Here are some tips for putting together kid-friendly costumes and avoiding Halloween hassles. The suggestions come from Fran Bond, associate dean of the College of Education at Towson State University, and Janis Ellis, director of Child's World nursery and day care at Villa Julie College:
* It's not a good idea for young children to wear masks -- they can obstruct vision and frighten both the wearer and other youngsters. Non-toxic makeup is easy to use and children usually enjoy watching themselves being made up.
* Props can make a costume. Witches' brooms, devils' pitchforks and other trappings should, however, be an appropriate size.
* Be sure that the costume fits, is comfortable and does not have parts that can fall off.
* Don't force a child to dress up; often young children do not want to wear costumes.
* Parents should offer a choice of only three or four costumes. It's not a good idea to ask "what do you want to be" unless you're prepared to buy a costume resembling this week's hottest cartoon character.