This week was a milestone – my firstborn, my little baby boy, got an invitation to his first teenage birthday party: set to be held in the function room of a pub on a Friday night! I feel it’s the start of a slippery slope…also characterised by the Tween Halloween Costume Ideas Dilemma.
We’ve had this for a couple of years now – the old favourites of superheroes and young literary wizards just don’t cut the coolness mustard anymore, and he’s in the market for something a bit more grown up – but not enough to give him nightmares from catching sight of his reflection in a window. And that’s where the dilemma lies: there seems to be very little middle ground on the market out there. It’s either Harry Potter or Freddy Kreuger, with nothing in between. And don’t get me started on what’s out there for girls…it beggars belief.
So I’ve had my thinking cap on, and come up with a few ideas – and I decided to share them, just in case you’re facing the same dilemma yourself!
Vampires, ghosts, zombies and witches are classic go-tos, and your tween might fancy going for one of those, with a modern twist. There’s lots of scope to go chic and spooky, and bridge the gap between safe, childhood cartoony characters, and the more grown-up depictions – a school uniform-wearing zombie, a tweenage vampire or a ghost in jeans – lots of ways to go quirky, cool and not too gory. They can also put their own image ideas into the costume design, and customise with face paint art…
For the cultured tween, you might consider someone from history – there are plenty of gory villains to choose from, or you could go with one of the heroes. Serial bridegroom Henry VIII, or perhaps the dandy highwayman Dick Turpin; or take the higher moral ground with Boudica, the anti-Roman hero of the Ancient Brits, or one of the wives that Henry beheaded. Most female characters can be achieved with a long dress or sheet, and I’ve found (over many years of school dress-up challenges) that a white shirt and wizard cloak are extremely versatile items for male character adaptations!
Film and Fiction Characters – but Spookier
For tweens who love books, film or tv, dressing up as a favourite character could be the answer. Characters like Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games,” Percy Jackson, or even Alice in Wonderland offer a wide range of creative possibilities without being overly frightening. Dabble with the slightly-scary and pick a Ghostbuster, or one of the kids from Stranger Things.
Any character can be Halloweened-up with a little red face paint acting as blood – so you can always adapt an old dressing-up outfit and turn it into a slightly-scary Halloween version of itself, perhaps cutting it up here and there for a jagged effect, without going too overboard with the gore.
Punny and Playful
For those who enjoy a tongue-in-cheek joke, a more lighthearted approach to their Halloween costume might appeal. Who doesn’t love a “cereal killer”? Create your very own pun-tastic costume by attaching mini cereal boxes to a shirt, accompanied with some “blood” and a knife you’ve fashioned from cardboard and foil. Or a cat burglar – classic Halloween cat ears and tail, paired with a stripy t-shirt and swag bag.
I’ve no idea which one he’ll choose – or if any of these will come close to the undefined picture he has in his head of the perfect Tween Halloween costume – but I’m hoping that at least they will spark his imagination a little, beyond the generic plastic answers from Amazon. Whatever we come up with, I hope he can still enjoy one of his favourite childhood occasions – even though we’re clearly leaving early childhood behind, and entering the murky portals of the teenage years…