Ask Design Mom: Coordinating Halloween Costumes

What do you (and your readers) think of coordinating costumes? I have 9 month old boy-girl twins, and I am having trouble deciding on whether they should have coordinating/matching costumes or totally separate.  Also, any ideas for costumes would be helpful as well! Thanks — Erika

Thanks for your question, Erika! Can you believe it’s already time to start thinking Halloween costumes? Crazy. This is a fun topic, and I’m sure it all comes down to personal preference. At our house, we’ve had lots of fun coordinating costumes — especially when the kids were all teeny tiny. One year, Ralph and Maude were the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood. I hired a seamstress to make the costumes because they were beyond my sewing skill level. The wolf was made of smoky grey faux fur. Little Red’s dress and hood were made from red silk — and lined with the same grey fur! It was the cutest thing ever.

Another year, Ralph, Maude & Olive were The Three Bears (or Three Blairs). Ralph was Papa Bear. Maude was Mama Bear. Little baby Olive was Baby Bear. All 3 wore matching bear costumes I picked up online, but I altered them slightly. I added a necktie for Papa Bear and a hair bow for Mama Bear. It was a particularly chilly Halloween and I remember being grateful for cozy bear costumes.

More recently, my kids coordinated costumes around a theme: Classic Halloween. Ralph was a mummy. Maude was Mrs. Frankenstein. Olive was a witch. Oscar was a werewolf (the Big Bad Wolf costume repurposed). And Betty was a Jack O’ Lantern. You can see photos here.

On other years, we’ve had no coordination at all.

What about you, Festive Readers? Do you like to coordinate Halloween costumes for your kids? Have you had any particular successes?

66 thoughts on “Ask Design Mom: Coordinating Halloween Costumes”

  1. I love coordinating costumes! We’ve had candy success doing this, and the compliments are pretty cool to0.

    For my sister’s first trick-or-treating Halloween, she was a lamb at age 4, I was a shepherdess, complete with real crook and a large picnic baset for the candy.

    Another year, 9 I think, she was red-riding hood with an authentic german dress, and I was granny and the wolf (a granny gown and cap from the Vermont catalog, spectacles and a wolf puppet), and my guy was the lumberjack. We used the basket again, but this we had my guy use a backpack so she wouldn’t have to lug a lot of candy around.

    This year, my daughter will be a minion, and I’m going as Gru.

    1. Ooh, Angel, you are a girl after my own heart!
      My sister and I have both done coordinating costumes for our kids…we both have a strong-willed big sis and an easygoing little bro: guess who chooses the costumes?
      Most memorably, my sister’s kids were a white rabbit +Alice in Wonderland. This year, my kids will be Woody and Jessie from Toy Story.
      For babies, wouldn’t a caterpillar + a butterfly be cute?

      1. Yay! I’d LOVE to do an Alice in Wonderland with my sister…that sounds like so much fun!

        Hahahaha…and yes, I bet big sis has opinions. I like the Toy Story characters, and I’ve seen some good costumes out there. a catepillar and butterfly would be adorable! Actually, that would work for siblings too since the catepillar would technically be younger and butterfly older…brilliant really!

  2. Love coordinating costumes!! Every year we do a family theme for the church trunk-or-treat and they kids can be what ever they want for trick-or-treating on the 31st. (Sometimes they keep the same costume for both, sometimes not.) This way everyone’s happy.

  3. I think it’s a hoot to coordinate costumes with the child. For Wren’s first Halloween last year, she was a (Queen) bee and we were bee keepers. Grandpa Jon keeps bees so we had all the stuff already. Why not use it?!

    This year, Wren will be an apple because she’s obsessed with everything apple, but I’m not sure yet how to coordinate with her. A worm? A tree? Eve?


  4. That is a great mummy! I love the more classic Halloween costumes. This year Daddy said our girls both have to pick something scary (I think he’s getting tired of the princess, fairy, etc). So my oldest picked to be the Bride of Frankenstein. (She still snuck in the bride thing, which is one of her favorite dress-up characters anyway — so very clever of her!) My youngest is going to be a witch.

  5. I love coordinating costumes. My little brother and sister were the most fun to do. We coordinated their costumes a few years in a row. They were in order
    A letter and a mailbox
    A slice of pizza and a can of root beer
    A crazed painter and his masterpiece

    Then I left for college and missed what they were the next few years. Probably my favorite coordinating costumes was the first year I was married my husband went as Professor Plum, I went as Miss Scarlett, and my sister made a tiny little wrench costume for our baby who was two weeks old!

  6. I love coordinating costumes. I’ve been trying to get my husband to be Vincent Vega to my Mia Wallace for years, but no luck yet. Anyway, this year my very active 20 month-old son is going to be BamBam and his adorable 1 year-old cousin is going to be Pebbles. Not sure if the hubby and I will do Betty & Barney or if my sis and bro-in-law will want to be Fred & Wilma, but the kids sure will be cute!

