In general, children – particularly the things they say – are some of my favorite things. I love watching them think about an idea for the very first time, then come up with something to say about it. It’s like getting to watch the first reaction, every time.
So, children on Halloween are a special treat. Our elementary school hosts trunk-or-treat. Trunk-or-treat is where all the children dress up in their Halloween costumes and walk from car-to-car to receive candy from the teachers, who are also dressed up (and who happen to decorate their cars. I was Snow White, and my car was supposed to look like a castle). No child is more excited about school than on Halloween. Some are shy about their beautiful adornments. Others are bolder, walking quickly and holding their head high, excited to show off. And every child is thrilled at the prospect of receiving CANDY. Loads and loads of candy.
The childlike wonder that fills Halloween is lost somewhat as adults. You learn you can buy your own candy and store it on your shelf if you wish, eating it whenever you like rather than relying on the one time generosity of strangers. Rarely do you wear a giant ball gown or cover your face with itchy, sweaty paint. Carving a pumpkin often seems like a messy chore rather than an exciting adventure.
I still love Halloween. I probably always will. But my heart sinks a little when I see the creativity of Halloween wasted on slutty costume after slutty costume. Instead of remembering a childhood when they chose costumes that brought themselves joy rather than grabbing for empty attention, girls trot themselves out in everyday outfits that are shrunk down three sizes and reveal more skin than personality. A sailor, a fireman, a nurse… I’ve never seen these professionals wearing so little. And I don’t understand how, by shrinking the clothes down, they are suddenly a desirable costume. Why don’t all the women just go out in their underwear?
I don’t mean to offend all of those intelligent women out there who find themselves inexplicably clothed in a slutty costume on Halloween. I understand it seems to be the only option available. I just hope to broaden your minds and bring hope by saying that instead of a) rejecting costumes entirely, or b) succumbing to the pressure of the stores, if you put just a little thought into it, I believe you can come up with a costume that will get you far more attention and conversation, because it will show your unique personality rather than your generic cleavage. What would you rather be known for, anyway? (I think I read that idea somewhere, and I liked it. I apologize that I can’t remember where it’s from so I could honor the source). I am also not saying that all skimpy costumes are slutty. There are many tasteful, sleek costumes which I love, so I’m not negating the option of showing off your beautiful body through a smart, witty costume.
I like to see the creativity. I continue to be a huge fan of Halloween, I think it is really fun, BUT… my favorite are the children AND the truly ingenious costumes. It’s not every night you can wear your wit on your sleeve… literally.
At trunk or treat, one of the moms dressed up. I’m not sure why. She wore a skin tight, pleather, “slutty police officer” outfit. I think all of the teachers noticed her in the same moment. I was watching her, saddened, when I heard a small voice next to me, “Look at her!” said the pretty princess, dressed from head-to-toe in pink. “She’s Catwoman! I’ll bet her dad [husband] is Batman.” Good save, sweet little princess. That mommy meant to be Catwoman, probably. Someone independent and fierce and capable, not reliant on attention or affirmation of the weaker people around her. I agreed.
The day before trunk-or-treat, I worked at the preschool. I asked all the children what they would be for Halloween. I received the usual responses: all the girls would be fairies or butterflies or princesses. Although one extremely cute girl looked at me with her endearing, impish grin and said, “I’m gonna be a witch,” and her dimples shone as she said the last word. Heart. Melted.
All the boys would be Batman or Spiderman or Superman, with little variation. So I asked the boys, “Can a girl be Spiderman?”
Two of the three boys gave me a quick, adamant, “Noooo,” shaking their heads in refusal. The third boy looked at me concentrating, but said nothing. “Why can’t girls be Spiderman?” I pressed.
“Because,” one of the original responders continued, “Spiderman is for boys.” This was what I expected.
Finally, the third boy spoke up. “She could be Spider-woman,” he offered. “She would be pink.”
Thank you, little one, for beginning to respect women. She might have to wear pink in your book, and to be fair, most girls around you are. But, she can be Spider-woman if she likes. She’s strong. She’s noble. She’s beautiful. And she’s wearing clothes that fit.