I Don’t Want My Boy To Want A Boy Costume For Halloween

Halloween is a reminder of how much our family has evolved.

The Halloween before last, our three and a half year old son wanted to dress up as Snow White and we were panic-stricken. What would people say?  How would people respond?  Though we were tempted to, we would not let our boy dress as a girl for all to see – not even on the one night of the year that is reserved for fantasy, role-play and costumes.

Oh, no, instead I sat him on my lap, scrolled through BuyCostumes.com’s “Boys Costumes” section and manipulated him into thinking that those were his only options.

He finally, reluctantly selected a costume. He slid off of my lap and walked solemnly to his room as I ordered it online.  I felt bad for not letting him dress as he wanted for Halloween, but I also felt like I didn’t have another choice.  What kind of parent let’s their child cross-dress in public?

Besides, I argued, C.J. was getting what he really wanted out of a costume, which was to wear makeup and fabric that “felt nice.” He trick-or-treated as a silly-faced skeleton, wearing a black satiny polyester blend getup with a face full of black and white make-up that would have impressed the girls and boys working the MAC counter.

It was fine, but it was not Snow White.

Halloween was over and I figured that our boy’s “girly phase” would be done by the next October 31, at which time he’d pick a “boy costume” and we would forget about the Snow-White-Skeleton Halloween.

Twelve months later, C.J. was four and a half and wanted to dress up as Frankie Stein, (the teenaged daughter of Frankenstein and star pupil at Monster High) for Halloween.

By that time we had realized that our son’s penchant for all things girly was not a phase, it was his way of life.  We knew that he was gender-nonconforming.   We knew that he was going to want a “girl costume” for Halloween.  We weren’t panic-stricken like the year before, but we were scared.

If he were an only child, he could get all dolled up in full drag and rock the hell out of All Hallows’ Eve.  But, he wasn’t an only child. And, while C.J. might not get teased if he wore a “girl’s costume,” his older brother probably would. We were committed to letting C.J. wear the costume of his choice, even as we worried incessantly about the effects it might have on his brother.

Our one condition was that C.J. had to wear a wig.  His dad and I both felt like we could really hide (protect) him and his brother with the use of a wig. A wig felt like a safety net.  I took C.J. shopping for his costume early in the morning in the middle of the week so that no one would see his selection.

C.J.’s Brother was less-than-thrilled about his little brother dressing like a girl and parading himself proudly around our community for Halloween.  For all of us but C.J., the holiday’s happiness was damped by worry.

This year for Halloween, C.J. wanted to dress up as Bloom, a fairy from Winx Club.  None of us gave it a second thought; we just bought the costume.  No manipulative online browsing.  No off-hour trip to the costume store.  No panic.  No worry.  No nothing.

The costume didn’t come with a wig and I didn’t get one.  Bloom has red hair and so does C.J.  His isn’t long like hers but I figured that we didn’t need a wig.  I didn’t feel like we needed the protection that a wig felt like it provided last year.

C.J. freaked out.

“I need a wig!   I want a wig!  If I don’t have a wig people will know I’m a boy.  They’ll know it’s me!” he said mid-meltdown.

“Okay, okay, we’ll get a wig.  I promise,” I said.


“No, but before Halloween.”

His dad, brother and I hadn’t given this year’s costume choice a second thought.  And, just as we three got to the point of not caring about what other people might say or think or do, C.J. was just beginning to care, take such things into consideration and modify his behavior accordingly.

Now it saddens me to think that next year he might want a “boy costume” to avoid negativity, stares and judgment from other people.  Now, I don’t want my boy to want a boy costume.

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  • QJ201

    If Queerty is going to repost someone else’s blog post…there should be a link to the original source. As is this is plagiarism.

