20 Awesome Kids' Halloween Costumes That Aren't Offensive in the Slightest

Jess Richardson | Oct 16, 2019 Food & Party
20 Awesome Kids' Halloween Costumes That Aren't Offensive in the Slightest
Image: Twenty20

20 Awesome Kids' Halloween Costumes That Are Culturally Sensitive
Twenty20

Those of us who were kids in the '80s and '90s -- and even the early '00s -- almost certainly ended up wearing some Halloween costumes that would be, by today's standards, somewhat offensive. Looking back at a second-grade class picture, my best friend was dressed as a "hobo," I was in costume as an "Indian princess," and one of my other classmates was dressed as a "geisha." It's not an image we're proud of. At the time, there wasn't a cultural conversation about these kinds of images being hurtful or harmful. We can rest assured knowing that we were 8 years old and therefore not responsible for this, and also that our parents really didn't know that there was anything messed-up in dressing us this way. But in this day and age, we do know better, so it's our responsibility to not make the same mistakes our folks did with our own kids. Plenty of marginalized communities have spoken up about the fact that it's hurtful to use their culture as a costume -- and it's on us to listen to them. 

We've heard a lot of moms in our social circle saying, "We don't even know what's OK anymore." And we get it! Sometimes changing social norms can be confusing, and it's OK to ask questions about what's cool and what's not. Generally, dressing up as a generic member of a group who has experienced genocide, slavery, or systemic oppression is generally not OK. If you need a quick cheat sheet of what's definitely not appropriate -- and bound to be immediately flamed online -- check out some controversial celebrity Halloween costumes. Luckily for you, in this story, we'll go through some totally safe, happy costume options. And for anyone who's interested in just learning more about the history of this holiday -- and where traditions like dressing up in costume even come from -- take a peek at our list of Halloween myths & facts. We were so surprised to learn all of these! 

Psst: If purchasing an item on this list, CafeMom may receive a small cut. Each item and price is up to date at the time of publication; however, an item may be sold out or the price may be different at a later date.

  • Cinderella

    1
    Cinderella
    Amazon

    No matter what a child's ethnic background -- or gender, for that matter -- the kiddo can be a Disney princess. A Cinderella costume is classic and adorable, and is appropriate for kids of all ages. 

    Romy's Collection Princess Cinderella Special Edition (44, Amazon)

  • Dora The Explorer

    2
    Dora The Explorer
    Amazon

    It's cool for any kid to love this adventurous character and want to dress as her for Halloween. Wearing her signature shirt, shorts, and backpack is totally cool -- just don't change the kid's skin tone, and this is a great costume. Going as a random Hispanic person? Not cool. Going as beloved Latinx character Dora? Totally awesome.

    Nick Jr. Dora the Explorer Child's Dora Costume With Backpack ($25, Amazon)

  • A Slice of Pizza

    3
    A Slice Of Pizza
    Target

    Kids shouldn't just feel free to dress up like their favorite characters -- why not dress up like their favorite foods, too? It's fun to dress like something everybody loves. This costume will definitely score any kid some popularity points with friends.

    Pizza Halloween Costume ($25, Target)

  • The Poop Emoji

    4
    The Poop Emoji
    Amazon

    Just because our costumes should be culturally sensitive doesn't mean they need to be in good taste. For anyone who has a kid in that potty-humor phase, this costume is a perfect fit for getting the kiddo and similarly minded friends to fall into a fit of giggles. 

    Emoji Halloween Party Costumes for Kids - Boys & Girls ($29, Amazon)

  • Kylo Ren

    5
    Kylo Ren
    Target

    Star Wars costumes have been cool for kids since the 1970s -- and they're back with a vengeance. Whether a kid wants to go as Kylo Ren, Princess Leia, or Chewbacca, a Star Wars costume is a good call. We're a fan of this one in particular.

    Kids' Star Wars Kylo Ren Halloween Costume ($30, Target)

  • Princess Tiana 

    6
    Princess Tiana
    Amazon

    We love the culture and food of the Louisiana bayou, and The Princess and the Frog, the wonderful Disney reinterpretation of the classic fairy tale, The Frog Princess. Princess Tiana is an awesome, hardworking role model -- who earns her place as a princess. Every kid could stand to take a lesson from her -- and dress up as her!

    Disney Princess Tiana Classic Girls' Costume ($30, Amazon)

  • Olaf

    7
    Olaf
    Amazon

    While we may be over hearing the soundtrack to Frozen, the truth is, it's a great story with a wonderful message -- and all of the characters in this movie are totally fair game for any kid to dress up. However, we have to say that Olaf may be our favorite.

    Disguise Baby's Disney Frozen Olaf Deluxe Toddler Costume ($26, Amazon)

  • Inflatable T-Rex

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    Inflatable T-Rex
    Amazon

    We're not sure why these inflatable costumes are trending right now, but we are so, so happy they are. They're flat-out hilarious, and they're pretty toasty, too -- even though they're awkward, they're still great for Halloween because nobody will be shivering in them. 

