Your daughter’s imagination might just be the most valuable thing she has. Not only does it bring so much joy to your family—and prompt a good laugh here and there, too!—it helps her come up with innovative solutions to problems. It helps her think big, aim higher, and achieve beyond her wildest dreams. It helps her see the possibility in every situation. And it just so happens that you, as her parent, have an amazing opportunity to help her develop her imagination and creativity: Halloween.
That’s right. This annual celebration of ghosts, ghouls, and goblins is ideal for tapping into and encouraging your daughter’s natural creativity. “Not many parents realize this, but Halloween is more than just fun. It’s a valuable time of year for your girl’s development,” says Girl Scouts’ Developmental Psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald. “It’s a time when she can actually ‘be’ whatever she wants and try out new roles, however briefly—whether that’s a favorite animal, a professional like a firefighter or an astronaut, a historic figure, a character she loves, or even a totally make-believe creature she thought up herself.”
Follow these tips to help your girl get the most out of this spookiest of seasons and have a blast this Halloween!
Give Her Time to Dream
Rather than picking a costume for your girl based on which one you think will look cutest, let her take the lead! Yes, taking her to the store and letting her choose from among the costumes available at least gives her a choice in the matter, but it still limits her choices to what some big marketing companies think your girl should want. Instead, sit down with your girl and ask her, of all the things she can think of, what would she most like to be? Her answer might not be what you’d expect! Maybe she’ll want to be a pirate dinosaur or a doctor who’s also a fairy. The wonderful thing here is that there are no limits to her creativity. And? Whatever she comes up with will likely be a lot more interesting than what’s for sale at the mall.
Help Her Get Crafty
You do not have to be a sewing pro or Pinterest celebrity to pull this off! Encourage your girl to draw the costume she imagines, and then work with her to figure out ways to make her drawing come to life in a real costume that she can wear. Of course you can always purchase elements of her design if that’s more convenient (like a pirate eye-patch, a cat-ear headband, or a firefighter’s hat), but you should also encourage her to think of how she could use everyday items you have around your house—including paper towel tubes, old clothing, cardboard boxes, and other craft supplies—to create them herself. Not only will she feel a special sense of pride and accomplishment from making her own costume, she’ll also have fun, and (believe it or not!) get a taste of the world of STEM as she figures out what works and what doesn’t in building her costume.
Customize, Customize, Customize
If you’ve already purchased your girl’s costume, received one as a gift or hand-me-down, or feel like all you have time for at this point is to go pick one up at the closest big-box store, there’s still plenty room for your girl’s creativity and imagination to shine. Ask your girl if she’d like to add or change anything about her costume. Perhaps she’d like to wear a firefighter helmet with her princess dress or wear her soccer jersey over her monkey suit. (Who says princesses don’t fight fires and monkeys don’t play soccer? Not us!). The point is, to encourage your girl to make her costume as fun, imaginative, and unique as she is.