Ghosts haunt the streets. Witches cackle in the night. And kids of all ages canvass the neighborhood for delicious candy. It’s Halloween — one of the best holidays of the year for kids and kids-at-heart! (You get to dress up and eat your fill of sugar? Yes, please!) But before you can get to the good stuff, you have to help your kids pick out a costume. Do they want to be something beautiful or scary? Classic or trendy? Homemade or store-bought? And will you be OK with whatever they decide?
One mom on Reddit opened up about her son wanting to be a princess for Halloween. She was initially fine with it, but had concerns over what other people would think, and Reddit came through with some genuinely helpful advice.
In the Parenting subreddit, a mom wrote that her 5-year-old son “asked for a princess dress” for Halloween. She clarified, “Now this doesn’t bother me at all but I did want him to look at all of the costumes 1st. We went through and looked at all the other costumes but he still wanted the dress.”
That’s understandable. Getting the first costume your kids pick out is a rookie mistake — you’ll end up driving to three different Targets the night before Halloween to pick something different after your child inevitably changes their mind. It happens! But after saying he still wanted the princess dress, the mom grew a little worried.
“I looked him in the eye and I told him that that’s fine if he wanted the dress, but that he needed to understand that people might think he looks like a girl and asked him if he was OK with that,” the mom explained. “He said no and quickly chose a superhero boys’ costume.”
“Should I have said something different?” she continued. “I don’t want him to think it’s bad for boys to like princesses.”
It seems like the mom means well, but she did not handle the situation well. If your son is confident in what he wants, why make him doubt himself by worrying about what others may think? Luckily, Redditors had her back, assuring her that first of all, nobody will say anything to the little boy.
“My son was Bo Peep for Halloween right after Toy Story 4 came out,” one person wrote. “We were a bit surprised when he said that’s who he wanted to be but when asked why – he said something like ‘because she’s just so tough and brave!’ We were also afraid he would be bullied but no one said a word of negativity to him.”
Another said, “My son was Jessie, I asked him like 5 times if he wanted to be Woody as a cowboy, but he liked the red hat and cow print pants, as well as her song was his favorite. No one said anything! Though he did get misgendered like twice.”
Others had daughters that wanted to dress up like a boy, and again, it was fine. “My daughter was that way with Harry Potter,” someone said. “She wanted to be Harry Potter and when she told people they always asked if she meant Hermione. She didn’t care though. She was firm that she was being Harry, not Hermione. It didn’t end up being a big deal.”
A mom of a 15-year-old boy said that her son dresses up as a female character every Halloween, adding, “It’s surprising how little people actually care – especially on Halloween. ESPECIALLY on a 5 year old! Girls are ‘cool’ for being super heroes. Boys are the ones told it’s not ‘normal’ when they want to be a princess.” Exactly! The double standard here sucks!
That same mom said she adopted her son when he was 11; prior to that, he wasn’t allowed to be a princess for Halloween. “It’s taking all the years we’ve had him and more for him to unlearn it,” she said. “Those gender stereotypes are constantly engrained in us. When he first dressed how he wanted (for Halloween and otherwise), I saw a light in my kid I hadn’t seen before.” She added to the OP, “Likely it’s just a sweet 5yo wanting to be a princess because he thinks they’re cool. It’s adults who make it deeper than that.”
The message is simple: be kind to others, don’t worry about what other people think, and encourage your kids to dress however they want — for Halloween or otherwise.
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