Get Ready, Do, Done: Help your child build planning skills while creating a Halloween costume

My house is Halloween Central already, with both of my sons focused on their all-important costume choices. Their interest in these costumes makes Halloween an ideal time to work on planning and follow-through skills. Executive function, the mental process needed to set and meet goals, is essential in carrying out a vision for a Halloween costume. The exercise Get Ready, Do, Done created by Sarah Ward and Kristen Jacobsen, can be easily adapted as you work with your child to plan and make a costume.

As my sons grow more excited about Halloween, I’m encouraging them to envision exactly how they’ll be dressed. I’ve asked them to create a “future sketch” that shows what they’re aiming for. An easy way to do this is to pick an image they want to try to match, given the limitations of time and expense. Here’s how we’re using the strategy Get Ready, Do, Done to help create this year’s costumes.

To Get Ready, my kids are brainstorming ideas for costumes. Gabe wants to be a penguin and is trying to convince his friends to join him. He’s in the process of getting images to match (which creates a mental imagine and is essential for executive functioning) sending links of these images to his friends and their parents, and boosting the idea at school. Part of getting ready is also having a fallback position: what will he do if others don’t want to join in? Will he be a solo penguin or choose something else? This is all part of the planning process. We’ve set a date for having a definite decision and marked the calendar so the process doesn’t become too rushed.

Meanwhile, my middle-schooler, Julian wants to be Vanilla Ice, the music star turned home renovator. He wants to make a t-shirt, so he’ll start with a “future sketch” showing what the shirt will look like and then we’ll order it online. We’ve marked the calendar for the date we need to submit the info so the t-shirt will be ready well in advance of October 31.

For both costumes, the Do step starts with creating a list of every part of the costume and identifying which things need to purchased, either at a local store or online. The list should include where and when each item will be purchased. If you already have some pieces of the costume at home, note that on the list too. The second part of the process will be any sewing, decorating, painting, taping, or other steps you need to do by hand.

The Done process consists of matching the costume that we made with the images that the boys originally picked to make sure it’s what they had in mind. If not, what do they need to do to make it match?  If so, they are all set wear the costumes to school, out for trick or treating, or to a party.

Happy Halloween!

To purchase the Get Ready, Do, Done planning pads, visit:

For more information, suggestions and activities to enhance and practice social, emotional and executive functioning skills in your everyday natural routines, check out my book Make Social Learning Stick!


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