The inflatable dinosaur and Cyclops eye continue to adorn our front yard days after Halloween, Mowgli’s favorite holiday. Blue Boy has taunted Mowgli for keeping them up for so long. I am proud to say that Mowgli ignored him.
Halloween is remarkable in central Arizona for its mild weather, allowing people to be outside without coats. It marks the coming of fall and the many months of fabulous weather that is our reward for tolerating the heat of summer. We place chairs and table in the street, greeting the neighbors after months of sequestering.
Even at 14, Mowgli planned his costume weeks ahead. I didn’t witness the full dress, as he and his friends disappeared early in the evening of the big day. For them, the fun is not in begging for candy but in the fantasy of an alter ego as they walk the streets with friends.
I never understood people who discouraged teenagers on Halloween. I love greeting the neighbor kids of all ages who must acknowledge your presence to reap the reward. Better begging for candy than buying drugs.
From boys dressing as girls to girls assuming princess garb to adults wearing ugly masks, growing children test personae and practice characteristics they don’t possess. Adults use these skills continuously. One may argue that adults don’t don costumes to act out fantasies, but how many of us wear clothes to fit the expectations rather than what is comfortable for us? Act professional at work when we want to stick out our tongue? Pretend to have fun when we would rather take a nap?
Let the kids wear their costumes. The boy who dresses as a girl, the girl as a princess, the teen as a monster may develop an understanding of others as they adopt the mannerisms and experience the social responses of the costume. They may also discover their feminine side, their value, and their anxieties.