Time To Face The Hassle of Halloween

For the first time in my life I’m scared of Halloween. Because I have a little boy who is almost five years old and wants to dress up as either Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Alice from Wonderland, Minnie Mouse, Smurfette or Rapunzel.

“Why don’t we do a male interpretation of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz?” asked my brother, Uncle Uncle. “I could custom-make blue and white gingham lederhosen and we could get red Converse high tops and I’ll completely bedazzle them with red rhinestones.”

“Oh, yeah, that sounds really tame, like it totally would draw less attention to us,” I said sarcastically into the phone before exchanging goodbyes and getting back to the Dance Moms marathon.

Halloween was easier before the kids had an opinion and I got to pick the costumes. Oh yeah, I said it.

Bless his creative heart; my brother was just trying to help. Just like he did last year, when C.J. wanted to be Snow White for Halloween and he helped me get to the bottom of what would make C.J. happy, which was to wear makeup and wear fabric that felt nice. C.J. ended up wearing a black satiny polyester blend skeleton costume with a face full of black and white make-up, including black lipstick that would have impressed the girls and boys working the MAC counter.

Prior to that costume selection, he sat on my lap as we scrolled through BuyCostumes.com’s “Boys Costumes” section. I tricked him into thinking that those were his only options. He obviously caught onto my deceitful ways, because this year he wasn’t having any of my trickery.

One of C.J.'s past carved pumpkins.

Ah, to have a boy who wanted to wear a boy’s costume for Halloween. We could dress up and go trick or treating, easy peasy. Nope, not for us.

If he were an only child, he could get all dolled up in full drag and rock the hell out of All Hallows’ Eve. The church’s Harvest Carnival? Snap! The Community Center’s Trunk or Treat night? Werk! The local Mall’s Pumpkin Party? Fierce!

But, C.J. isn’t an only child. And, while C.J. might not get teased if he wears a “girl’s costume,” his brother will. While other kids may not know that it’s even a boy under all that pageantry, C.J.’s brother would. My heart breaks…for both of my boys.

I tried explaining to C.J.’s brother that Halloween is for dressing up any way you want. Everybody in our house is free to pick the costume of his/her choice.

“Then I pick not to dress up,” C.J.’s brother said matter-of-factly.

“Then you might not get any candy.”

“That’s fine, I’ll stay here and pass out candy and eat it,” he said with a tinge of bitterness and his eyes averting mine.

“Do you really not want to dress up? Because that’s fine. Or, do you not want to be with C.J. if he dresses in a girl costume?”

“It’s C.J.”

Just as I suspected. In a lot of ways, having a gender-creative little brother is forcing C.J.’s brother to make some choices he shouldn’t even have to think about. He’s having to deal with issues that most third graders don’t have to deal with.

Especially on Halloween.

Uncle Uncle on Halloween at C.J.'s age. A few years later he was Miss. Piggy.

To make matters worse, I talked to C.J.’s teacher, Ms. Sensible, about her plans for celebrating Halloween in class. She confirmed my worst suspicions. Students in pre-k wear their costumes to school. Great. Perfect. It’s the first year that C.J. and his brother are at the same school and it’s the first year that C.J. will have the opportunity to wear his Halloween costume to school. We’ve discussed having two costumes. C.J. hates that idea. None of this two-costumes nonsense.

Uncle Uncle and I had another brainstorming session. C.J. could be The Mad Hatter with the long wild hair, big hat, makeup and a fabulous velveteen jacket with ascot. Captain Jack Sparrow with long braids, heavy guyliner, jewelry and peasant top.

“Any other Johnny Depp characters you’d like to throw into the ring?” I asked.

“Edward Scissorhands.”

“I’m not putting blades on his hands. How would he grab the candy?”

I gave C.J. the options of The Mad Hatter, Captain Jack Sparrow, a member of KISS and Adam Lambert.

“No way,” he said wrinkling up his nose.

“What about a male interpretation of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz?”

“What’s an in-temp-ra-ta-tion?”

“Never mind.”


Do you have any costume suggestions that you’d like me to run by C.J.?

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  • fredo777

    Why not just do Edward Scissorhands, but instead of blades, just give him fitted gloves w/ short foam rubber “claws” attached to the back of his hand/fingers that would still allow him to grab things + he could take the gloves off/on for situations where the “claws/scissor hands” weren’t appropriate or allowed. I’d look to Wolverine children’s costumes for ideas on how to do safe blades/claws on his hands.

  • fredo777

    Plus, Edward should be a pretty cheap/easy costume. Just need a black turtleneck, black pants + shoes, a wig, the glove claws + some makeup. You could also wrap some black leather belts around him at different places of the costume, too, for added effect.

  • fredo777

    Or, if you want something that’s male but he wants something that’s shiny + fabulous from the Wiz of Oz, how about a Tin Man costume? With shiny silver face paint + all?

  • joe

    what about an “alien” that is very androgynous with lots of
    make up unisex costume?

