Found: a Practical—and Pretty—Princess Costume

Joining what seems to be the majority of girls under five, my daughter asked to be Princess Sofia the First for Halloween. She has fully, undoubtedly, and, it seems, inevitably entered the princess phase.

For perhaps an hour or so, I entertained the thought of making her a costume from scratch. I knew I could get tulle, after all, and there are all these fabulous tutorials for tulle toddler ball gowns online. How hard could it be?
Then I came to my senses. With a few writing and editing projects in the works, a visit from my in-laws, and three upcoming parties to prepare for, adding another DIY costume to my to-do list was just not the smart thing to do. I am still in the process of learning to be gentler to myself and accepting that I am not and do not have to be a supermom. "You can do anything, but not everything" is a helpful mantra. (If there are any fairy godmothers around looking for work, please drop by before midnight.)

Fortunately, this deliberation happened while we were at SM, so once I'd decided we'd be going the store-bought route, we just popped into the kids section of the department store and we had her costume ready in under an hour. Princess ball gown? Check!

What We Got: 

I made sure the white dress was the longest and poufiest they had and that the tutu skirt was the right shade of lavender. We added a lavender top that E already owned and picked out a crown for he day (as you can see, she has a growing collection) and–Voila!—her first Halloween costume was done!

Princess Sofia the First

4 Things I Love About This Costume

1. It's one of a kind. Since she wanted to be a very popular character, I knew there was a big chance someone else would come as Sofia the First. And since there are "official" Disney costumes available at every department store, it was likely that the multiple Sofias would be wearing identical dresses. I liked being able to tell my Sofia apart from the rest of the purple princesses.

2. It's age-appropriate. She's a toddler playing dress up who looks like a toddler playing dress up. If your toddler was the one wearing the "tongue-in-cheek" sexy pop star outfit or skin-colored leotards and tights and faux bikini, I apologize for judging your child's costume. I'm sure there will be at least Halloween costume like that in our future, when she's older and rebellious. For now, I'm glad my toddler still looks like a little girl who just wants to be her favorite princess for the day.

3. It's fully reusable. Putting a costume together from separates off the rack means all the pieces can become part of her wardrobe long after all the treat bags have been emptied and packed away. I can justify spending on a few outfits rather than on a one-time special occasion costume. (Update: She now adds the tutu skirt to her pajamas when she's feeling fancy.)

4. It's her choice. I thought we would be the cool family with the coordinated, culturally current (or hipsterly obscure) costumes, but she was very clear that she wanted to be Sofia. Fine. I can't even talk her into wearing the shoes that fit when she wants to wear her "ballet" shoes, so her choice of Halloween costume was not a battle I could win or would even want to begin. (We'll talk about how I feel about princesses and Sofia some other time.) Yes, I am jealous of parents whose kids celebrated the day dressed as Star Wars Costumes, but I'll get over it (please invite my kid over to your house to watch the trilogy and show her it's cool).

I also wanted to add some embellishments to the dress to make it look more like the character's dress, but she decided that they impeded her ability to curtsy. Okay, it's Halloween, not Comic-Con. Authenticity was for my satisfaction; comfort and curtsying were her priority. She wins.

5. It's play-friendly. I don't know about other princesses, but my princess is not one to sit still and look pretty (she's Sofia, not Amber, after all). She loves to run and roll and cause a ruckus. Even with a petticoat and a long skirt, her costume still allowed her to participate in the class activities and games, run madly down the field and up the hill at the fair, weave through "spiderwebs", and dance to her little heart's content. A princess with a broken crown, an untucked shirt, and wild, messy hair is still a princess after all. Just like Sofia.

princess Sofia the first at the Halloween fair
A magical night for a princess