  7. My son chose the costumes last year for himself (age 4) and his sister (age 2). He was a gorilla and she was a banana! It was adorable and they both loved it. Not surprisingly, his sister wanted to choose for herself this year. They will not be coordinated, but I suspect they will be again in the not too distant future.

  8. we haven’t ever coordinated as a fam-damily for all hallows eve …but this year, i am pulling out the big guns.

    this year my children are all going to be HAMBURGERS. that’s right, the food. and my husband and i are going be workers from our fave burger joint: Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

    my brother is going to fly in for the event–he may be the oldest trick or treater out there at 19, but he will be dawning a fabulous french fry costume.

    hoping that we can get a good photo for a campy christmas card that reads something like, “it’s been a delicious year!”

    haha. i am SO excited!

  9. My son is four and my daughter will be almost 11 mos old on Halloween.

    I wanted to do Pebbles and Bam Bam. My four year old doesn’t get that nor does he think it’s fun. :(

    He’s going to be Woody from Toy Story (he wanted to be the Little Mermaid…think I’ve talked him out of that and we’re not watching anymore girl-as-main-character Disney movies until after Halloween is over). :) Can’t decide whether to dress my daughter as Jessie, a ballerina or a Chia Pet (’cause she’s rocking hair that stands straight up right now).

  10. Defintely love coordinating outfits. If you can do it go for it! A friend dressed her three kids up in star wars outfits…her little girl was princess laya. Loved it. I know this year you will see a lot of kids in toy story costumes which is very cute. There is always ragdy ann and andy.
    Thing 1 and Thing 2. Little Bo Beep and a sheep. Hansel and Gretel. I could go on.:)

  11. I love the idea of coordinating costumes!

    Last year my 4 year old was Luigi from Super Mario Bros. — and he wants to wear that costume EVERY DAY! This year we are all dressing up as characters from Super Mario Bros. — Daddy is going to be Wario (the yellow, “evil” mario), I’m going to be Princess Peach (appropriately), my 7 yr old and 5 yr old will be Mario & Luigi (recyling last years costume!) and my 3 yr old is going to be Toadstool. It’s going to be fun!

  12. This year, my 4-year-old has decided that he’ll be Thing 2, my husband will be Cat-in-the-Hat, our infant will be Thing 1, and I’ll be Sally. We’ll bring along his fishy stuffed animal, too.

    Not sure why he is intent on Thing 2, but so it is. All of this is inspired by the new show on PBS Kids, I think. I’m just psyched about the costumes, which should be easy to make and wear. (plus: blue wigs on the boys?! awesome.)

    1. Excellent! When my twins were infants they were also Thing 1 and Thing 2. Super easy to find red footie jammies and blue hats. Computer generate the circular thing 1/2 part and you are good to go.

  13. a good one for a family is the incredibles. My daughter wanted us to do this last year but I my husband wasn’t keen on squeezing into a lycra suit! LOL

  14. My sister dressed her4 year old son as a lion or bear (can’t remember which one!), and she dressed as the zoo keeper. It was a super quick outfit to throw together and they made very cute combo!

  15. This year, my youngest daughter (almost 2) is dressing up as little red riding hood, my older daughter (7), the big bad wolf. I will be grandma and my husband, the woodsman. I’ve never coordinated before so we will see how it goes.

  16. All costumes made by me

    DD was mary poppins we were chimney sweeps

    We all were a family of treckies

    DD was a peacock I was a bird watcher

    We both were cows and DH was a farmer

    We all were pirates

    This year it’s a 50’s theme

  17. My 3 year old is going to be a firefighter and my (will-be) 15 month old (who loves dogs) a dalmation puppy.

    I saw a family last year where the toddler was curious george, the dad was the man with the yellow hat and mom was Professor Wiseman (who is a woman on PBS). It was actually really cute.

    1. We did this with our boys when they were younger & it was a hit! MY oldest (6 then) was a firefighter and our youngest (then 2) was a dalmation! Precious!

  18. My son is only 15 months so I don’t have much experience with costumes yet but as a kid I loved totally random things (Saturn, reporter, Mrs. Claus) so I have a feeling the randomness will continue but I am always very impressed with families that are able to coordinate–super fun.
    btw- the picture where you are rockin’ the short hair with your 3 little Blairs is fantastic!

    1. That’s funny Chris…I was pretty random too- I think my favorite was secretary (high asperations for myself). I wore a little blazer, put my hair in a bun and attached a “desk” to myself with a telephone and typewriter on it- sort of cigarette girl style…yes, I said typewriter, this was the 80’s—pre-commodore 64.

