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A few days ago, a friend remarked on Facebook that he recently attended his child’s pre-school Halloween party, and one of the three-year-old boys was dressed as Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen, even wearing high-heels. My friend declared it “the ballsiest thing I’ve seen in a long while,” and complimented the kid and his parents for their bravery.

Witch, 1974

Witch, 1974

I could not help but think how sad it is that a three-year-old’s selection of a Halloween costume would be judged as ballsy or anything else. But in today’s polarizing culture, where every action is viewed as some kind of a political statement, a little boy dressed as Elsa probably is pretty bold. I know I would be a little nervous, as a parent, about what the other kids would say. Hopefully, everyone at the party was nice, and Elsa got lots of candy.

When I was three years old, I decided to be a witch for Halloween. My parents agreed and I went door-to-door with a pointed hat, blond wig, black sheet and an old broom. I don’t remember any of our neighbors making a big deal about it. Some of them might have thought I was a little girl. If my parents were embarrassed or worried about it, they never let on. It was simpler back in the early 1970s. Adults didn’t seem to fret about what kids dressed up as for Halloween, or anything else they did, for that matter. Today, we seem to be much more wrapped up in our children’s lives, as this recent Halloween story colorfully illustrates.

Ghost, 1973

Ghost, 1973

Anyway, I was lucky to have parents who let me be who I wanted to be for Halloween. I’m also fortunate to have had a mom who enjoyed creating my costume most years. I’ve included photos of some of the early ones. My “Jack O’ Lantern/Scarecrow” outfit actually won a contest back in the second grade!

My son is only four years old, but I’m pretty impressed so far with his originality when it comes to selecting Halloween costumes.

Jack o' Lantern, 1978

Jack o’ Lantern, 1978

While many of his peers will dress up as Marvel superheroes or Disney princesses, my son wants to be a dinosaur. Specifically, he wants to be a Pteranodon. (If you aren’t up-to-date on your dinosaur names, a Pteranodon is a winged creature very similar to the more famous pterodactyl. In fact, I don’t know the difference between the two.) We ordered the costume off Amazon, and it seems to fit him pretty well. He can’t wait to spook his neighbors, and also educate them a little bit about paleontology.

Last year, my son went as a ghost, and that was a big success. We couldn’t find any toddler-sized ghost costumes, so my wife cut up a couple of pillowcases and layered his face with white and black makeup. He had great fun running through the neighborhood, a little white blur wearing silver and green tennis shoes. “I’m a ghost! I’m a ghost!” he shouted repeatedly.

Devil, 1976

Devil, 1976

I suspect that my son watches just as many movies and TV shows as any other kid his age. I’m a little surprised he doesn’t want to go trick-or-treating as a Power Ranger or a Minion or even one of the ponies from My Little Pony (still one of his favorite shows). I am sure the day is coming when he will fall into rank with what everyone else wants to be, but I hope not. Peer pressure is a powerful thing. It takes a lot of nerve, or even some balls, to be different in this day and age.

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