Featured Journal

Costumes for the Faint of Heart

Written by Kathy Glow

Even though fall is my favorite time of year – the colors, the smells, the crispness in the air – Halloween is my least favorite holiday – the scary costumes, the blood and gore, the monsters and ghosts. I blame Halloween for my inability to look under a bed, open an unknown door, or go into a dark basement by myself without getting the chills.

I have never been to a haunted house.  I have horrible nightmares from watching any movie or television show labeled a “thriller” (BTW, have you seen 666 Park Avenue? Creepy!!), and costume parties just aren’t really my bag. I tend to imagine that the guy wearing the slasher costume really is a psycho.

That said, now I have children, and Halloween is one of the big time holidays. Not only do I have children, but I have BOYS. Boys who, while they are not into blood and gore now, will be eventually.

I’m definitely in favor of the cute and creative costumes over the scary or overly commercialized ones, but my boys are getting ideas of their own. They would rather be ANYTHING but something cute.


Before this happens, I have to cling to a simpler time. A time when the costumes were as darling as the wearers and the memories invoke giggles even today.

Only a baby can get away with wearing a big “BOO” on his butt.

I distinctly remember our first Halloween. We were living in New York far away from family and friends. I had two babies under a year, my hubby was on call in the Bronx that night, and I was eagerly anticipating an onslaught of trick-or-treaters . . .who never came. So the babies and I were left with a huge bowl of candy to ourselves. Despite the loot I got to eat for months afterward, it was a bit of a disappointment.

Ohhh, it’s shiny. No, no, boys . . .that’s Mommy’s “medicine.”

Then there was the first Halloween we actually took the boys trick-or-treating. We were back in Omaha, the twins were just under three, and Adam was just over a year. Joey decided, on his own, to be The Man with The Yellow Hat from Curious George to match his one-year-old brother’s monkey costume. I couldn’t have planned it better myself.

This was the best picture I could get of the three of them.

I will never forget this Halloween for several reasons. After the first house, Joey would obediently say, “Trick-or-treat,” but when people tried to give him candy, he would say, “No thank you. I already have candy.” (Seriously, whose child was he?)

Jack couldn’t say “Trick-or-treat,” so he just shouted at everyone, “Happy Halloweeeeen!” And my poor monkey, Adam, ended up in the E.R. later that night with a nasty case of the croup. For our first official Halloween, it was a doozy!

After that, came a slew of both store-bought and homemade costumes, all rating high on the cuteness scale. For two years in a row, Joey wanted to be some sort of animal that required Grandma to hand-make the costume.

He looks like a sheep, but he was actually a bunny rabbit.

Transformers, race car drivers, pirates – we have it all, even a shark, a huge homemade cat costume, and butterfly wings!

One year, Jack decided that he’d like to be a skeleton for Halloween. I took that as the inevitable sign that he was growing up, entering the world of true, gory boy costumes.

However, he put the costume on, took one look at himself in the mirror, and decided it was too scary.

This costume still resides in the closet, unworn by any of the boys.

For now, I’m kind of glad that my boys share my same apprehension for anything gory or scary at this time of year. In fact, a couple of them won’t even walk by the Halloween display at Target and are even scared to go to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch in Gretna.

This year, the boys are all dressing as characters from Star Wars (except Baby Evan, although the boys think I should dress him as Baby Yoda). I know that in the years to come, when they are borrowing my makeup to try and create some sort of knife wound/undead zombie look/vampire blood, I’ll have the memories of the “cute” costumes to keep me from having nightmares.

What are your kids (or you) dressing as this Halloween? Where do you stand on the whole cute vs. scary debate for costumes?

About the author

Kathy Glow

Kathy Glow is a wife and mom to four lively boys and one beautiful angel in Heaven, lost to cancer. Most days you can find her under a pile of laundry ordering take-out. When she is not driving all over town in her mini-van or wiping “boy stuff” off the walls, she is writing about what life is REALLY like after all your dreams come true. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Good Housekeeping, and Mamalode; but Her View From Home is her favorite place to be. Her blog is at www.lifewiththefrog.com. You can follow her on Facebook at Kissing the Frog.


  • Kathy – What fun memories!!
    We are going through the CUTEness stage right now, too. I love it. I actually love dress up parties. But I agree with you – the gore and stuff should be avoided as long as possible. Sigh. I have a boy. So I’m sure it is coming. Sigh again.

  • My son will be Spiderman and my daughter Tinker Bell. I LOVE Halloween. We have friends who do an adults only dress up party every year. My husband and I always dress up. The blood and gore don’t bother me but I prefer not to dress up (or have my kids dress up) in those costumes. I can only watch some scary movies and often hide behind a pillow or my hands watching only a corner of the screen. We have been watching 666 Park Ave. too. It is so creepy, but so far I like it. 🙂

    My son has never been scared of the scary stuff. Even when he was really little he loved and the store displays and wants to go to Scary Acres in Omaha(Which we have said no to, since it is really really scary. Like to scary for me to EVER go to.) The kid friendly haunted house at Vala’s has never been enough for him and he always begs to go to the scarier one.
    My daughter gets scared. She is like me though she tries to be brave but something jumps out or is too creepy and she backs down.My son really wanted to be something scary this year. He saw the Scream ghost costume, which I had to talk him out of because I knew his sister would be terrified.

  • I’m all about the Cute!! Hoping to stay away from the scary stuff for as long as possible… this year I’ll have a loveable lion and a little ladybug!

  • Hi Kelly, I CAN”T watch any thrillers either. Too active of an imagination and who wants to be scared anyway. I’m in favor of dressing up like superheros or something cute….scary not so much.

  • PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make Evan be Yoda! You have to do this stuff before they are old enough to protest! And YOU should be Princess Leia!!!!
    Think of it as a public service!

  • Yea – even though every once in a while I DO like a scary movie – I never did get into the creepy costumes. I won’t have to worry about that with my girls, either. I don’t think anyway. 🙂 I want them to stay in ladybug and duck costumes for a while. 😉