Halloween Costume for 3 Year Old

Updated on October 14, 2010
S.T. asks from Scarborough, ME
17 answers

My oldest son is almost three and I'm having a hard time figuring out what to get him for a halloween costume this year. He was a fireman the first year (so his little brother who is 8 months is going to be a fireman:) and a doctor the second year. It's just now I'm not sure if I should buy something or make something because he's starting to get to the age where he likes to make some of his own decisions so I'm afraid he's not going to want to dress up in what I buy or make. I'm afraid if I ask him what he wants to be then he either picks something then changes his mind week to week, or he doesn't know. Plus I don't like spending $50 on a costume that he's only going to wear two times (halloween party and then trick or treating). I thought of making him the costume for Woody from Toy Story since that's simple and he likes the movie but then what if he would rather be Buzz? I don't think I have the time and frankly skills to make that and again don't want to fork over the $50 or so. Any suggestions or advice?

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answers from Topeka on

My son was a Fisherman @ age 3 he had a t-shirt, fishing vest, blue jeans,small fishing rod with a stuffed fish & his Trick or Treat bucket was a minnow bait bucket

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Family Fun has some really cute ideas for costumes, many no sew and inexpensive to make. He may change his mind but you can reinforce his "decision" by getting excited about it too. If he thinks of something else you can tell him that is a great idea for next year and redirect by talking with enthusiasm about this years choice.

The link to Family Fun is

Hope this helps!

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answers from Tulsa on

you can get costumes at target for about 10. and pick something he asks for more than once. or go to a thrift store they have probably only been used once.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Everyone's advice has been great, I think. You can always ask him what he wants to be and see what he says...maybe he'll want to be something easy to make at home! And/or, like others have said, check out second-hand and discount stores. You can certainly steer a three-year-old in a certain costume direction, or just pick one for him, too, if it makes things easier for you.

To share my personal experience this year, I asked mine what he wanted, and he said, "I want to be a blue baby elephant with armor and a sword!" And he hasn't changed his mind in weeks. So, you never know. :)

(Yes, I'll be making a blue battle elephant costume this year; wish me luck!)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

at three i was still hoping i could "encourage" my son to dress up as what i wanted - it was right on the border. he didn't quite "get it" - luckily i picked a costume that was basically just clothes - camo pants, work boots, a sleeveless white t-shirt, i put fake tatoos on his arms and a bandanna on his head, let him carry his toy guitar around - voila, rock star! he had moments he wasn't impressed with the bandanna, but did okay. i suggest compromising, something that you want, but something he won't mind wearing. unless he feels really strongly about dressing up as something. this year, at 4, my son is determined to be an astronaut and won't let it go. i am at a loss how to make this one...i have some ideas but i'm afraid it's going to look so dorky - but i can NOT spend $50 on a costume he will wear one day. so good luck! next year might be harder! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Old Navy has cute toddler costumes for about $25. They are the kind that you can put heavier clothes under because it is always so cold trick or treating night. Last year my son had the bat and the top he wore as a jacket for most of the month and it had the hood with the face.



answers from Boston on

our youngest is 3 and he is wearing his older brother's spider costume that I bought years ago at old navy no ifs, ands, or buts. Our oldest is going to be a storm trooper this year and I purchased his costume at kmart for under $20. Sometimes kmarts website has better prices then store and you can purchase it online and pick it up at the store the next day no shipping $.

Our 3 yr old changes his mind 20x a day so I just take out the spider costume and show him and he says "oh yeah I forgot"



answers from Bangor on

I guess my two word answer would be: Thrift Stores!

They always have a good and usually interesting costume selection. Much of the time under $6. You can let your boy look at ones that you think are interesting (pre-select see :) and then he gets a choice and so do you... Then he is happy with what he chose and if he changes his mind you can just say "great idea! Let's remember that for next year..."

