Best Kid Costumes and Dress-up Kits for Inspiring Creativity

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Our Favorite Creative Costumes

Children benefit intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally from imaginative play.

Playing dress up (or, if you want to be more formal, “socio-dramatic play”) is obviously a great way for kids to develop creativity and story-telling skills. Novel scenarios, inventive props, and fun new costumes stretch their imagination. But there are additional, less-obvious benefits to role-playing, as well.

Halloween is (among many others) a great time for kids to express this creativity.

“[Role playing] fosters the imaginative processes, and allows for play without rules or script. Dress up allows for experimentation, role play and fantasy.”
-Dr. Laurie Zelinger, licensed child psychologist 
(From How Playing Dress-Up Shapes Your Child – by Sue Douglass Fliess for

Dress up play in the 1937 Sears Catalog

Cognitive intelligence
Dramatic play boosts cognitive skills, by encouraging children to overcome problems in a new way. As a sheriff or a chef, kids invent new obstacles, and also invent solutions to these novel problems, expanding how they approach problem-solving in general.

Social intelligence
Dress-up also lends itself well to social and cooperative-stage play, which promotes social skills, teamwork, interaction and communication. Putting themselves (quite literally) in another person’s shoes teaches them the basics of empathy and understanding. Whether pretending to be a parent or a firefighter, they begin to see the world from a variety of perspectives.

Emotional skills 
Besides exploring the feelings of others, dress-up play allows kids to work through their own feelings, and it even gives parents opportunity to view how their child perceives the world.

Motor skills
While engaging in character role-playing, kids also tend to utilize gross motor skills that are not used in other types of play or in other typical play patterns. This is all on top of the variety of future life-skills that they are exercising!

Whether you are dressing up for Halloween or just for imaginative playtime:

Smart Toy’s Top costumes for dress-up play:

Get Real Gear / My 1st Career GearAeromax probably has the absolute best selection of occupational dress up for kids, with a huge variety of options from firemen to astronauts and much more.
Super Me – dress up super hero play that has the added benefit of tucking into a fully functional backpack, so kids can take their costume anywhere.
Melissa and Doug have some great dress-up kits including chefs, ballerinas and more.

Small World Toys makes a great pirate costume and knight in shining armor costume.
KidKraft has a variety of real world props for dress-up play; from retro kitchen sets to realistic tools to a doctor’s medical supplies and more, there’s plenty to spark the imagination of any child.
Schylling toy has brooms, tea sets, handcuffs and mustaches to go along with any of your child’s favorite costumes and make-believe games.
Hape Toys have a great cooking set and even an entire traditional wooden kitchen.
If you’re looking for specific, recognizable characters, Rubies Costume Co’s costume collection represents over six decades of quality costumes, from Minions to Avengers to SpiderMan to Star Wars.
Dreamy Dress ups from Douglas Toys includes a variety of awesome wings, including fairies, bats, butterflies, and dragons

Thank you for reading our guide to creative children’s costumes and kids role play costumes.

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