Recently I’ve seen several articles and memes about the inappropriate nature of little girls’ Halloween costumes. The focus is on the fact that young girls’ costumes are often the “sexy” version of boys’ costumes. While on the one hand it genuinely bothers me that some big faceless corporation would make such a thing, on the other hand I have to ask, how do you “Halloween like a girl” without being inappropriate?
I am thankful that my little ladies, currently aged 9 and 6, have not asked to dress up as something sexy. Over the years, they’ve dressed up as princesses and cheerleaders, but they’ve also dressed as fearless superheroes (Batgirl and Wonder Woman), bad-ass rebellion leaders (Princess Leia and Rey), and the cleverest witches of their age (Hermione and Ginny). In fact, our whole family got in on the act of the superhero-themed year. I dressed up as Wonder Woman, as well, and my husband was our “Daniel in Distress” (yeah, his name is actually Dan). He bought an old suit at Goodwill, tore it up, drove over it with the car, and added fake blood. The three of us girls were saving him.
My husband and I want our kids to dress like kids. We want to keep them young as long as possible. We don’t want to hurry them to their teenage years. And we definitely don’t want to rush them through such a fun and innocent time in their lives. We’ve been fortunate that Halloween-ing like a girl at our house has focused on being awesome, not sexy. So again, I ask, how do you Halloween like a girl and keep it appropriate?
As parents, we need to dress our kids like kids, not mini adults. Particularly girls! They don’t need low-cut tops or bare midriffs or short skirts. Your little one will be an amazing police officer or astronaut or witch, particularly if she is fully-clothed. Plus, considering that Halloween is at the end of October, when it’s typically cold and often rainy, being fully-clothed is probably better.
We also need to encourage our kids’ imaginations. Why settle on a cheaply-made, potentially inappropriate store-bought costume, when your daughter could be a tennis player from Saturn or a unicorn herder or one of the seven dwarfs! Make it happen! And just because a costume’s package has a boy on the cover, don’t let your daughter think the clothes inside are just for boys. Remind her that in real life a firefighter’s uniform is the same, whether it is being worn by a man or a woman.
Thankfully, I didn’t see any little girls this Halloween or last year wearing child-sized “sexy cop” or “sexy soldier” costumes. While I would love to say maybe it’s all been made up by those anonymous meme creators, I know that’s not quite right. The issue does stem from a place of truth, and as parents, we need to fight against it. We need to teach our daughters (and sons) that “Halloween-ing like a girl” involves dressing up as someone we admire or something we aspire to be, something funny or clever. Sexiness has nothing to do with it.