I loved the fisherman outfit idea too. :)



answers from Kansas City on

we bought a Jessie from Toy Story costume for less than 20 at Walmart. It came with the outfit and the hat, and they had the others at those prices too.



answers from Detroit on

My 3 and 4 year olds kept changing their mind everytime I asked them what they wanted to be, so I too was afraid they wouldn't end up wanting to wear what I got them. So, I took them to the store and let them pick theirs out. They only ran about $25. They weren't any great quality but like you said, they only wear them a couple times. And, they were so thrilled to wear them!



answers from New York on

I actually do buy my daughters costumes from the Disney Store. I do have a child that only wears costumes all day long at home and I get my money's worth however, I've learned how to work the system as well. I do buy her costume full price 3-4 weeks before halloween to ensure I get her size and character choice. DO NOT take the tags off and a week before Halloween when all their costumes are 40% off I return it and buy it back. So that pricey costume that is great quality I now got for the same as a bargin store. Who's not in a mall more then twice a month!



answers from Dallas on

Check out some of the resale shops.


answers from Austin on

Show him some of the ads in the newspaper or on line. Maybe that will give him a chance to ponder it.. Also at 3 he should be able to understand you "will only buy 1 costume and the store will not take it back once it goes in the bag".. He will wear it to all Halloween parties and for Trick or Treating..

When he does make his choice, give him lots of praise for what he chose. Let him know he is going to have a god time in it and you are going to take pictures of him for everyone to see.

Take him when he is rested and fed and at a time the store will not be busy, so he can really look at the items.. Maybe take him when your husband can go and watch your baby or he can keep baby at home.. This will give you a calmer shopping experience.



answers from Boston on

At 3, your child will be excited to dress up as a favorite movie character. If you find a Woody costume cheap and you are excited about it, he will be excited. If you dress he and his baby brother both up as fireman that would be adorable .. you could pull them around in a red wagon with cardboard ladders rigged to the side.
I am noticing more and more that parents are making this holiday such a huge event and spending over the top prices for a child's costume they wear once or twice.
Through the years, I made my children's costumes with ideas from the magazine listed as well. I have made lady bug cosutmes...dressing them in all black and making the shell/wings out of felt, spider costumes making the basic body out of a black hooded sweatshirt and adding spider arms and then super gluing big googly eyes to the top of the hood...there are so many neat things you could actually make and spend very little on...and your kids love it!... The main thing they are excited about is the candy! I hope you figure this out and just have fun with it :)


answers from Boston on

I wouldn't pay $50 for a costume for a 12 year old, let alone a 3 year old. At this age, if you don't want to make the decision for him, give him a choice of 2 things. What he chooses, he sticks with. I would do it fairly close to Halloween. Look in magazines and on line - there are LOTS of things you can do with a pair of sweats that he can wear later. Sweats are great because, no matter how cold it is on Halloween, they can wear layers underneath and still have their costume show. There are lots of things you can do with felt pieces (available cheaply at sewing or craft stores) - orange sweats become a tiger with the addition of a tail and some black felt stripes. Black sweats become a zebra with the addition of white. Green sweats become a frog, or even a dinosaur with the addition of a tail and some felt spots - who knows what dinosaurs looked like anyway?!?!? Dark blue sweats with a badge and a name tag plus a store-bought hat become a police officer. Any old clothes with a kerchief and an eye patch make a pirate (and the Pirates of the Caribbean are big now - so you can still do a movie theme if you want). Make it simple and economical.

You have no obligation to support the movie or TV industry by buying their products, and you can strike out individually by making your son something different from what the other kids are wearing. There were several great suggestions on this site a week or so ago - laundry basket, "static cling" and a bathtub. Cute ideas. My son went as a robot - we turned a box over on him, cutting a hole for the head and adding buttons and levers with spare hardware & a glue gun. I saw one kid go as a public mailbox - the box opened and the candy got dropped inside to a hidden catch-all bag. So cute!



answers from Boston on

I would give him the choice of 2-3 costumes that you can live with. And, old costumes can be used for dress-up so you do get your money/effort's worth. You can also check thrift stores for used costumes and some places (like our library) have a costume swap available.
Have fun,



answers from Boston on

I was just in Homegoods and surprised to see that they have costumes as well. I didn't see the prices but have bought puzzles and games there before and they are usually about 75% of standard retail.

When my son was three a few years ago, we made a "bob the builder" costume. We bought the bob the builder tool set (with belt and hat), then found a cheap set of overalls and plaid shirt. We even found some cheap high top sneakers that looked like the beige workboots - but it would have looked cute without. The tools are still used today as toys, so it doesn't feel like such a waste...and at daycare they were thrilled b/c putting on his "costume" for a party they had was just velcro-ing on the tool belt and putting on the hat.

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