COLLEGE STATION–Halloween is creeping up which means it’s time to get the costumes out.

This year’s most popular costumes include characters from the Goosebumps series, Cinderella and Toy Story.

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame costumes are a hot seller this year,” said Nathan Kovach, merchandise team leader for Target Stores.

Kovach said that in addition to the popular movie and television characters, the more traditional ghost, skeleton and princess costumes are still big sellers.

Rebecca Zehetner, Texas Agricultural Extension Service clothing and textiles specialist, said that parents should consider helping their child make a costume.

“Costumes can be constructed with items they already have at home, or with inexpensive things purchased at craft or fabric stores,” she said.

Zehetner said that time is a consideration for many parents when it comes to purchasing or making a Halloween costume, but she pointed out that it could be a fun, family affair.

“I think making the child’s costume is one of the best things to do,” she said. “Get your child involved in it and have fun at home with the whole family, and it can be very inexpensive.”

However, there are some things parents should remember before sending their little Buzz Lightyears and Pocahontases out for tricks and treats.

Zehetner said that one of the first things to address when it comes to Halloween is costume safety.

“From a safety standpoint, parents need to look at the fabric that the costume is made of, and be sure it is flame retardant,” she advised.

Zehetner also pointed out that the costume should fit right to avoid tripping or snagging. If the weather is cold, she suggested, get the costume to fit large enough so that the child can wear warm clothing underneath.

Accessories, such as knives or swords, should not be sharp or cumbersome.

“Knives, swords, and those types of things, need to be flexible so they will not harm the child that is wearing it, or other children as they walk around,” said Zehetner.

Something many parents overlook, said Zehetner, is that the children will probably be walking a lot, and should wear comfortable shoes, such as tennis shoes.

“A lot of little girls like to dress up in mom’s shoes, high heels and things like that,” Zehetner commented. “That’s not a good idea, they need to wear comfortable shoes that fit, so that they can walk safely.”

Zehetner also had some suggestions regarding the use of masks versus face paints.

“Masks are okay as long as the holes around the mouth nose and eyes are large enough that it doesn’t hinder breathing or vision,” she said.

She advised that children should wear the masks on top of their heads while walking around and pull it down only as they approach the house where they are going to trick-or-treat.

Face paints might be a better alternative to masks, but there are some safety concerns that have to be addressed with cosmetics as well.

“Parents need to make sure that the paint is labeled non-toxic, and that it meets federal standards for cosmetics,” Zehetner said.

She suggested that parents test the product on the inside of the child’s arm to assure no allergic reactions occur. She went on to say that parents should supervise the children during the application process so they don’t get it too close to their mouth, nose or eyes.

While trick-or-treating, the young princesses and firefighters need to be visible, especially to people in cars.

Zehetner suggested that children wear light colored costumes if possible. However, many Halloween costumes have dark colors, therefore she recommended using reflective tape.

“Reflective tape is available at most craft and fabric stores,” she said. “Parents should be sure that there is some type of reflective tape on the child’s garments, accessories and bags as well.”


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