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Pre-Trick-or-Treating Halloween

Halloween For the Pre-Trick-or-Treating Set

By Isabel Kallman

Advice Smackdown ArchivesThis is how your Smackdown sausage gets made: Occasionally I pluck questions from the queue that I think I could use a little collaboration/input on, or ones that I think might be better suited for a guest blogger (hey, I need days off too!). I forward these questions on to Isabel, the chief bottle-washer here at Alphamom, and this time, she up and ran with it herself, because she is the Queen of Halloween, you guys. I second/third/fourth each and every one of her suggestions.


First off, love your column and love you.

Okay, here’s my scenario. I have a little girl (our first) who will be 9 months old around the time of Halloween this year. I’ve never been super into Halloween and am not super creative when it comes to costumes. Usually, I avoid costume parties at all costs, make up some excuse why I came to the party not wearing a costume, and/or wear a plaid shirt and claim to be a cowgirl. Yee-haw.

So while I’m not super passionate about Halloween/costumes, I think I would feel terrible if we had no pictures of my daughter’s first Halloween with her dressed up as something adorable. So while I think it would be way more fun to order pizza and watch tv on the couch this Halloween, I feel like we should do soooommething.

But what do we do? I’ve looked at Target and their stuff seems so overpriced/lame/every kid on the block will be wearing it. Do you have any creative ideas for a little girl that aren’t too involved/pricey? I do NOT want her to be a pea in the pod, Winnie the Pooh, or some other totally overdone costume. Also, what should we actually do with her on trick-or-treating night? We live on a short dead end street that doesn’t get frequented by kids so passing out candy at our house is a no go. I’ve thought about just going to a friend’s house and passing out candy there so people can oooh and ahhh over her. Or should I just take her around in her costume in a stroller and reject candy from people (who wants to be the nearly 30 year old woman taking candy for her nine month old child)?

Alternatively, are there any fun Halloween traditions that people have that don’t involve the trick-or-treating/costume ordeal?

Please help.


First of all the mere fact that you wrote in asking this question means that I think you’ll regret not having dressed up your baby girl for Halloween if you don’t. True, she won’t remember a second of it, but the photos will hopefully be around forever. And, I hate to break it to you, but you may not have many years to actually participate in the Halloween dress decision-making. Starting as early as age three or four, children become VERY opinionated about what they will dress-up as for Halloween.

Going back to my early point about memory-making, even though my now seven-year old wants to dress-up like some awful Freddy Krueger-Jason mashup, he recently asked me to dig out the photos of him when he went as this adorable owl for Halloween at six months old. AND, he took one of the pictures to school to show his buddies (awww).

As you can see from this costume I had specially-made, I was THAT mom. My priorities were different then than they are now. I also happened to have too much time on my hands and much of that time was clearly spent clipping Martha Stewart Magazine articles on the perfect infant Halloween costume.

But, I’m very happy I have all these adorable photos of my non-mobile son in his first Halloween costume. Because by the next year, even though I had an equally adorable custom costume made (Elvis— the Vegas version) for my then year-and-half old, I couldn’t snap one picture. The kid was a whirling dervish and every photo is blurry. Luckily, I have his picture seared into my mind’s eye.

Getting back to you, I think you should totally look into investing in a creative costume. If Etsy had been around when my son was an infant (or even preschooler) I totally would have been all over their shops looking for unique, handmade costumes and recommend you do the same. In fact, I already did some of that work for you. I’m giving like that!

So, you mentioned that you don’t want to spend a lot of money. I also think that one way to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to the cute factor with Halloween costumes is to focus on dressing up a baby in some sort of headdress, kind of like my son and his owl costume. What I think really made the outfit killer was the cap and mask.

So, I found some costumes where you buy really interesting headpieces and then you match it with your daughter’s own colorful onesies or a basic one-piece button-up. Even if you have to buy these pieces new at least you know that you’ll be able to reuse them daily. But, one thing to think about before you buy any type of mask for your baby is whether your daughter will allow for it to stay on. For my son, one day he had no problem wearing his owl mask and then a week later we coincidentally had some professional photos taken and decided to throw on his costume and he kept batting at the face mask. Just a thought that maybe you want to try an inexpensive mask first from the dollar store before you go all out.

But, here we go:


I just adore this baby Elephant knit cap which is $25. The artist of this cap also makes others like frogs, dragons, and giraffes so go poke around her shop. But I think the elephant is the cutest. Just pair with a grey or pink one-piece suit or onesie with tights—all of which is reusable– and you’re DUN.


I also love these little caps by Soil. Your daughter could go as Amelia Earhart, a superhero, a rose or Laura Ingalls if you pair the bonnet with a sweet dress.


With these knit caps from The Miniature Shop, your daughter could be a flamingo, parrot, chicken, penguin, owl, shark or frog. At $50, this little knit cap is a lot of money, but could also serve to keep her warm this winter if you live in a colder climate. For $15 you can also order extra booties to match and enhance the costume.

If you’re more in the DIY mode, here are three ideas for you:


We have a really easy-to-make owl costume tutorial without any sewing in our archives. You just need some fabric, a pair of scissors and permanent fabric glue. For a baby, I would swap out the t-shirt for a brown or black onesie and tights.

Or, there’s Frida Kahlo!

frieda costume

The key to this costume is drawing a unibrow with eye make-up. Then, all you need is a big flowered clip or head band and a Mexican-style peasant dress like this one which your daughter could reuse during the winter with a turtleneck and tights underneath. This costume would be super-memorable.

I also love this Baby Sushi costume.


Unfortunately this Etsy seller has stopped taking orders for this current Halloween season. However, looking at the costume, this looks like something you could possibly do by yourself with a little bit of felt, stuffing and fabric glue.

If you’re still looking for a less expensive non-DIY costume we have always loved the baby Princess Leia costume available for only $20 at Amazon. There’s something about Star Wars that always brings a smile to faces:


Now that we’ve got some costume options out of the way, what do you actually do with a baby on Halloween? Since this year Halloween falls on a Sunday, it shifts the whole trick-or-treating schedule to earlier in the day since there’s no school or weekly work schedule to deal with it. Families will start trick-or-treating in the mid-afternoon, you’ll see. Since your block is not trick-or-treat friendly, I would recommend spending the day strolling around your town with your baby in costume during the day. Go window shopping and to the café. Everyone loves to ooh and ahh over babies in their cute costumes. I also love your idea of going to your friend’s and passing out candy at the door. Then when you’re all pooped at night, you can still retreat to your couch to order pizza and watch TV (Dexter is perfect for Halloween night) like you really want to. Have fun and take lots of pictures is my main recommendation.

In terms of other traditions that don’t involve trick-or-treating / costumes, I turn to you readers. Any other ideas or fun traditions in which you participate?

(Update: you should also checkout this awesome post I just found at Cool Mom Picks. They have and link to some great costume ideas for babies).

Find more Halloween costumes, crafts, decorations and treats from our archives here.

Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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