  • Katbox

    I thought Queerty received permission from the author long ago.
    in any case, “awwwwww”

  • mlbumiller

    @QJ201: This family knows they post this on Queety. look up the blog, the family does not ID themselves at all. Look up ” Raising My Rainbow

  • zaneymcbanes

    I’m a fairly femme gay guy, and I’ve always been fairly femme. I played with Barbies when I was younger, I would put on my sister’s dresses and run up and down the street in them, but I also played with different toys. Even straight boys and girls will play with the “opposite” gender’s toys before they have it socially policed out of them. The way CJ is presented in this blog makes me seriously question the veracity of these stories. There’s no variation to him in the way that a kid normally would have. For that matter, there’s very little variation to the arc of the stories in the blog. It’s like a sitcom the way the blogger repeats these conflicts. Even if they are true, I think this blog does more to enforce gender stereotypes than to eschew them.

  • yaoming

    I thought this “Raising My Rainbow” blog was supposed to be about an accepting mom who was thrilled to have a “gender non-conforming” son, but I was a little surprised to read that a 3-year-old kid wanted to dress up as Smow White FOR HALLOWEEN and she freaked out. My nephew is 3 and we’re lucky if he’s wearing anything at all. When he’s swimming he still tries to take his bathing suit off “because it’s wet”, he says. So if a boy wants to dress as a girl, who cares? Plenty of grown (straight) men do. Now the kid is a little older and is feeling ashamed because of the negative feedback from the parents. Any other day of the year this might make sense, but on Halloween?

  • ncman

    I swear that this mother keeps changing the birth order of her sons in these posts. I’m positive that in an earlier post she described taking her sons to a movie and her “oldest” son stating that he wanted to get a t-shirt with “Likes Boys” printed on it. I questioned it in the comments of that post and was told then that her gender non-conforming son was her oldest son. Now, in this post CJ, the gender non-conforming son has an older brother.

  • RomanHans

    I agree with the other commenters that this just doesn’t ring true. Aside from the supposedly accepting parents acting weird when their son wanted to dress as a princess for Halloween, a quick Google search shows that most costume stores don’t make a parent decide if the costume is for a boy or girl. Even the website where this woman shopped — http://www.buycostumes.com/browse/Disney-Princess/Kids-Costumes/_/N-1z141vyZ3l/results1.aspx — has pages of Disney Princess costumes labeled with the word “child” rather than “girl” (and bravo to them for that).

  • kurt_t

    No, the brother has always been older. The point of the “Likes boys” tee shirt post was probably that the older brother was in that “Girls have cooties” phase of life that gender-conforming boys tend to go through, and that’s why the slogan on the shirt appealed to him.

    And all of you people saying this story sounds like a hoax, ask yourselves “If I had never seen her with my own eyes, would I believe in the existence of Honey Boo Boo?”

  • RomanHans

    When I was young, my dad took me to some store that sold surprise gift bags. They had a box for boys, and a box for girls. I identify as male, but I did NOT want a gift bag for boys, because I knew that’d be some lousy sports shit. My dad refused to buy me a girl bag, and when I tore open my boy bag I discovered it was, as I’d suspected, a handheld baseball game.

    All this is to say that it’s a fine line. Kids shouldn’t be tied down to black-and-white female or maleness — but on the other hand, I know the importance of males acting masculine in our society, which means parents should reinforce that behavior without straitjacketing it. In the last edition of this writer’s stories, an adult questioned the boy when he did something stereotypically MALE. And now they’re freaked out when the kid wants to dress feminine on HALLOWEEN? I don’t doubt the existence of the kid — or even the possibility that the parents are indeed trying to be understanding and nurturing — but the stories frequently seem inconsistent, and despite their stated intentions the parents often seem to be the root of the problem. (Really? They’ll let C. J. dress as a girl, but he HAS TO WEAR A WIG?)

  • Shannon1981

    **Sigh* I think this woman doesn’t want her son to want a boy costume because then she’ll have to find another way to get attention. As I’ve said before- THERAPY. ENTIRE FAMILY. LOTS OF IT.

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