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Costume Quest

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Costume Quest TV Poster Image
Animated series has positive messages, magical charm.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Positive messages are strong and frequent. Characters do not kill monsters, but instead make them powerless, cause them to run away. Teamwork is important in quest, and they show great courage in taking on problems that even adults can't solve. Episodes in which team works out who has what powers, what they're good for demonstrate tolerance and diversity, and show how painful it is when talents are devalued. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Quartet of friends at center of show is gender-balanced (very rare in male-skewing animation) and ethnically diverse. After initial struggle in which characters test out their powers, no one character dominates; all have equal say in what they do together and have distinct personalities. Adults are present, though often not very helpful, dismissing the kids and what they have to say. 

Violence & Scariness

Cartoonish violence includes scene in which movie action hero shoots giant lizard with green laser, and character in transformed costumed superhero form hits villain in face, sending him flying, and then running. Some imagery may be upsetting to young or sensitive viewers, like when purple drool comes out of zombie's mouth and his face peels off. Kids push and slap each other when arguing; no one gets hurt. 

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Series is based on a video game; viewers may want to buy it and play it after watching. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Costume Quest is an animated series based on the video game series of the same name that follows a group of four friends who gain super powers just as they discover their small town is overrun with hidden monsters. Strong positive messages are frequent, with characters treating each other with kindness and dignity, and working hard to become the sort of people capable of heroic acts. Heartwarming friendships are at the center of the action, and the friend group is ethnically diverse and gender balanced. Some of the visuals may be too much for young or sensitive viewers: swirling autumn leaves, spooky old houses, monsters creeping through trees drooling purple drool, their human faces torn off to reveal the giant lizard face underneath. When the Costume Quest friends fight them, they shoot them with lasers, punch them, send them flying into the air, and so on, but monsters don't die; they're merely reduced to small powerless figures who run away (and try again to get the friends' magical costumes). Adults are present, though often not very helpful, dismissing the children and what they have to say. Viewers who like this series may want to buy and play the video game. 

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What's the story?

When four kids discover their town is full of rampaging monsters masquerading as normal humans, they soon learn that only a COSTUME QUEST will stop them. Because when they put on costumes from Norm's (Fred Tatasciore) mysterious magic shop, they're transformed into monster-fighting superheroes with incredible abilities. And now that Wren (Gabriella Graves), Everett (Issac Ryan Brown), Lucy (Allie Urrutia), and Reynold (Sloane Letourneau) have understood the dangers that lurk in Auburn Hollow, they understand they have to master their new magical powers to keep the town they love safe. This series is based on the video game series of the same name created by animator Tasha Sounart.

Is it any good?

Endlessly charming and delightfully sweet, this magical animated series based on a video game is the kind of show parents want young kids to watch -- and they won't have to push it. The world of Costume Quest is one that's nonsexist, nonracist, (relatively) nonviolent, and shot through with positive messages about friendship and respect and teamwork. One of the most endearing things about Costume Quest is how much the team of four friends appreciate each other ("If we're getting eaten, we're getting eaten together!" says Lucy cheerily, heading into what might be a trap), as well as existing in a realistic web of family and friends. When Wren warns Everett that the monsters can pass as anybody, even his mom, he scoffs, "My mom made blueberry pancakes this morning, and warmed the syrup! Would a monster do that?"

Mysterious old doings in a mysterious old town is a great plot hook, but Costume Quest distinguishes itself further by taking the time to flesh out its animated characters instead of rushing headlong through the plot. Though the show's first episode has a conflict-battle-resolution setup that's pretty common to animated shows, the second slows down to take stock of the characters in the battle. If Wren, Everett, Reynold, and Lucy are to be heroes, they have to learn how first. For these and many other reasons, this series is a rare treat. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in shows such as Costume Quest. Is the violence OK because of the game's cartoonish nature and the kid protagonists using imaginative weapons, or does that not justify it? Would you find this show frightening if you watched it as a little kid? 

  • Families can also talk about the appeal of fantasy stories like Costume Quest. Why is it fun to imagine supernatural forces at play around us? How would it change the world if such things could be true?

  • How do characters in Costume Quest demonstrate courage and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

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For kids who love quirky animation

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