Google Image Search for “toddler girls Halloween costumes” (left) and “toddler boys Halloween costumes” (right). Collage created in PicMonkey.
This past weekend, we visited a nearby Goodwill to find Nora’s Halloween costume. As an October baby, she’s already had three Halloweens, but this will be the first in which she’ll sort of understand what’s going on. Her first year, we didn’t dress up at all, naturally. We went to one Halloween party dressed as new parents and she was part of our costume. Last year, she wore a bee costume that her grandma found at a garage sale. The longer she wore it, the more Aaron and I were convinced it was supposed to be a bee costume for dogs. This year, we were ready to pick out her perfect costume.
At the Goodwill, and I’m assuming at most places that carry Halloween costumes, the costumes were divided into girls’ racks and boys’ racks. I dove into the girls’ side and Aaron and Nora started on the boys’ side. The girls’ costumes were homogenous, to put it kindly. Princess. Princess. Princess. Princess. Cheerleader. Pink Pirate. Purple doctor. Princess. Princess. Ladybug. Princess. There was variation on the princesses, of course. There were pink princess dresses white princess dresses, purple princess dresses. Some princess dresses had more tulle and others had more sparkly braiding. I quickly grew frustrated and began hoping that somehow, I could find an appropriate costume before Halloween.
Aaron and I switched sides. On the boys’ side, there was a little more variation. Superhero. Superhero. Police Officer. Fire Fighter. UPS driver. Doctor. Zombie. Superhero. Pirate. Pirate. Superhero. Lion. Tiger. Winnie the Pooh. At least on the boys’ side, boys could imagine themselves as people with professions or as wild animals. I can understand that the preponderance of superhero costumes, with their weird foam muscles, is frustrating. But there was simply more diversity.
Luckily, Aaron found the perfect green frog costume on the boys side. Nora tried it on in the Goodwill and immediately shouted, “I love it!” Then, she ran up and down the aisles in the store, saying to anyone she passed, “I’m wearing Halloween.” I was so happy to see her embody one of the joys of my favorite holiday, even though she probably doesn’t know what it means to be wearing Halloween just yet.
We did a pretty good job this year. She loves frogs and she gets to be a frog. She doesn’t know that we picked her costume off the “boys” side and we probably have several years (I hope) before she cares which side the costume comes from. But, once she notices, we’re going to have to get more creative about imagining our costumes before we visit the store or creating our costumes from scratch. Or I’ll just have to take a (very) deep breath and help her pick out a princess costume, hoping that she sees that it’s one vision of her self among many.