Whether its for a birthday, a special event, party, play, or just because you love them, buying a costume for a child is really special and particularly if you get to see their faces light up when they step into their new character outfit. We’ve come up with a few tips to help friends, parents, grandparents and others select the right costume first time…
Pick a theme they like
You are buying a present to spread a little happiness right ? So, think about what the child will love the most. What are their passions, favourite TV shows, books or films? Is their personality boistrous and loud or sweet and innocent? Boys and girls are equally able to wear a wide variety of unisex costumes, an astronaut, doctor or animal for example but a traditional prince or princess is probably best given to a boy or girl respectively. Brothers and sisters, twins and friends can be great fun to buy costumes for as there are many ideas that go together – a knight and a dragon, a king and a queen etc. helping strengthen the family bond through play.
Match the costume to an event
Halloween, Nativity Plays and Book Days are heavily themed so buying a costume for these events can be narrowed down relatively easily but don’t be afraid to think out of the box; a few well chosen accessories can transform a seemingly unrelated costume for a specific occasion.
Get the right quality
Dress up falls into two main categories : fancy dress and play wear and they are quite different in terms of quality. Fancy dress is usually intended for wearing on one or two occasions for a party or special event and the fabrics and methods of construction usually reflect the relatively low level of wear expected and so may not last long. Play costumes on the other hand are generally much better made from regular fabrics and designed for typical childrens play and extended wear much the same as regular clothes. There may be special washing instructions as most costumes incorporate special printing or extras which need appropriate care. There are of course a wide variety of qualities available even within each type from the most elaborate carnival costumes down to the most simple nylon ghost sheet. Ask the retailer for advice if you are unsure, we are here to help.
Choose the right size
The child’s age is a good indicator of size but industry standards are based on average models. In reality, kids vary enormously from the average so it is a really good idea to ask for the child’s measurements and use these instead to select the right size first time. Exchanging later on is not usually difficult but takes time which is not so good for the child who is eager to wear their costume.
Make sure its safe
Safety is a huge topic which we cant cover in depth in this article but if you purchase from a reputable seller and well known brand you wont go far wrong. Avoid importing items yourself from non EU sellers and anything without an official CE marking should not be used, the proper mark is shown below. An online seller will be able to contact you should there ever be a safety issue with a product purchased which is not true for market stalls and traditional stores. Bear in mind the age of other children in the household; a 0-3 year old should not have access to toys and garments for older children which may include small components for example.
No price label
No one wants to see the price left on a gift received, online retailers will usually include paperwork so if it is important not to have the price revealed let the retailer know with a quick email or make a note on the order if they have a field for such additional information. Not having paperwork is not a problem as online retailers will retain a copy of your purchase information and will usually email you with the order details for your records in any case.
Get the delivery address right
We’ve all done it; sent a gift and found it didn’t arrive because of an addressing error. Most retailers allow you to dispatch to a different address to your billing address. Double check the shipping address you have entered is correct and the recipient will be at home to receive it and that the postcode is perfect. Postcodes and official addresses can be checked for free on Royalmail.com .
Get it in time
A late gift is a disappointing one. An expedited delivery option can get you out of a bind but usually comes at a price so save yourself the money and the worry by ordering in plenty of time to avoid this happening. Buying from cheap non EU suppliers might look attractive but delivery can be particularly slow and may incur additional and substantial customs and excise duty costs which in turn can further delay delivery until settled.
Make sure you can return or exchange if necessary
Make sure you can return or exchange your item if it doesnt fit or isnt liked. This is usually easier with online purchases as you have more consumer rights. At the time of writing a 14 day cooling off period for on line purchases is mandatory, if that isn’t long enough, just contact the retailer or put a note on the order if you need an extended return deadline for gift, most will be more than happy to oblige.
Special offers that are worth looking for
Look out for great deals but dont get suckered in to buying something you dont really want just because it seems cheap. Better deals to look out for are discount loyalty schemes or a selection of promotional extras that reward you for buying what you want rather than distracting you to buy something else. Always sign up for Facebook or other feeds from the company you untimately chose as they will usually reward you with offers, competitions and ideas fed right to your social media.
Costumechest specialises in online retail of high quality children’s costumes designed for kids that want to enjoy their clothing time after time backed up with great customer service before and after purchase. Please visit our shop to see the range on offer.