My younger daughter dressed up as a train for Halloween this year, after abandoning her initial plan to go as a zebra.
She wanted to be a train because one of her friends is a going as a train, and they simply must have the same costume.
My older daughter wants to be a Witch, or maybe a scientist.
Notably, neither one is dressing as a princess. It’s about time.
As I mentioned earlier this week, cheery Halloween costumes like these are a fairly modern invention. The history of Halloween is all about dressing like a ghost or goblin so you’ll blend in with the evil spirits that walk the earth on Halloween night.
Try telling that to my girls. Or any girls. Halloween fashion for the small girl set has been all about princesses for as long as my kids have been dressing up and demanding candy from strangers. They were the odd ones out as pirates and firefighters for a few years, and then jumped into the princess thing with a vengeance.
It seemed like every kid on the block was a princess-fairy-mermaid-ballerina for a few years there.
Now they’re dressing up as trains. Is the reign of princesses finally ending?
If it is, I could not be happier. As Sue Sylvester put it on Glee, Halloween is the time when little boys dress like girls and girls dress like whores. Or, as our own columnist Kevin Keck put it, “My 4-year-old twin daughters were dressed like harlots. In reality they were supposed to be Witches…”
The “sexy” clothes for little girls are bad enough at any time of year, but Halloween really brings out the Totally Not OK Fashions. Vampy vampire costumes. Racy Red Riding Hoods. Plunging necklines and hip-high slits on princess/witch/fairy dresses. Those insufferable plastic seashells for mermaids.
Not only do costumes like these press precocious sexuality on girls, but even the tamer versions reinforce gender roles. My little princesses wore homemade gowns, not at all sexy. Even so I was uncomfortable: they’re so little. Do they really need to be constantly trying on the roles of adult women? Fantasy adult women who live in fairy tales and are rescued by princes all day long?
In some sense, yes, they do need to try out those roles. But I want them to try out a lot of different roles. So I’m delighted to see them dressed up as trains and zebras and scientists as well as witches and fairies.
It seems to be a trend: several friends have reported seeing fewer short skirts and glittery headdresses at classroom Halloween parties today. Instead the girls are turning up dressed as pumpkins, zoo animals and (in one case) a blue crayon.
What did your girls dress as for Halloween this year? Has the reign of princesses finally come to an end?
Photo: Molly Tomlinson