fire life Reviews

Best Firefighter Costumes 2008, Week 1

Here in the Fire Family, we know a thing or two about firefighter costumes. We’ve had play fire helmets since before BigBrother was born. We have one full costume, five different helmets and a special “air pack slash water hose” that would squirt water if I was silly enough to alert BigBrother to this fact or fill it myself. We know what firefighters are supposed to look like and, as such, we feel pretty confident to pick what we think are the Best Firefighter Costumes of 2008.

First up (and these won’t ever be in best-to-worst order or anything) this week is the Deluxe Fireman costume at Princess Time Toys (which doesn’t have just girl costumes). Complete with helmet, jacket and pants, it’s just a great number for your firefighter wannabe. We like the Maltese Cross on the breast and the general design. (Of note: you need your own boots/shoes.) Also great: the price! It is currently on sale for $24.29. Even better? My guess is that your future firefighter won’t wear this one just once. This is a costume that can be brought out for imaginative play, over and over again. Until it is grown out of, of course! (And I’ve worked with the owner of the store in the past. You are guaranteed great customer service!)

And, as I mentioned that you need your own shoes or boots for that costume, I thought I’d feature my favorite costume fire boots this first week. The Western Chief Toddler or Little Kid “FDUSA” rainboot is sure to be a crowd pleaser. And fun for your little one to jump into puddles. Some great things about this particular pair of boots: 1) Well, they’re cute! 2) A skid-resistant outsole for all of that puddle jumping. 3) Easy to maneuver handles for pulling on. 4) “Moisture absorbing cotton lining” can only mean good things after a whole day of puddle jumping and/or fighting (imaginary) fires. 5) Did I mention that these are cute? Also, they come in a wide range of sizes. My “toddler/preschooler” has big feet for his age. He’s already sporting between a 9 and a 10… and these come in sizes from 8 Toddler through size 4 Big Kid. So, you’ve got a wide range of sizes to pick from as your child grows. Keep the next size in the closet so you never have any “MY FIREBOOTS DON’T FIT” drama. I know you know what I’m talking about. The price isn’t the best ($26.99-$29.95) until you remember that they are an actual rainboot and, as such, if you live in an uber-rainy area, you can get your money’s worth out of this buy.

And, for the wee-bitty set who want to be firefighters, these are a must buy. (Or make if you’re crafty. I am not. So I rely on etsy.) That’s right. Hand knit firefighter booties. Complete with the pull up handles. I cannot get over the cute of these particular boots. I have a severe love of homemade things. Possibly because I can’t make homemade things. My creativity ends with words. As such, I love to buy creative things that others make so that I look like I am, by association, creative. All the same, if you know a firefighter family expecting a baby around Halloween (or, really, at all), those would be the most adorable little gift. Or, if you’re a man reading this blog, they would make a very manly, macho and tough gift that any firefighter would be proud to give. Either way.

I think those three things make for a great start to the series. Series? Oh yeah!

On Mondays through October 27, 2008, I will be highlighting the best of the best when it comes to firefighter costumes and accessories for your children (and maybe even for you). I will also have one post that includes the Worst of the Worst when it comes to firefighter costumes. If you are a company with a costume you’d like me to review, please hit me up via the contact form. Otherwise, I’m just picking what I like (and don’t) online.

fire life

So You Want to Visit the Fire Department

When my boys want to visit the Fire Department, we just get in the truck and visit FireDad at work. My guess is that you are not married to a fire fighter and you therefore assume your children don’t have immediate access to the gleaming red trucks. You’re probably right on the immediate access part but don’t mope around just yet. You, too, can visit your local Fire Department with your children, snap a few memories and learn a few things in the process.

First of all, ask yourself a few questions: Does the Fire Department come to your child’s school? Are there other opportunities for your child to see, touch and hear these fire trucks? Girl and Boy Scout troops often take trips to visit the Fire Department. Before you set up your own private tour, figure out if they’re going there next Tuesday. Too much Big Red Fire Truck can overwhelm a child.

Now, onto the process.

1. PICK UP YOUR PHONE. I know. I hate the phone, too. I don’t even like to call for pizza and, man, I love pizza. But even if your local department has a website, you’re going to get the most information and schedule the best time for all involved by employing the use of the archaic telephone. I have, in the past, schedule a visit entirely by email (for FireDad to visit a New York Fire House as an anniversary present, see picture to the left) but, trust me, it works better for all involved if you just pick up the phone.

1a. Ask if they give small family tours. While most will, it will behoove you to realize that some do not. If yours doesn’t, consider calling one town over or even to the nearest “big city.” Realize that Volunteer Fire Departments don’t always have a fire fighter on site and, at the same time, professional departments have a long list of other tasks that must be accomplished during the day.

1b. If they do, ask what time is good for them. Yes. You’re busy. You are! Look at all that laundry you have sitting, just waiting for you to actually get up from the computer and toss it in the washer. (Oh wait, that’s just me.) But so are the fire fighters. As an example, tours are often offered after 5:00 in the evening at our department. After you ask what time is good, find a date that works for you both and set it up.

2. Prepare your children. Tell them that they will need to listen to the fire fighter, ask appropriate questions and to ask the fire fighter before they touch anything. Also, tell yourself that ahead of times as well. Because, oh, the big shiny buttons.

3. Realize that fires are unpredictable. If they were predictable, FireDad probably wouldn’t have had to fight a fire the night before our wedding or on every major holiday since joining the department or birthday or days off or… the list goes on. If you arrive at the fire department and find that no trucks are present, you’re going to have to reschedule your tour. And you’re going to have some pretty upset children. (No doubt, you’re going to be pretty bummed as well.) Trust me on this one: treat them to something that they don’t normally get. Whether that’s ice cream, a late night movie or an impromptu trip to Grandma’s, just do it. Explain that the fire fighters are helping other people by fighting a fire and promise to reschedule. Oh, and then you’ll have to pick up the phone again later in the evening or tomorrow. Sigh. I know. Phones.

4. Take something to the fire fighters. Brownies are always a big hit! Any snack will do. Realize that these guys work up quite an appetite at times and would surely love something to munch on in between blazes. That said, recruit your children to help make the brownies (or whatever you decide upon). They’ll feel proud when they hand over the plate.

5. And don’t forget the Thank You note afterwards. The fire fighters won’t care if they don’t receive one. But it’s an important lesson for little ones to learn. Let them draw on a blank card and translate whatever they want to write if they’re not yet of writing age. Include a translation of your own if they are of writing age and it’s not quite coherent.

6. Last but not least: Don’t forget your camera when you go! You’ll want these memories. Trust me.

Have you visited your local Fire Department lately? What was your experience like? Were you as excited as your children? You know, despite taking the boys there almost once a week for just about four years now, I still get excited when I see the Shiny Red Trucks. There’s just something about them that’s awe inspiring and fun.

Oh, and ten bucks says if you ask one of the fire fighters, whom you just handed some brownies, to take a picture of you with your kiddos, they most certainly will… but don’t blame me if they get brownie fingerprints on your camera!