Halloween is a gift to childhood more than any other holiday. Christmas often comes with a cheery man in a red coat who brings along gifts, while Easter comes with an egg-wielding bunny with a basket full of goodies. But Halloween is the paraphernalia of childhood dreams
A child can be whatever they want on this one day of the year. All of their childhood heroes and idols are attainable; they can become anything they can desire through the girls Halloween costumes..
However, despite all the fascinating individuals that might serve as inspiration when selecting alter identities, it’s simple for kids to make mistakes. They frequently fail to comprehend that some actions are just cruel, morally repugnant, terrifying, or a waste of untapped talent. Here are questions you need to ask when choosing your child a Halloween costume.
- Is there a person or group of people that the costume “mocks” or makes fun of?
If a costume reinforces stereotypes and promotes unfavorable beliefs about a certain type of person or group of people, it could be a great chance to start a conversation about the harm caused by stereotypes and the value of accepting and tolerating differences.
Need assistance starting the conversation? Consider reading one of the many books on embracing and being tolerant of others that are available.
Does a costume incorporate fashion or symbols from a different culture?
How, if so? Why is there a cultural representation, exactly? In general, culturally inspired costumes are a touchy subject, but they get even trickier when youngsters just want to dress up as their favorite Disney character. For parents, straddling the line between appropriate attire and cultural appropriation can be challenging. Culturally inspired costumes can at least spark interesting conversations with our children regarding diversity and how crucial it is to show respect for the historical experiences of cultures other than their own, even when it might be difficult to know where to draw the line. An excellent generalization is that someone else’s culture is not a disguise.
- Is a costume appropriate for the setting?
The village mentality advances the species. It’s never too early for our children to learn empathy or to consider the effects of their decisions on other people. Is there a middle ground? When the Littles are present, is it permissible to forego the mask or any spooky accessories, yet don them later when trick-or-treating with peers? It would be wise to practice this life skill early on because knowing your audience is one that will be useful.
Is it divisive?
A costume: Is it political? Does it portray a tragedy or recent event? If so, the child who is wearing it will likely spark needless controversy. Let the adults handle the news headlines. (Or at least the older children, who may actually watch the news and understand better why they are wearing what they are.) When they are older and more capable of defending and debating their decisions, our kids will have plenty of opportunity to investigate the dos and don’ts of Halloween politics.
Hopefully, our children will learn from us that the wonder of dressing up as someone else is what Halloween is all about—just not at the expense of others.