Parenting Dilemma: Should I Let My Daughter Opt Out of The Family Costume?

Dilemma: We LOVE Halloween. We always do a family costume theme and get lots of compliments. But this year my middle daughter (she is 7) is refusing to be part of it. Should I force her to wear what I make to fit the theme or let her march to her own drum and be left out?

Every Friday at 8:10 p.m., readers meet on the Chicago Parent Facebook page to help solve parenting dilemmas. 

“When it comes to having fun, the word “force” should never be used. Forcing someone to do something takes away every last bit of fun. A family costume is not a hill to die on.” — Lisa B.

“This is how we handle this situation: Take the family pic the weekend before Halloween so you have a record of it. Then let her dress up however she wants for Halloween. It’s a good compromise.” — Renee L.

“Am I the only person who thinks a mom should be able to make a 7-year-old put a costume on for a photo? Why is this even an issue?” — Katharine K.

“Let her march to her own drum, let her wear what she wants AND don’t make her feel bad about it. Don’t break her spirit just because it’s not the family costume you picked out.” — Brandi C.

“If you want a family costume so badly, how about YOU wear something that fits HER theme?” — Tanya C.

“Life is not about the perfect picture image. The time for the family costumes may be over, but it’s still an awesome picture.” — Kate K.

“Is she opting out of Halloween completely? If it’s for a photo only, then a compromise where she wears the themed costume for the photo and picks her own for Halloween or whatever she wants, within reason of course.” — Deanna G.

“Let her beat away! Maybe next year she can be in charge of the family’s costumes!” — Monique Z.

“Buy her one she likes and can wear to school, but still make her do the themed one with the family.” — Judy R.

“Don’t force her to wear a costume. Halloween is supposed to be fun, if you force a costume on her she won’t want to participate at all and everyone will be miserable.” — April L.

“Is she refusing to be part of it entirely? Maybe she became a Jehovah’s Witness. Respect her religious convictions unless she starts getting all judgmental and hiding your booze and smokes and accusing you of being devil worshippers because the rest of the family wants to dress up like characters from Bubble Guppies. Or maybe the whole family can dress up like famous Jehovah’s Witnesses: Michael Jackson, Serena Williams, Damon Wayans and Dwight D. Eisenhower.” — Jon B.


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This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.

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