Top 10 Classic Kids’ Costumes

Do you remember what it was like to be afraid of the dark? As a kid I went to sleep every night with my entire body under the blankets, despite the stuffiness. I ran through random images I’d seen on the television, like the wolf’s head looking upside down through a window next to a dangling noose. I worried about episodes of Nickelodeon’s “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” (which I LOVED) but most of all I was terrified of “The Black Widow.”

I don’t know who the black widow was or where I heard about her. She was always just a name and an image of a pale, dark haired woman living in a marsh. I also have a distinct memory of literally watching shark fins circle around my bed at my grandmother’s house. There were dark knots in the wooden paneling that I imagined to be hundreds of evil, leering faces. (A lot like the story, The Yellow Wallpaper). I was additionally kept awake thinking about aliens, vampires, ghosts, and fire monsters.

Witch in Pink

It’s not just a cliché joke that kids are afraid of the monster under the bed. Children’s imaginations are incredibly powerful and their fears can seem very real. And then comes Halloween.

Classically scary Halloween costumes—witches, ghosts, skeletons, mummies and vampires—all give kids a chance to turn the tables on their fears. It’s empowering to be a version of the thing that goes bump in the night. Whether the costume takes a fun or a scary approach, becoming the scary thing is a way for kids to dull their fears through play.

Knight Costume

I’ll be doing a post about the top 10 unusual Halloween costumes next week, but the old standbys are an important part of the American Halloween tradition and central to the holiday.

Aside from the classically scary costumes, Halloween is about transformation and fantasy. Kids love dressing up as beautiful or magical beings like wizards, knights, princesses and fairies—all of which are connected to European folklore. And then there are the costumes from the magical American past like Cowboy and Indian costumes.


If you were counting, that makes 11 top classic Halloween costumes. Oops. But here’s one more that I can’t figure out—the popularity of “nerd” costumes. You know…taped glasses, pocket protector, high-waisted skirt or pants with the shirt tucked. I think that one is just fun because it gives you an excuse to pick your nose in public!

The images used in this post are credited to The Hobby Mommy, Nancy at Dabbled who has a knight costume tutorial and This Next dot com where the witch costume is for sale.

One Response to Top 10 Classic Kids’ Costumes

  1. halloween costumes October 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    I too have a lot of memories from childhood and can relate to the stuffing myself under the covers sometimes, specially if I had watch something a little spooky on TV. The Classic Costumes you mentioned are some of my favorites, I’ve always been fascinated with the world of Fantasy and medieval times and love the wizards, Knights, and princesses. One thing that I love about them, the popularity of them never seems to go a way.

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