Too Old for Halloween? Not if You Plan the Right Way

Robin Halloween costumeI’m as eager to dress up for Halloween as my kids. Maybe more.

I had unofficially retired from the activity in my 30s, but when your future wife spends hours sewing together a Rainbow Brite costume, you better escort her in a similarly colorful costume. Or else.

Now, we get a sitter each year to attend our local Halloween Hootenany at the Bluebird Theater in Denver. It’s the kind of event that I’ve technically outgrown. Beer. Music. Dancing. Bar hopping potential. Besides, I can’t afford to get hungover anymore. Those two little boys need Daddy each morning, not a husk of a man holding his temples as if they were ready to burst.

We decided to relive our youth all the same once more this past weekend. The key to dads not making a fool of themselves on Halloween is planning, creativity and modest expectations.

This year, my wife embodied the girl power anthem “It’s Raining Men” while I took an old-school option – Robin circa 1967.  We went the homemade route, which means tapping a combination of thrift stores, eBay and Michaels. In a crowded Halloween party, a costume’s rough edges won’t be noticed, and you’ll score points among your fellow revelers for bypassing those store-bought costumes.

Here are some other tips should fellow fathers venture out in costume come Oct. 31:

  • No time for stitches: Fathers should never pick a costume that will require too much work. I mentally mapped out what I would need to become Burt Ward 2.0. by printing out “Batman” publicity stills. It also helps to know your budget ahead of time. Homemade costumes can get pricey without a blast of ingenuity.
  • Know your costume won’t be perfect: The colors you find won’t match the source material and pieces of your costume may flake off during the night. Relax. It’s just a lark.
  • Go cheap or go home: People won’t know if your costume’s details are made from fine Corinthian letter or construction paper, so give the latter a chance whenever possible. Felt, pipe cleaners and foam are all your friends.
  • The glue that binds: Have several types of glue on hand. I bought super glue to piece together my Robin costume, but it turned out fabric glue worked far better.
  • Keep the kids out: Don’t make the mistake of putting your costume together around the kids. They’ll be endlessly curious about what you’re doing, and chances are they’ll only get in the way and pluck your last nerve.
  • Don’t wait up for us: It’s tempting to tell your babysitter exactly what time you’ll be home. What if you’re having the time of your life and don’t want to go home at the allotted hour? See if your sitter would be all right with a flexible time frame. Halloween only comes around once a year – why pen yourselves in?
  • You’re not 22 anymore: Fathers may be tempted to relive their glory days on Halloween. Don’t. Drink plenty of water, pace yourself in a way you ignored during college and don’t start drinking on an empty stomach. It’s all right to act like you’re a kid again, but think like a mature adult every step of the way.

I got some, but not all, of the aforementioned tips right over the weekend and had a blast. Sure, I was older than 93.1 percent of the people at the Bluebird over the weekend, but I wore that distinction with pride. Being a kid at heart is its own reward.

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