star Wars

Here’s another option based on a series of movies known and loved by kids and adults alike. Just thinking about a baby or toddler dressed up as Baby Yoda, puts a smile on my face! Other popular characters include Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Darth Vader.

Purchase on Amazon using links below

Baby/toddler Baby Yoda

Kid Darth Vader

Kid Luke Skywalker

Kid Rey


Safari Animals

Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! From babies and toddlers to elementary aged, kids of all ages (and their families) can find an animal they love or dress up as an explorer going on a safari.

Purchase on Amazon using links below

Baby/toddler Lion

Baby/toddler Tiger

Kid giraffe

Kid explorer


"Spooktacular" costumes

If your little one is looking for something a little spookier, here are some of our favorite Halloween costumes for kids that aren’t too scary.

Purchase on Amazon using links below

Baby/toddler bat

Kid skeleton

Kid ghost

Boy vampire

Girl vampire

Kid witch


I hope these costumes inspired by my own family’s experiences have provided some inspiration for you and the little learners in your life. Engaging in imaginative play has countless benefits for your child. Whether it’s at Halloween or any other time of the year, children learn through play, and the first eight years of their lives are especially critical for this development.

Here’s to happy playing at Halloween and beyond!

By Nicole Smith, Senior Vice President of External Affairs at TQEE and mom to two of Tennessee’s littlest learners

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