Back to Top
  • 2. Guide your children towards showing appreciation for POC communities without trivializing cultural elements and spirituality.

    If you are the consumer type, buy your children posters, toys, books and T-shirts to support the communities and franchises they admire. Explain that this money goes to the POC actors who helped to create the things they love. If you are the hands-on type, trade an inappropriate costume for volunteering at a community center, doing story time, or engaging with a play group of predominantly POC.  Explain that playing with real children is so much more fun than pretending to be a POC. And if you are the conversational type, take time to research the historical connotations connections between films like Moana and Black Panther. Buy your children books and discuss the importance of these characters within the context of their respective communities. Teach your children that it is important to honor characters that are meaningful to POC communities, even if they don’t understand that meaning within their own lives. If you are the overachiever type, do all three.

  • Advertisement
  • 3. Offer alternatives.

    Research your own Eurocentric history, culture, and folklore. Share that with your children and recommend costumes within it.  Also offer new spins on classic favorites, like a Steampunk Alice in Wonderland or a Bedazzled Little Mermaid. Encourage creativity by creating costumes based on puns. Consider other favorites, such as mythical creatures and favorite animals. The options are limitless, when you set a firm boundary to not appropriate culture as a part of Halloween.

  • None of this means anything if you aren’t willing to openly discuss racial justice and cultural appropriation with your children. 

    It is imperative that we, as a society, become cognizant of social disparities among racial and ethnic groups. One of the most important things parents strive to teach their children is empathy for others. We fail when we hyper focus on empathy for white people, as they are over-represented in mass media from which many of our children learn. Teaching children about awareness and empathy for POC involves conversations about current events, such as the ways in which groups of children don’t have access to the same rights and resources white children do and the ways in which POC children don’t have the opportunity to fully engage safely with their own cultures the ways in which white children can engage with Eurocentric culture and POC culture with little to no repercussion. Teach children to be mindful and aware of the ways in which people are treated differently for things they can’t change about their bodies or their background. Most importantly, instill the boundary that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Setting limits will alleviate a future sense of white entitlement.

    Children are simultaneously impressionable and resilient. They will appreciate growing up to be adults who understand and respect boundaries and consent. They will respect knowing the difference between cultural appreciation which is heartwarming versus the damaging effects of appropriating culture. Creating social equity for tomorrow starts with deep conversations and a commitment to maintaining boundaries today.