One year at MOPs (mothers of preschoolers), a mentor talked about her costume chest. Every year, the day after Halloween, she’d go buy the costumes that were 80% off and save them for the next year, so over the years she always had stuff that was new or different for costumes. Her kids by that point were in their 30s and still came home at every costume-needing event to dig through the box.

So I have striven to be that mom. When the kids were in elementary school, we brought the whole costume box up to school for storybook parades, Halloween, and Living History Museums. Some of them were cheap store-bought things, but many of them were things I had sewn or crocheted. Literally hundreds of kids have dressed up out of our costume box. I would always take photos of as many of the kiddos as I could.

When the last of my kids outgrew the smallest outfits, I started donating them to the school, so over the years our at-home costume box has dwindled and theirs has gotten bigger. Our kids don’t dress up as much now that they’re in high school and college, but every year at Halloween I’ll see at least one kid wearing something out of our old box and it really makes me smile.