CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 28: Maritza Campos helps her son Yohel shop for a Halloween costume at Fantasy Costumes on October 28, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. With about a third of the population either attending or throwing Halloween parties, Americans are expected to spend $7.4 billion on the holiday this year. Fantasy Costumes will stay open 24 hours-a-day from October 24 until October 31.

Some kids start talking about what they’re going to be for Halloween half a year before the holiday arrives, but they rarely stick to their original plan. Psychologist Francyne Zeltser says some kids change their minds about costumes once a week or go back and forth between a few different options. This can mean several trips to the store for parents or hours spent online searching and shopping for their costume idea … and then they decide they want to be something else.

I have two boys with very different personalities. One that is terrified of everything Halloween and one that LOVES it! My spooktacular 3-year-old usually changes his mind a lot so I will be following this with a month before all hallows eve!

While it’s normal for kids to feel fickle about Halloween costumes, the indecision can be frustrating for parents. It’s great if you can actually get your child to pick a costume so you can buy it in plenty of time, but not so much if they change their mind before Halloween.

According to Today, here’s what parents can do to help their child make a choice they’re happy with so they don’t have a meltdown before trick-or-treating:

  • Start brainstorming Halloween costumes early – If your kid mentions a TV show, video game or some other character they want to be, write it down as an idea. Then revisit the list about six weeks before Halloween – around now-ish – to see if they’re still into it. If your child doesn’t have any idea what to be, narrow it down by asking if they want to be funny, cute or scary and if they want to match their friends or look different.
  • Try on costumes ASAP – This will give them an idea how it fits, how comfortable it is and how well they’ll be able to get from door to door to collect candy in it.
  • Consider a backup – If your kid is stuck between two costumes, having one as a backup can help. You can also use an old costume, a hand-me-down or throw something together with stuff you have on hand to use as a backup. Maybe one costume can be for trick-or-treating and one for school.
  • Help kids make peace with their costume choice – But what happens if the kid makes a final choice, but changes their mind after. Zeltser says sometimes the only conclusion is to tell them, “We have a costume, you can either wear it or your backup.” You can remind them that costumes aren’t the only tradition for Halloween, they can still have fun with friends, enjoy the spooky thrills, and of course, eat candy.

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