Can Boys Be Girly for Halloween?

Catherine Crawford
Big Kid

boy dressed as girl halloweenNow that we are fully engaged in Halloween countdown mode, it’s a perfect time to dust off a clip from The Onion, “Finding Masculine Halloween Costumes for Your Effeminate Son.” The absurdity of the spoof is what makes it so funny, like any good parody. But, after I finished laughing at this one I got a little sad --- The Onion’s hilarious depiction of the “problem” may not be that far from reality for a lot of little Billy Elliots out there.

If a little boy wants to dress as a mermaid, let him! That’s what I say, but then again I don’t have a little boy.

Can a boy partake in this delight? On Halloween? Or should boys have the most masculine of costumes all the time? Let's check out the clip ....

Even in my very lefty, tolerant slice of NYC, I’ve seen a number of mothers squirm when their young sons come bounding into my house and discover (with squeals of delight) my daughters’ seemingly endless dress-up stash. More than one mom has approached our trove as a secret addiction for their sons, only to be indulged in the safety of an insulated playdate.

Then, there was the time a friend, seeing how much a simple princess dress delighted her son, asked to take one home on loan for a little while. Later that night, however, she called wanting me to meet her on the corner to retrieve the garment. Apparently, the idea had NOT gone over well with her husband. Geez.

Obviously, if a little boy likes dressing up in sparkly, whirly, fun “girls” costumes, it doesn’t mean he’s gay. In my experience, it just means that he recognizes how wonderful dress-up play is, and he hasn’t been socialized to think that, as a boy, he’s got to carry a fake gun or at least some kind of weapon to be acceptable.

Usually, double standards go the other way, but not one person has raised an eyebrow to my 6-year old daughter’s desire to dress as Luke Skywalker for Halloween. In fact, she’s been getting a lot of street cred. I am sure, however, if she was a boy who wanted to go as Princess Leia, the snickers (not talking about the candy here) would have been countless. And Leia even carries a blaster!

So, I’ve given it some thought.  For any of you parents out there struggling with issue, not wanting your little guy mistaken for a girl on Sunday night, perhaps one of these costume ideas will work as a compromise:

  • Chef
  • Prince
  • Puppy
  • Merlin
  • Gardener

On second thought, though it might make you feel better, good luck convincing any kid hell bent on being fancy and fabulous to go as Mario Batali.  


Do you think boys can be girly on Halloween?

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