Halloween was once a day spent warding off the spirits of the dead. But — whew — it has evolved into a festival of trick-or-treating, parties and magical make-believe. The answer to the question “What are you going to be for Halloween?” was everything when we were kids. And in 2021? It’s just as important. Maybe even more.
To celebrate, we combed through the massive array of Halloween costumes for kids to find choices that’ll bring extra joy to the big day. Happy hunting. And haunting. Now let’s go get all the candy.
Costumes for girls
Deluxe ‘Harry Potter’ Hermione Costume (starting at $59.99; halloweencostumes.com)
She can step into the world of Hogwarts and assume the identity of sensible and well-read wizard Hermione Granger. Included is the hooded robe, sweater, skirt and shirtfront, great garb for battling evil. Along with “Don’t forget to say thank you” you may want to remind “No killing curses!”
Cefirature Kids’ Cruella Costume Set ($49.99; amazon.com)
Dalmatians will scatter — and possibly the neighborhood black-and-white cats — when your girl trots out in this striking getup. But everyone else will be entranced. The set includes a dress, wig and mask.
Wicked Boutique Halloween Tiger Costume ($39.99; etsy.com)
“Tiger, tiger, burning bright, in the forest of the night,” said a poet. But on the night of Oct. 31, this tiger is on the prowl door-to-door. With five pieces (pullover, skirt, leg warmers, headband and tail), this handmade outfit will ensure your little one a roaring good time.
Tutu Dreams Rainbow Candy Dress (starting at $24.35; amazon.com)
When scoring candy is the objective, you have to have an edge if you dress like candy. With ornamental lollipops, she’ll be the sweetest girl in the neighborhood. The rainbow tulle skirt brings the wow factor.
Classic Tinker Bell Costume ($34.99; spirithalloween.com)
Declare that you believe in fairies, and clap your hands! This Tinker Bell costume will bring special magic to your little princess’s Halloween. The sleeveless dress comes with detachable wings.
Monika Fashion World Witch Costume (starting at $22.99; amazon.com)
A witch costume is a classic but can be blah, like a judge with a conical hat. But your sassy sorceress will literally light up the room in this amazing costume. The four-layer skirt twinkles green with fiber-optic lights.
Zookeeper Costume ($39.99; spirithalloween.com)
Many children acquire a lifelong love of animals the first time they visit a zoo. So a zookeeper is the perfect pretend persona for critter-loving kids. This costume includes all the essentials, including a short-sleeve shirt, pants, a hat, a belt, keys and patches.
Costumes for boys
Captain Hook Costume ($31.49, originally $44.99; shopdisney.com)
Budding buccaneers all want to be the ultimate pirate, Captain James Hook. As long as he’s cool with Peter Pan winning in the end — arrrrgh — his Halloween will be made rocking this costume. Pants and “boot” covers to attach to shoes come with the velveteen jacket with brocade trim.
Scary Scarecrow Pumpkin Bobblehead Costume (starting at $36.99; amazon.com)
Who says pumpkins always have to be sweet and smiley? This jack-o’-lantern is snarly, and that’s the whole point. His trick-or-treating group won’t be pestered by any crows, that’s for sure. The hood, mask, robe with rope and gloves are included.
Fun World Pizza Slice (starting at $19.38; amazon.com)
The photorealistic pepperoni-cheesy goodness will have mouths watering as your cutie struts down the street. The one-piece style keeps things comfy, perfect for younger kids who don’t like fussy get-ups. Now when Grandma squeals, “I could just eat you up!” at least it’ll make sense.
Funnlot Vampire Costume (starting at $28.99; amazon.com)
Sure, Count Dracula is creepy…but he’s classy! Your slick dude will look like a million Transylvanian bucks. The basic costume comes with a vampire vest and cape. Fangs sold separately.
Spiny Stegosaurus Costume (starting at $49.99; halloweencostumes.com)
Once dinosaurs roamed the earth. And on All Hallow’s Eve…they’re back! Your mini monster can go all thunder lizard on the neighborhood. The hooded jumpsuit has a zipper for easy on and off.
Amscan Dragon Halloween Costume (starting at $33.78; amazon.com)
Dragons loom large in lore and legend. And now the legend comes to life as your terrifying trick-or-treater stalks the street costumed as a fire-breathing lizard. The vivid blue-and-black jumpsuit features lifelike reptile scales — mask, wings and tail included.
Disguise ‘Harry Potter’ Premium Costume (starting at $54.36; amazon.com)
Your lad can battle against He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named or hone his skills at Quidditch. Undoubtedly, fun-size Snickers will magically appear. The robe with a satin-lined hood and Grffyindor shield comes with the jumpsuit underneath.
Visgogo Halloween Pumpkin Romper (starting at $8.99; amazon.com)
Dress your own “pumpkin” in this adorable, affordable disguise. It includes the matching hat and shoes. Whether in a neighborhood parade, being strolled around the block or just shown off on Instagram, your wee gourd will steal the show.
Baby L’il Red Riding Hood Costume ($29.99; spirithalloween.com)
A favorite fairy tale comes to life with your cutie at the heart of it. And you won’t need to take her to Grandma’s house. Once the grands hear their new granddaughter is getting dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood, they’ll be at your door before you can say “basket.” The cape is included with the dress.
Amscan Baby Wolf Halloween Costume ($26.99; target.com)
The tale of Little Red Riding Hood also involves, of course, a big bad wolf. If this disguise is any indication, “big bad” must be code for “so cute I can’t stand it.” Is there a sister or cousin to go as Red? Prepare to break the internet. You get the jumpsuit, hood and booties.
Fuzzy Duckling Design Ladybug ($60; etsy.com)
Your tot will be — can we say it? — cute as a bug. This stunning costume features a crocheted top, a skirt with three layers of tulle (matte, shimmer and glitter, no less), satin ribbons, chenille and pom-pom antennae and wings. It all makes for one elegant little insect.
Mommy Shark Costume With Sound Chip (starting at $21.97; walmart.com)
You have the song stuck eternally in your head; you may as well embrace the cuteness. This officially licensed outfit actually includes a sound chip. Your toddler will be, well, toddling to the music with glee. Along with the romper, you get the hooded headpiece with the trademark toothy mouth/face opening. (Yes, the sound chip has an off switch.)
Baby Pumpkin Patch Scarecrow ($34.99; spirithalloween.com)
This outfit may not be very effective as an actual scarecrow; something this adorable is going to attract everyone straight to her. The costume includes the dress, leggings and a hat with an attached yarn wig and sunflower.
Amscan Baby’s First Fireman Halloween Costume ($22.49; target.com)
One good thing about Halloween last year was the costume shout-outs to our frontline workers. Let’s keep the respect going by saluting a hard-working first responder with this fun costume. This firefighter jumpsuit has attached suspenders, a shoulder patch and reflective tape and comes with the felt fireman’s hat.
Michley Baby Cow Costume (starting at $16.99; amazon.com)
Don your little one in farm-inspired cuteness this Halloween. The snuggly material will keep your little moooover and shaker warm. Not feeling a bovine Halloween? You can get an equally sweet piggie, zebra or mouse.
‘Star Wars: The Mandalorian’ The Child Costume ($24.99; spirithalloween.com)
Your mini can be transported to a galaxy far away, at least in his stroller. Whether you like to call this character The Child or Baby Yoda, you get the ultimate in intergalactic cuteness. The bodysuit comes with the cap.
Pullover Skunk Halloween Costume ($25; target.com)
Do you call your tot a “little stinker”? Then look no further. Skunks may be odiferous, but hey, they also happen to be super cute. We like that it’s plush and cozy just in case Halloween is chilly this year.