Whatever your child chooses to dress up as, they’ll likely love their costumes and the chance to be sweet, regal, or scary. So capture this while you can!┬áThese photos will be fun for your kids to look back on as they get older, and they’ll also be fun to share with your family right now!

We’ve compiled a list of Halloween costume photography tips to help you get the most out of your October photo sessions with your trick-or-treaters!

Take pictures before

Always do the pictures the day before! This saves you the stress of trying to fit in a photo session before school, a parade, or trick-or-treating. In these cases, your child may be anxious to get going and won’t be patient, or you may rush yourself.

Plus, you’ll be better able to find the right place, the right lighting, and a fun pose.

Get good lighting

And speaking of! Lighting will make or break your photo, no matter the subject. Try getting photos in the late afternoon. This should be easy enough to do after school, but before trick-or-treating begins. If you do get a cloudy day, use it! Soft, diffused lighting will usually look best.

When you can’t get outside in the afternoon or if you’ve got inclement weather, take photos indoors rather than relying on your flash in the dark. Use natural lighting and turn on plenty of lights to brighten up your scene.

Get on their level

We have a tendency to take photos from our own line of vision. However, for kids, this won’t capture all of their costume. Or it could distort their features because you are pointing the camera down on them. Crouch down to your child’s eye level for the photo.

While you’re doing this, zoom in on special details, like Cinderella’s shoes, a tail, a wizard’s staff, or a hero’s sword. You can also do this for elaborate makeup and special effects. This is especially good if your child is especially proud or attached to a favorite costume piece like shoes, a hairstyle, or a prop. Record these little favorites now for them to remember years later!

Ditch the trick-or-treat bag

Bright neon bags or ratty pillowcases will distract from your child’s costume–and may even clash! Besides, the atmosphere and costume itself should tell you that this is Halloween. You won’t need a pumpkin or bag to tell you that.

Have fun with poses!

Let your kids “be” their character while you take pictures. After all, they wanted to be this character, right? So they’ll have more fun dancing, twirling, growling, or getting ready to attack than just standing there with a smile.

If you do want one of these photos, let them have their fun first. Because they got out some wiggles or got into character, they might be more willing to give you a posed, bright smile.

Find the right background

You don’t want to distract from the costumes you put so much effort (and/or money) into! And some costumes coordinate well with your already-present decorations, but others won’t. If you’re looking for a backdrop, stairs or a blank wall (inside or out) make great backdrops to focus on your child instead.

Or, if you can, you can dress up a scene with a backdrop, location, or props that match your child’s outfit. These will be extra fun to look back on!

Don’t be afraid to try again

Sometimes, Halloween night doesn’t work out for everyone. Even the days leading up to it can be too full of parties and other obligations. So don’t worry if you don’t get the perfect shot. Let your kids sleep off the sugar high, and wait for the parties to pass. Then, on November 1st or even a few days later, dress them up and try again. Your kids likely won’t be sorry to dress up again, especially under less pressure. You can find a better location then, and create or wait for better lighting.


Let us know how your child’s Halloween photos turn out using our tips! Or, share tricks you’ve learned over many years of spooky fun.