These boys of mine create the most interesting costumes from the simplest items stuffed into a vintage, rustic trunk: superhero capes, their grandpa’s old cowboy boots, homemade swords, and of course…Daddy’s old pilot hat. They’ll put on a black cap and boots and practically dent the hard floor tromping around in those too-big boots with a cape on top and a sash around their middle.

It’s one of their favorite free time activities, and comes with the benefits of unstructured play time for children.


Captain's hat, pilot


Playing Dress-Up For Fun (or for Halloween)

I remember shuffling though petticoat slips and old dresses at my best friend’s house. We pranced about in fancy hats our mothers kept and teetered on stilettos they didn’t wear anymore.

That kind of pretend play and dress-up didn’t get old until I got much older. Even now, it’s fun to dress-up sometimes.

We’ve kept the costume box in our house for years: my boys played dress up as toddlers, dress-up as preschoolers and even now that they’re in elementary (AND MIDDLE) school. 

Bonus! Collecting these items means putting together simple Halloween costumes in October. Or hey, when there’s a Harry Potter-themed birthday party in the neighborhood.

For fancier Halloween costume ideas: Themed Halloween Costumes

Saturday Selections by Captain Mom, Rhonda Franz


What To Put in a Costume Box for Boys (and their Mom)


What to put in a costume box for boys, simple Halloween costumes












Those neckties and and hats, Daddy’s captain hat, even my old high school letter jacket: it’s all fair game for costumes. And those boys can pretend play for a couple of hours, which is music for the whole peace of the house. 

Costume Apparel and Accessories

hand-me-downs (from adults):
      – workshirts and suitcoats
      – professional uniforms

athletic jerseys and helmets
camoflauge clothes
all kinds of boots (cowboy, rain, combat) from thrift stores 
lanyards for badges 
old eyeglasses (maybe with lenses popped out)
shoelaces (for attaching and tying)
pieces of rope to use as lassos or belts
walking sticks or canes
old bags and satchels