    Rubie’s Jurassic World T-Rex Inflatable Costume, Child’s Size Small ($60, Amazon)

  • Astronaut

    9
    Astronaut
    Amazon

    Every kid should shoot for the stars. For kids who are total lovers of space, the ultimate costume is an astronaut -- and we love that this one has NASA patches on it, too. It's super cute and even though it's sold in the boys' section, it's totally perfect for a boy or a girl. 

    Aeromax Jr. Astronaut Suit with Embroidered Cap and NASA patches ($32, Amazon)

  • Vampire

    10
    Vampire
    Amazon

    Halloween costumes don't need to be about aspirational careers -- they can also just be fantasy fun. A child vampire is always a spooky-scary concept, 

    California Costumes Count Bloodfiend/Child Costume ($33, Amazon)

  • Superman

    11
    Superman
    Target

    Superhero and comic book-inspired movies have been trending the past few years. All superheroes are totally fair game for all kids to dress up as, whether they want to go with an Aquaman costume, a Wonder Woman costume, or a classic, all-out Superman. (And the same is true for the villains, too).

    Justice League Superman Boys' Deluxe Costume ($36, Target)

  • Unicorn

    12
    Unicorn
    Amazon

    Unicorns have gotten so popular in recent years -- and not just with the kid crowd! We've definitely seen everything from unicorn eye shadow palettes to unicorn-themed desserts lately. We love the fun of dressing up as a magical, fantastical creature, whether it's a unicorn, a dragon, or a mermaid. 

    Seasons Direct Halloween Girl's Rainbow Unicorn Costume (from $25, Amazon)

  • A Ghostbuster

    13
    A Ghostbuster
    Amazon

    We grew up on the original Ghostbusters movie, and we definitely think all kids (after a certain age!) should be exposed to both this and the fun reboot from a few years ago. A Ghostbusters costume is a cool gender neutral choice (and great for a solo kid or a pack of friends and/or siblings). 

    Rubie's Ghostbusters Child's Costume ($37, Amazon)

  • A Headless Not-So-Horseman

    14
    A Headless Not-So-Horseman
    Amazon

    Culturally sensitive doesn't mean "not scary!" For kids who are super into the original Halloween costumes -- which is to say, dressing up as something spooky or scary instead of something cute and playful -- this headless costume is awesome (and really fulfills that "ewww" factor some kids love). 

    Forum Novelties Children's Unisex Headless Costume (from $23, Amazon)

  • A Werewolf

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    A Werewolf
    Amazon

    This werewolf costume is scary and totally cool for any kid. While there are definitely some points in time where werewolves are more a part of the cultural zeitgeist (we're thinking the Twighlight era specifically), they're honestly pretty beloved as a horror character forever. 

    Hungry Howler Werewolf Halloween Costume ($32, Amazon)

  • A Lego Guy

    16
    A Lego Guy
    Amazon

    For any kid who absolutely adores Legos, this is a cool costume -- and finally, this is a Lego brick or character that we won't end up stepping on in the middle of the night! (Seriously, is there anything out there that's worse? We think absolutely not -- although we appreciate that they teach engineering skills). 

    Child's Iconic Basic LEGO Guy Minifigure Costume ($30, Amazon)

  • The Grim Reaper

    17
    The Grim Reaper
    Amazon

    It's coming for us all -- death is one of the only truly legitimate things to fear out there. We love a kid with a sick sense of humor. Just because we want to be culturally sensitive with our costumes doesn't mean we can't be fun, playful, and get pretty sick and twisted with them, too. 

    Grim Reaper Costume for Kids with Light Up Red Eyes (from $30, Amazon)

  • Skeleton Costume

    18
    Skeleton Costume
    Amazon

    A classic for a reason, going as a skeleton is great, comfy costume -- who doesn't love a jumpsuit -- and is appropriate for all genders and ages. It can be fun to do the skull face paint for a full look, but it isn't necessary when the rest of the body totally works (and this is a great costume for under $20). 

    Lovekider 3D Skeleton Cosplay Jumpsuit Bodysuit (from $17, Amazon)

  • Pirate Costume

    19
    Pirate Costume
    Amazon

    Whether a kid wants to dress up as a specific pirate from history, a pirate from a movie, or just a general "pirate," we think it's a great, timeless costume. And bonus points for going trick-or-treating with a baby sibling dressed up as a parrot. (Come on, how cute would that be?)

    SP Funworld Children's Pirate Boy Costume with Hat, Sword, Eyepatch (from $18, Amazon)

  • An Animal Onesie

    20
    An Animal Onesie
    Amazon

    Animal costumes are always among our favorites -- and there's nothing cuter than seeing everyone from babies to our grown-up friends wearing onesie costumes with animals ears and tails. Why is it so adorable? No clue, but it's totally the case -- and also a great costume that lends itself to some face painting artistry, too. 

    AlfaBridal Animal Onesie Unisex Kids Cartoon Pajamas Halloween Cosplay Costume ($22, Amazon)

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