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Halloween Costumes: Homemade or Storebought? Babble.com’s Parental Advisory.

My three-year-old son wants to be Superman for Halloween. I want him to have a homemade costume. But his dad thinks we should buy him one that’s more “realistic.” Any thoughts to help us decide? – Mrs. Kent

Dear Mrs. Kent,

If you’re a crafty parent, Halloween can be a great opportunity to do your thing. It can be an opportunity for a fun creative and collaborative project. It can also be an opportunity for disappointment. We personally have toiled happily away on handcrafted costumes we thought to be the perfect combination of creativity, cuteness and kid appeal, only to find that the intended wearer suddenly developed a costume phobia on October 31st. We have since learned that this is not uncommon, and can happen even when kids are thoroughly involved in the creative process. Kids change their minds on a whim, about costumes as about everything else.

While this is your child’s Halloween experience we’re talking about, other things do sometimes get woven in. Your own memories of Halloweens past, for example, may be lingering and inspiring you in whatever direction. If you loved your own homemade costumes (or hated your store-bought ones) you may want to follow the tradition or start your own. Your husband may have felt stupid carrying his tinfoil sword while others shined with glowing plastic light sabers. But whatever your histories, your son’s costume experience is a fresh start. It may also be worth thinking about whether there are other motives at work. Halloween events can have a competitive undercurrent for some (even when there’s no official award for best costume). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to own up to your own feelings if they’re part of what’s inspiring your creative plan.

Our best advice on this issue would be to not worry too much about the situation. Taking on the costume as a project can be great fun for you (or for everybody who’s involved). Maybe your son will appreciate having his own unique outfit, or maybe he won’t. The key is not to invest so much in the costume (time, money, meaning) that you feel let down if it doesn’t have the imagined effect . . . or never even gets worn. If you do decide to buy a Superman set from the drugstore, rest assured that it will not stunt his creative growth, or reflect poorly on you as a thoughtful, imaginative and dedicated parent. Unless he’s expressing strong opinions one way or the other, you can pretty much go either way without risking much in the way of lasting effects.

Have a question? Email parentaladvisory@babble.com

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