It's officially October and if your kids are anything like mine they are buzzing about what they’re going to be for Halloween. I try to be open with my kids and let them be who they want to be, despite how I may feel about the costume (and as long as it's appropriate) . Which means that my son has been a number of Star Wars characters over the last few years and my daughter has been a Disney princess more than once. I know, it’s one of darker my confessions.
But this year she has declared without wavering that she wants to be Lava Girl. Shark boy and Lava Girl is one of my kid’s favorite movies, and Lava Girl is a fabulous young heroine worthy of any girl’s admiration. The only problem is, Lava Girl costumes are nowhere to be found. Unless of course I’m willing to spend $150 on Etsy or EBay for it. So this means for the first time, I will be attempting to make a homemade costume. Lord help us all.
But this got me thinking about how hard it is to find good inspiring costumes for young girls that are outside of the princess Disney realm or even worse, outside the young and sexy realm. Melissa Wardy from one of our favorite websites, Pigtail Pals - Redefining Girly, wrote a post about just how bad some of these young and sexy costumes have gotten. In her post Melissa explains about costumes that fit the "French maid costume equation" and the youth costumes that carry the culturally coded wardrobe components that are just too sexy for young girls: fishnets, lace up bodices, bustiers, high heeled knee-high boots, knee socks and bare upper thighs, booty shorts, etc."
I decided it was time to come up with a list of better alternatives for Halloween costumes. Costumes that are not just fun for the girls, but that would inspire them beyond just Halloween.
- Look at Her Dream Careers– Go with your daughter’s favorite hobby or better yet, ask her what she wants to be when she grows up. Take the opportunity to talk about all the many different career choices out there for her. A vet, pilot, doctor, astronaut, explorer, president, zoologist, chemist, scientist, etc. are all costumes you can easily put together. Or have your daughter choose her favorite SheHero. Maybe try some khakis and a wrap around monkey and you'll have Bindy Irwin or Jane Goodall. Supreme Court Justices could also be a great and easy costume for your SheHero. Look around at all the amazing jobs that are out there and you'll find plenty of costume ideas that will inspire any SheHero young or old.
- Lava Girl – OK, so I already mentioned this but had to include it in the list. Searching through movies outside the princess genre that may be a few years old, like this one, is a GREAT source for Halloween costume ideas that you will love. Lava Girl’s strength, courage, power and desire to help the world are all great qualities to have your little one emulate. Despite you may have to work to make the costume yourself.
- Anne Shirley – Anne of Green Gables is just one of a dozen great literary characters that may inspire your daughter if introduced to her now. Anne’s simple clothes will also make it easy to adapt many different costumes to be Anne.
- Hermione Grainger or Ginny Weasley – Two great strong characters whose costumes are readily available at anywhere from target to the local Halloween store. Who doesn’t want to be the smartest witch of her generation for Halloween?
- Princess Lea or Princess Amedala from Star Wars – Yes, I know these are princesses but not your everyday run of the mill princesses. If your daughter loves Star Wars, embrace it and let her go old school. I also highly recommend allowing her to be a regular Jedi if she chooses as well. After all, we all agree there is always room for more female Jedi knights, right?
- Superhero – Granted there are not a whole lot to choose from, but you can always encourage your daughter to visit the Superhero section instead of the princess section. Batgirl, Supergirl, Wonder Women, Storm and a small handful of others are readily available. You can also make up your own Superhero and have your daughter come up with her own Superhero identity.
- Pirate – My personal preference here is Elisabeth Swann from Pirates of the Caribbean, but any cool strong Pirate girl costume will do as well. You can also dip into history and say your pirate girl is actually Anne Bonny or Mary Reade; two very real tough talking swashbuckling female pirates from history.
- Take a Page out of History – Visit any number of websites or grab a book about awesome females in history and you’ll find a pool of awesome heroines to choose from! Lydia Litvyak and Katya Budanova were two Russian fighter pilots; the ONLY female fighter pilots during World War II who helped fight the Nazi’s. Or how about Lozen, a Native American who was the sister of an Apache chief, who fought alongside Geronimo. Maid Marion, in her toughest arrow shooting incarnation, or maybe Joan of Arc. There are thousands of others out there…
- Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc. – These books/movies have fairly easy to find costumes and a handful of female characters to choose from. But you don’t have to stop there, peruse your entire book and movie collection to find other ideas (The Neverending Story, Goonies, Matilda, Quest for Camelot, Nim’s Island and Shrek are all movies in my collection that all have female characters you can base a costume on.)
Take advantage of the opportunity that Halloween provides to inspire your SheHero on the amazing careers that are out there for her to choose to be for real, not just on Halloween. It's also the chance to educate her on some of the amazing SheHeroes from history.
Show you're SheHero she doesn't have to wear short skirts and fishnets to be awesome this Halloween.