Wondering what the hottest Halloween costumes for tweens will be this year? We asked Alison Pentland, owner of FeeFiFoFun Costume Concierge & Shoppe, to share the top costume trends for 2016 with us, and tips for making them work for your kids.
Since films, comics and gaming generate thousands of new characters every year you’re unlikely to find ready-made costumes for most of them. Here’s some advice to help smooth this year’s tween Halloween costume selection.
No longer your sweet little pumpkin, tweens are strongly influenced by friends. They will be noncommittal about their costume choice or will change their mind in the last two weeks leading up to Halloween. Be sure you have the time and energy to stand in line for at least three hours.
Tweens are now aware of the real dangers in the world around them. Halloween has historically been a time people use to make sense of unfamiliar or scary things so it makes sense that tweens may use it to explore difficult ideas with their peers and parents.
It’s typical of boys to wear a mask or costume representing something violent. Tween boys who are into gaming, like Kingdoms Hearts, Undertale or Overwatch, may push a little ahead of their age group where costumes are concerned. I’d head right to Google adding the word “cosplay” behind the character name to see if the costumes are available in ready-made or are a DIY.
Macabre costume play signifies the kind of strength that tween boys have not yet acquired. Try not to overreact. Even if your tween feigns indifference, your reassurance, curiosity and openness are still important to them.
Not all costume play is gender identified. I love seeing gaggles of Hogwart’s students or Game of Thrones warriors. Your daughter might surprise you by choosing a male character like the Legend of Zelda’s Link, or your son as the Tooth Fairy. Some tweens, who have moved into abstract thinking, might show their humour by dressing as a slice of pizza. All of these are wonderful ways for your child to get into disguise and explore their Other self.
Girls may be thinking about their future self as women, their changing bodies and romantic feelings for boys. A heads-up that the aisles of seasonal Halloween stores will be filled with young adult women trying on sexy costumes. To avoid endless arguments about the appropriateness of certain costumes with your tween, locate an independent costume store which is more likely to have private change rooms.
Girls may still push for costume versions that are ill-fitting and unsuitable. For example, the Suicide Squad Harley Quinn costume is very risqué. It was designed for a 21 year old on film, not a comic book character from the 70’s. Parents might want to pass on the version with its fishnet stockings and booty shorts as there are many different Harley Quinn options.
Girls are more likely to do a group theme and this year I am seeing a trend for female superheroes. This includes Wonderwoman, Black Widow and Supergirl in ready-made costumes, but also Teen Titan Raven which is pure DIY. Powerpuff Girls are ready-made, but the largest size is a girl’s 12-14.
Girls have a lot more choices. Not only did Star Wars introduce a new warrior character Rey, but they’ve recycled all the old characters, like Darth Vader, in super cute dresses.
The onset of puberty, as early as age nine, also impacts costume choices for girls and boys. This includes body odour challenges wearing synthetic costumes and growth spurts which, if they are over 90 lbs or 5 ft tall, puts them into an “adult” size costume. Adult sizes are more expensive, and as mentioned, not often suitable for tweens. Instead consider accessories like our one-size fits all Pikachu “costume kit” with ears, a tail and cheek tattoos. Slap it on a yellow hoodie and make your own Pokemon ball for the hottest costume look of the year.
In the end, your tween may just open the tickle trunk at the last minute. It may be the last time they go trick or treating, so I’d make sure there’s a vampire cape or a couple of crazy hats ready to go!
About Alison Pentland
Alison Pentland writes OffthePorch.ca, exploring the social culture of everyday life, and operates FeeFiFoFun.ca, a costume web shoppe and concierge service.