      My best friend LOVES halloween and we went together every year. The year I was a secretary, she was a cheerleader. But we were usually coordinating- french fries/ketchup, twins one year although we don’t look alike…
      I also did crazy ensemble costumes in high school with a group of friends for a few years – Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz—we were about 8-15 girls and looked great all dressed up.

      I don’t think i’ll be escaping the inevitable 2 yo Tinkerbell and her little sister being something coordinating- maybe a flower, maybe a fairy too…

  19. I loooved seeing all the costumes- i am really looking forward to Hallowe’ens’ with my daughter.
    …ANNND! that short hair! you nearly look like a totally different person. I have like your long curly locks, but that short crop was great too, especially with the glasses.

  20. Coordinating outits are the best! Before kids my husband and I were vampires and our dogs were the bats. (I swear, the dogs only get dressed in clothing for Halloween!) We also did pirates with the dogs in pirate garb too. My son’s first Halloween he was a baby burrito and I was a pinata. This year we’re going with vintage circus: my son will be a strongman, and my infant twins will be a lion tamer and the bearded lady. I’ll likely be the lion, and hubby will probably be working.

    Other cute coordinated outfits I’ve seen done: elephant and peanut, cop and robber or cop and inmate, three little pigs.

  21. One year my daughter was Tinkerbell and my friend’s son was Peter Pan (with his little brother as a Lost Boy). Very cute.

    On the adult side, my husband and I paired up with Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson – but switched roles. (My husband really does NOT make an attractive Pamela Anderson.)

    Any ideas on how to execute a “Vampire Chipmunk” costume??? That’s what my 6 year old would like to be this year… Hmmmm???

  22. I love all the ideas of coordinating costumes – my head is swirling with all sorts of ideas! But…any great sources to purchase costumes? I found a great, well-made one online for my son’s first Halloween but then that website went out of business. (Really sad!) I would love to make my own but I currently have not mastered a sewing machine, so I would love a great resource to go back to year after year. :)

  23. For twins thing1 and thing2 would be wonderful. Also Woody and Jessie would be fun. We love matching costume ideas. You could also dress them as lions and make a wagon look like a cage since they aren’t walking yet, who ever is pulling the wagon can be dressed as a lion tamer.

    Good luck

  24. Do you mind if I use some of your photos of the wolf costume for an alchemy request on etsy? It’s really perfect and I can’t find anything like it!

  25. The October issue of Parents magazine has several paired costume ideas: Frankenstein & Mad Scientist, Milk & Cookies, Princess & Frog, the Artist & his/her Work, Tortoise & Hare, Fisherman & his/her Catch, Spring & Fall.

  26. One year my husband and I coordinated. He went as a chef, and I went as an oven, with a bun in it of course. And yes, I was pregnant.

    This year I just caved in and bought my girls (4 and 1.5) matching fairy costumes. The four-year-old requested it, and the 1.5 year-old wants whatever her big sister has, and I figure it’s one of the last years I can dress them the same.

  27. My son wants to be a mummy this year and I love this costume! Can you tell me how you made it? Khaki shirt and pants…then strips of cloth sewn on and glued? If you could give me a starting point, I’d appreciate it!!

  28. I coordinate the costumes for EVERYONE I know!!! One year we were Carnival folks and I made EVERYTHING! (bearded lady, ringmaster, fortune teller, snake charmer, and strong man) The next year I had a new baby so I scaled it back and just made fabulous mermaid costumes for myself, my sister, and my baby girl. (Baby mermaid had a mall hole below one row of scales so she could go in and out of the carseat buckle without undressing!) Last year we were 3 really fine looking witches. This year my sister will be Glinda (she has the red curly hair), my daughter is Dorothy, I am the wicked witch, and hubby and dog are being turned into flying monkeys. We have professional photos taken every year and I CHERISH the pictures and memories. Pics are on myblog ( if anyone wants to see them, just search through October for each year.

  29. I have young boys whom everyone thinks they are twins (If I remember correctly, they aren’t actual twins, but rather Irish twins!). Anyway, we are die hard Napoleon Dynamite fans, so we considered dressing them up as Ligers (buy a tiger and a lion costume, switch out half of each for the other half).

  30. I LOVED seeing these early pics of your family! Gives me hope that one day my fam will be as well put-together as yours is!
    We’re thinking of doing a circus theme this year, Nicholas will be the magician, mommy a fortune-teller and we’re trying to get daddy to be the clown, but he’s leaning more towards “strong-man”…let’s see…:) I wouldn’t mind any ideas..:)

  31. When I was a kid, my sister and I went as a pair of dice — an easy to make costume that attracts a lot of attention for originality. All it takes is a cardboard box painted white with black construction paper dots. It was fun and quirky.