  • Jeff

    Laura Croft (Tomb Raider) without the breasts is basically just a generic Adventurer costume, maybe he could get behind that.

    OR, how about a Kabuki actor? Heavy face paint, a kimono-esque robe…could work.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    I get the impression he wants to go as something “pretty”, so I doubt something as ugly as Jack Sparrow would work. Howabout Prince Charming?

    Or if he decides to go as something female, howabout the Wicked Witch? Lots of great make-up opportunities there. I don’t think he, or his brother would get as much grief going as the WWotW, than if he went as Dorothy.

  • I won't grow up

    How about Peter Pan, afterall thats a boy that has been always portrayed by a woman. If he reaally insists on the make up and wig how about Boy George?

  • parker

    Perhaps he would agree to be a wizard with a long robe (it’s like a dress) with glittery stars and moons on it and a pointy hat and a wand. He could even have a long hair wig.

  • It's Halloween

    Seriously, just let C.J go in a girl costume if he wants. Cross-dressing is the norm on Halloween; straight boys do it all the time. I highly doubt anyone will bother C.J about it, much less C.J’s brother.

  • xander

    How about getting dressed up as a cat? Cats are “pretty,” it’s a gender-neutral costume and not too spendy! I do like the wicked witch idea, as well?

    I was mildly traumatised by having to wear a pumpkin costume two years running. Uggggh.

  • mk

    I don’t think these suggestions are going to fly: CJ’s choices are all really consistent and traditionally feminine and pretty — short dresses, big flowing hair, aprons/ribbons, a fondness for polka dots or gingham — and giant flashy shoes!

    Surely some creative drag queens out there can think of an option!!

    A polka dot clown with lipstick, fabulous big shoes, and a giant bow, and of course, big hair…?

    I feel bad suggesting the above, still, like we are all trying to help your sweet creative child become gender conforming.

    The problem is the bullies, not either of your children.

  • fredo777

    @mk: Yeah, but he actually suggested Edward Scissorhands himself.

    What about Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka? He had a fancy suit + top hat, and wore a wig.

  • KEW

    Hey CJ’s Mom,

    When I was CJ’s brother’s age, I went as a female clown,full face makeup,fright wig,I think a funny hat, gigantic balloon tatas and a picnic basket over my butt to create a huge ass under a skirt!I wore white gloves and made extensions over my tennis shoes to make huge shoes to type. I was a hit!!! I acted campy and people thought it was funny!
    Everybody loves a laugh and forgets to think about it.

  • drewportland

    Cupid or a cherub–plenty of options for curly wigs,makeup,wings and a potential weapon with the bow-

  • Or....

    If you want creepy halloween yet still pretty and somewhat flamboyant, how about Lon Chaney’s red masked ball costume from the silent Phantom of the Opera? Sheesh. Even as a young little one, I wanted to work that outfit. Just Google it if you’re not familiar. It does require a mask, but I think you could paint it on his face should he put his foot down about using up his coupons at the MAC counter. http://www.costumeconsultant.com/html/xphantomhistory.htm

  • Mav

    I’m probably going to get mobbed for saying this, but sometimes I think your other son’s reactions to CJ are more about him taking second-string constantly to CJ’s “issues” than they are about his discomfort with CJ’s clothing choices. I don’t know if your son really does feel jealous of CJ for that reason because I don’t live in your house, so I can’t see how you treat both of them, but you come across as very CJ-centric, and I just hope your concern for him doesn’t translate into favoritism, subconsciously or not.

    Your other son better get used to defending his “fairy” brother though, because as he gets older it’s going to get harder (not easier) if CJ does continue to be a gender non-conformist or even comes out as transgendered/transsexual.

  • kj

    How about a lion. There are some amazing makeup videos on YouTube on how to make the face look like a lion and u can get a wig and tease the crap out of it to give him big sexy hair but it can be his “lion mane” and then some yellow clothing of any kind would work. Add a tail and you are good to go. He can have everything he wants.

  • Thrutch

    @Mav: Nah, I agree with what your saying.

    Halloween is a time for everybody to become something different and CJ’s brother is and will continue to struggle to be unique in the face of CJ’s gender nonconformity. It might be worthwhile having Cj’s brothers friends and their parents take him out or have CJ go trick or treating with uncle uncle. Let them both have night to be apart but still celebrating the holiday.

    The school thing is tricky but for costumes how about some classics that are still unique, go twofaced one side angel the other side the devil. A creature with balck hair and black bat wings. Theres also the classic go as an animal. Cat, Dog, Bird, ghost.

  • femonanon

    I say go as Lady Gaga.

  • JoshWah

    It’s tough being an older brother. I was embarrassed of my little brother for a long time. I would even go on to say that 80% of the time it wasn’t even about him. He’s my best friend now. Admittedly the roles are reversed in that I am the effeminate one.
    I think that supporting both of your children is important. Maybe C.J. would be willing to do matching costumes with his brother and support his older brother?

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