Three Things You Need to Remember About Halloween Costumes

Halloween is coming up and the hunt for costumes for our kids is probably already underway.  Some children will already know exactly what they want to be (and have probably known for ages) whereas some will have ten different ideas between now and Halloween.  What used to be a simple task of figuring out what your child wanted and often making it at home piecemeal has been overtaken with company-made costumes and politics about what kids are wearing.  Some of these politics are good, and some not so much.  The idea of as-is costumes is great for families with the money and lack of time to do their own, but shouldn’t be the standard we hold costumes up to.  This isn’t a post against any one thing and I acknowledge that there are many ways to do costumes for kids, but it is a reminder that there are a few things parents should keep in mind this Halloween season…

There are no such things as “boy” costumes and “girl” costumes.  I have written about our own experience when my daughter decided to be Iron Man one year, but she’s not alone.  Too often children these days are pigeon-holed into being something “gender appropriate” on Halloween.  Let’s be clear folks – there is absolutely nothing that can only be worn by one sex.  If a boy wants to be a princess, let him.  If a girl wants to be Iron Man, let her.  If other people have a problem with whatever your child is dressed up as, that’s their problem and your only job as a parent is to make sure your child is aware that the other person is in the wrong and they have nothing to feel bad about.

You can do girl versions of stereotypically boy costumes without sexualizing your child.  Some girls don’t want to be Superman, but rather want to be Supergirl.  That’s awesome.  There is nothing wrong with your girl wanting to make her costume more girly than the typical boy costume.  There is, however, something a little off about the way we have packaged many of the pre-made costumes for girls.  I specifically refer to how sexualized these costumes have become (see below).  If you are a grown woman and want to run out on Halloween as a sexy anything, you rock it, but if it is a child, there is no need for the “sexy” look that we have given to young children.  In fact, no costume for a child needs to be sexy.  None.

halloween sexy costume

In fact, if your child does want to be Supergirl, this costume (available here and pictured below) is a good example of how to do it in a way that doesn’t sexualize the child, but stays true to what the original costume is about.  Yes, the skirt is a little short, but as Superman wears spandex underwear, I’m going to say this actually is probably more covering than the original.

halloween super girl

Scary costumes are a-okay.  I don’t know what’s happened in recent years, but it seems that scary costumes have gone the way of the dodo (at least where I live).  Perhaps this reflects our cultural shift away from horror and anything remotely scary for kids, but at Halloween, isn’t being scary part of the fun?  Zombies, ghosts, ghouls, vampires, and all the scary creatures that are supposed to be out at Halloween have disappeared in favour of TV and movie characters, which is great if kids pick it honestly, but if they aren’t being allowed to buy a scary costume because it’s “too scary” or because they simply aren’t aware of these creatures, then we should take a moment and reflect if we’re actually doing our kids a favour or not.  At the end of the day, they should be picking their costumes and shouldn’t be limited by our ideas of what’s “right”.

halloween scary costume 1 halloween scary costume 2

By Tracy Cassels

October 12, 2015