So your daughter wants to be Wonder Woman for Halloween, or your son wants to be Batman. They’re both morally appropriate superheroes, and you don’t see any problem with that. But what should you pay attention to in keeping your children’s costumes appropriate?
Keep it Non- Violent
One of the major factors in keeping your child’s costume appropriate is making sure that it isn’t violent. Some parents choose to allow their children to play with guns and other weapons. Other parents are more reticent about fostering violent or insensitive behavior in their children. It is important to be consistent in the message that you send children. Children understand if you explain, “We don’t allow guns in the house, not even toy guns.” Make up your rules before your child talks you in a circle. Perhaps you do not allow guns, but you would allow a whip for a Catwoman or Indiana Jones costume. Why or why not is this allowed? Is it that gun violence is more dangerous and prevalent in our society?
If you do allow your child to take any weapons (such as Wonder Woman’s lasso of Truth, or King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur), make sure that the sharp edges are all blunted. Make sure that any object that can be used to hit someone is soft. Any rope object should be tied with a knot that comes undone at a gentle tug. Supervise your children when they use these objects.
Keep Sex Out
Wonder Woman might be a bastion of American morality, but her costume certain leaves part of the body to be covered. Will you allow your daughter to wear a midriff baring genie costume? Will you allow your son to wear (temperature permitting) a shirtless Tarzan costume? Are you concerned about the messages that revealing costumes send to your children?As a parent, you have a right to veto certain costumes. You can explain to your children (and often this is more of an issue with young girls) that they can be many interesting things without having to remove their clothes. You can ask that they wear their hula costume over top of another shirt or pants.
Remember that being overly vigilant about children’s costumes can sometimes be counterproductive. If you discuss issues of stereotypes, gender, and violence, with your children, they will be better equipped to deal with the real world.