  32. We have 3 1/2 year old boy girl twins. First year they were too little and we were too unorganized so no coordinating costumes, but the second Halloween they were Charlie Brown and Lucy, last year they were bumble bees, same costume, but my son insisted he was a fly.

    This year is the first year they are voicing an opinion on what they want to be. He wants to be a pirate, and she wants to be Mary Poppins from the Carousel scene. It would be fun to dress them with a theme while you can…

  33. I think my favorite years for costumes for my 3 kiddos were the two years they coordinated. Once they were Princess Leia + 2 rebel pilots, and last year they were Harry Potter, Ron (my red head!), and Hermione.
    Maybe it’s just that the pictures turn out that much more fun when they coordinate.

    No such luck this year – 3 very different ideas!

  34. Scanning through all the above I didn’t see this one mentioned. When I was young my best friend and I were Raggedy Ann and Andy. Being both girls, there was a bit of a fight about who would be which. Luckily we switched the next year.
    We have lots of handme down costumes and when I was 7 mos pregnant w/#4 and in no mood to figure out costumes I found that we had 3 dinosaurs that fit the kids, so they went as a herd.

  35. As a mom of twins, I can tell you that some years my girls have matched, some years they’ve coordinated and this year their costumes have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

    I’d have them coordinate this year while you still have complete control over what they wear. It will only be another Halloween or two before one will want to be a princess or a butterfly and the other will want to a Power Ranger or Thomas the Tank.

    My girls’ first Halloween they were matching bunnies. Those costumes are still some of my favorites.

  36. When my (twin) brothers were little, (3 years??) they were two packs of double mint gum. The costumes were front and back cardboard (held together with strings so that they hung from the shoulders), green construction paper, black writing, and some tin foil. My mom made them, so it was obviously super duper easy as she has no crafty skills at all. And “double-mint twins” was kind of funny.

  37. Thanks for all of the comments. I have some great ideas for now and for the future.
    I think I’ve decided they will be superheros – specifically superman and supergirl.
    But once they can walk next year… ooh, I’m coming back to this post to make a decision.
    Thanks so much everyone!

  38. I have a nine month old baby girl and my husband and I are having a hard time deciding what we want to dress up as. We were thinking Peter Pan, Wendy, and Tinkerbell but, I’m not sure. Any ideas??

    1. You and your husband could dress as gardeners (overalls or jeans, straw hats, gloves etc.,) and your daughter could be a flower or garden gnome. Or you guys dress as a bunnies and your baby could be the carrot. Feel free to steal my idea of making her a monkey and you be the Mama (frilly apron, hair in bun etc.,) and your husband can the doctor.

  39. Raggedy Ann and Andy come immediately to mind for these twins!! I love coordinating costumes. The more, the merrier! There will be plenty of years where the kids will want to pick their own, but as long as mom gets to pick, go for it!

  40. I can appreciate coordinated costumes, though it’s not always necessary. This year my itty bitty family is having a very tongue in cheek approach to costumes. My husband and I are going as ghosts, while our daughter will be a ghost buster :)

  41. I’ve been thinking about coordinating costumes since before I had kids! I always love to see them. This year my two and half year old and almost one year old are going to be the monkeys jumping on the bed and my husband and I are essentially going as ourselves: me as the Mama and he will be the doctor. I’m going to wear a frilly apron and he’s going to wear his lab coat. We might put some bandages on the kids heads.
    Another year I want to dress my daughter as Annie, my son as Sandy the dog, my husband as Daddy Warbucks and me as Grace Farrell.
    Peanuts costumes would be cute and easy too, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy and Linus.

  42. We are thinking of being the Scooby Gang this year with my husband as Shaggy, me as Daphne, 2 1/2 year old son as Freddie, and 1 year old girl as Velma. We just need to find a suitable Scooby Doo.

  43. Yes, coordinating costumes my kids costumes is my favorite part of Halloween (except for the fact that my oldest was born on this day). I don’t really like dressing up myself but it is so fun to dress them. The first year my son was born he was a banana and my daughter was a monkey. Last year my daughter was rainbow brite and my son was twink. This year they are going to be a rock band.

  44. Hi!

    my teenage son with friends went to see the blue men group. Anyone familiar with them…….When Halloween came, of course they decided to dress up as the blue men group. Easy, (dark clothes, bald hair cap, blue smink) and with great effect!

  45. I have a 6yr old daughter and not sure yet what she is going to b and i hve a 4 motnh boy which i bought a lion costume and now im thinking i want to try to coordinate but.not sure what to put w lion any thouvhys

  46. Like everyone else here, we are a household that ADORES Halloween. We love it so much, that my girls try to extend it as long as possible. To that end, I found a site that sells very comfortable fairy wings that they can attach to their dresses. So now it’s dress up all year round. Looking forward to finding other companies that produce similar clothes for boys, so that my sons can also dress up but be comfortable as well.

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