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