Another Halloween is in the books and I ‘m still trying to figure out how. As usual, Halloween afternoon found us carving our pumpkins, placing them outside about an hour before the first Trick-or-Treater graced our door.
It was a great night. We spent most of it trick-or-treating with Daniel, who had a blast. And we did too. Our neighborhood really gets into holidays and since we are rural and large, you see golf carts and trucks pulling wagons as well as groups of walking families. I don’t think we’ve ever seen as many kids out (I’m sure Halloween being on a Friday helped). I saw only 2 Elsas and 1 Anna! Daniel got to stay up until almost 9, and we were all exhausted by the time we went to bed.
Daniel dressed up as a witch this year. Not a warlock (because I doubt he has ever heard that term), but a witch. He announced his intention to be a witch shortly after last Halloween, and we went with it.
We didn’t make a big deal out of the fact that witches are girls and D is a boy because we’re trying to make some gender differences a non-issue. Plus, Daniel is only 5. If he wants to be a witch, what of it??
Part of our commitment to let him dress up as whatever he wanted stemmed from a Halloween episode of Roseanne in which DJ, the son, wanted to dress up as a witch and his father was uncomfortable with it. The disappointment on DJ’s face at not having his costume accepted by his father really affected us, and we vowed that D could dress up as whatever he wanted and we’d support him.
So we found him a spooky black robe (because most witch costumes skew frilly girl, oddly enough). We bought him a broom perfect for his size and an awesome witch’s hat with purple (his favorite color) glitter cobwebs on it. He looked awesome. Best little witch ever.
I proudly told everyone who asked about Halloween what Daniel was going to be. I anticipated comments (and was curious what I would hear) but received only one. Jimmy received a few more. The frustrating part of these comments is that they alleged we were hurting Daniel somehow by letting him dress up as a girl, that we were damaging him. He is FIVE!!
It’s interesting because women can dress up as men with little comment. A coworker at the Halloween potluck was a football player. In the same Roseanne
episode with DJ as a witch, Roseanne dresses up as a guy. Hijinks ensue. Why is it OK, even funny, for women to dress up as men but not the opposite? Obviously because men = strong; women = weak. Of course women want to emulate the “stronger” sex while men emulating the “weaker” sex are suspect.
Parenting books tell you how to feed, discipline, and sleep train children. They tell you how to handle tantrums, disobedience and non-compliance. That’s nice, but they don’t help you figure out how to raise a little boy in a world beginning to view them with suspicion; how to help them understand and respect gender differences while not being defined by them; how to be sensitive and strong; how to see injustice and speak up. It’s heavy. My little boy prefers the pronoun “she” for everything, loves the color purple and has a good heart. Our job is to support and nurture that in a hard world.
My son was a witch for Halloween and rocked the hell out of it.