Well, why do we have to choose either or? Why not both, or neither? What is so hard about dressing up in a costume that yet again we have to make that choice of sticking to yet another gender expectation… of our children? What has happened in the 30 years since I was a child to smother all of that imagination and freedom to make it unimaginable that a boy would want to be a female character or vice versa?
As a parent of a “non-conforming” child Halloween is always a toss-up. What’s he going to choose? What will I be making or chasing down this year? In the past 8 years it has been anything from Super Rainbow, a Frog, Totoro, Jamie Hyneman, mad scientist, and a duck. This year? Well, what he really wanted to be was Princess Rosalina (from Mario brothers, the not-pink princess.). My problem? I didn’t have the time to sew the costume and everything I can find for the costume itself online is over $100 from professional cosplayers. It really never occurs to us to object to anything based on the gender society assigns to clothing, costumes, or toys until after we’re out somewhere or he’s at school and the questions start.
You know the questions. “Are you a boy or a girl? Well why are you wearing girls’ clothes then? You can’t do that! That’s not for you!” On and on these discussions swirl, only slightly less aggressive at Halloween than any other day when you’re outside the usual bubble of home. What would you do?
This year, we did what we had to. We found his 2nd place costume because we couldn’t afford Rosalina. But she WILL be going on the list of costumes I will make, and he will wear it anytime he wants. Because none of these questions matter, really. What is important is his happiness, his independence and his solid confidence in who he is. The very best answer is our support and love, always.