October 2018

You Want to be What?:

Halloween 2018 for Kids and Tweens

By John Koenig

It’s October, and Halloween decorations and costumes have already been in the stores for at least a month! Hopefully, preparing your young one for the Big Night will be an autumn breeze this year, but if you’re anticipating trouble in the form of indecision, expense, or culture clash, now is the time to prepare and resolve Halloween nightmares before they begin.

Halloween can be one of the most fun times of the year for parents and young ones to share, but potential problems are numerous.

Is the costume your kid has their heart set on a little too scary, sexy, or commercial to set well with you? If you’re shopping at one of the Halloween-themed costume shops in Santa Cruz County, rest assured that the store associates are prepared to help find outfits that will make everyone happy.

Beth Paiva, who manages the Wormwood Party Store in Capitola, has been shopping for this year’s Halloween treasures since January and began the store’s Halloween transformation in July as shipments begin rolling in. The store prepares knowingly for kids of all ages. The scariest decorations and masks are even given their own aisles so that easily frightened little ones can enter the store without being upset. Costume themes appropriate for an entire family are available, including The Incredibles.

Paiva has learned that it’s the 7th and 8th grade girls who feel like they’ve out-grown kid outfits and often look for costumes that might reveal too much. She keeps an inventory of extra-small adult costumes for juniors who want to look “a little more grown up,” but she’s always ready to make helpful suggestions that will make parents and kids happy.

Dru Acosta-Jewel, a store manager at Spirit Halloween, also notes how some older kids’ costume choices are deemed “a little inappropriate” by parents who often ask for a “toned down” version. He suggests maybe dressing as “Eleven,” a character from the Stranger Things series, who wears a white mini-dress— short, but perhaps not too short. More modest choices are Spirit’s Victorian Vampire collection or a witch from Disney’s Hocus Pocus.

This year, costumes based on video games are especially popular, and fads 

come so quickly, it’s hard for stores to keep up. At Wormwood, the late fa- vorite is Overwatch, an anime-style ac- tion game, while old favorites Minecraft and Lego are still popular. Minecraft players can dress as “Creepers” or wear “Diamond Armor” and carry toy pick- axes, the game’s mining tool.

Pickaxes figure more prominently, and much more violently, in the run- away hit game Fortnight, the online game in which players roam a virtual landscape finding weapons with which to “kill” their competitors. Imagine Minecraft crossed with The Hunger Games. A pickaxe is the default weapon that every player is given, and they come in several types.

The Spirit Halloween store in the Capitola Mall carries an entire arsenal of toy weapons from Fortnight, including musical “Boogie Bomb” hand grenades, and the ubiquitous pickaxes, as well as the various clothing choices from the game (known as “skins”). Since this is the first year of the Fortnight phenomenon, it’s an open question as to whether neighborhoods will be transformed into islands of roaming survivalists or not.

If you hear your kids talking about creepypasta, no, it’s not a dish to be served at a Halloween theme party. Creepypasta is a term to describe scary urban legends, and parents may be shocked at how knowledgeable their kids are about the lore. The notorious Slender Man and Jeff the Killer among them the better-known characters, and yes, there are creepypasta costumes at the Spirit store as well.

Andrew the manager at Cabrillo Mall’s Hot Topic store adds one more popular addition to the gallery of frightful faces—Pennywise, the scary clown from Stephen King’s “It.” For girls who choose to be playfully villainous for the night, Batman’s Harley Quinn is a popular character at Hot Topic, and for little kids, Andrew suggests anime characters from the Dragonball Z or Pokemon universes.

After all, who can resist a little Pikachu?

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