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TODAY

Monday, April 22

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Airbags

It's been years since you've legitimately tricked or treated, but now that you have your baby, you can finally go around the block again and cash in on your cutie pie's cuteness and enjoy her candy. She can't, after all, eat of any it, so why let it go to waste, right?

You realize, though, that he needs a costume. A costume?! Yep, a costume. While you were able to get away with dressing like Robert Smith for three years in a row during your college years, your baby can't pull that look off, nor can you dress your kid in a garbage bag and proudly proclaim, "Hey, they're a California Raisin!" What worked for you doesn't work for them, nor is it practical.

Old Navy has a decent selection of costumes for babies, toddlers and older kids. Footed one-piece bear, pumpkin and other animal costumes (with a hoodie) start at $16 which, for an outfit that will probably only be worn once, is a great deal. Fleece hats for babies, in the shape of pumpkins or spiders, are marked down to $5. Toddler bunny, frog, dragon and ballerina two-piece costumes are marked down to $16.

The Children's Place has fancier one-piece costumes for your toddler. Not much of a selection, but the few styles they have are pretty elaborate. For $30, you can buy a pink or green velvety dragon or a plush gorilla costume that is so cool, I'd like to wear one. Their black and white cat costume for $25 features black velour and white faux fur around the cuffs and neck, plus a vivid pink belly and ears. Orange coveralls for infants start at $9 and for those children who hate dressing up, simple t-shirts in black are available as well. And if your 0- to 6-month-old is cooperative, there is a darling ladybug costume with removable wings and coordinating booties for only $16.50.

Target has trademarked character costumes available both at the store and online. For the average price of $30, your toddler or older child can be Cinderella, Tigger, Spider-man, Elmo or Dora the Explorer. If you're not into characters, there are also Halloween pajamas, basic skeleton outfits and the usual "This IS my costume" t-shirts.

Now if you are really brave and want to take you baby into the frenzy that is Fantasy Costumes, 4065 N. Milwaukee, you will have entered the baddest mama jama costume place in the city. With infant outfits ranging from $8 and up, and toddler and older child costumes from $19 and up, this place is the mother of all costume places. But be warned: it is crowded, loud and may be too much for your young baby to handle. If you go, leave the baby at home.

Don't have the time or patience to buy a prefab costume? You can make some quicky costumes at home. Have a boy? Dress him like a girl and vice-versa. Put some jeans, a red and white striped turtle neck and a red and white cap and there you go, instant Waldo! Buy some green tights and a green onesie and BAM, you have a Jolly Green Baby. If your baby is bald like mine, just have him or her wear a teeny black suit with a red bow tie and they can be that creepy-as-hell Six Flags dancing old dude.

There is an abundance of potential costumes in your baby's closet if you just poke around in there long enough. Plus, all of the above places also have various odds and ends to spruce up your homemade costume: hats, tights, wands, bags, booties.

Since Halloween is only a few weeks away, many places are lowering their prices by as much as 50 percent. And, if you are so inclined and extremely organized, you can buy your child's costume for next year this year.

Stuff is flying off the racks, so unless you want to walk from door-to-door with your little California Raisin, you'd better step on it -- and save me some Candy Corn!

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About the Author(s)

Alejandra Valera is a new mom and writer. If there's a baby- or kid-friendly place, product or event you think she should cover, email her at .

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