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Every year, the National Retail Federation conducts a survey to determine the most popular Halloween costumes. After an eleven-year reign, ‘princess’ has been dethroned — by superheroes.
According to the survey “More than three million children will dress as their favorite action or superhero, 2.9 million will dress as their favorite princess and 2.5 million plan to dress as a cat, dog, bunny or other animal.”
“Princesses don’t do a whole lot, their stories can only be reworked in so many ways. Girls have always loved adventure and being the heroine,” according to Melissa Atkins Wardy, author of Redefining Girly. “Girls have not changed. Instead marketers have gained a better understanding of who girls are and are no longer feeding them a gendered narrative.”
Wardy isn’t the only person who has noticed marketers are feeding girls a ‘gendered narrative.’ “I resent that the Disney Corporation has had such a far-reaching and lasting impact on children all over the world, redefining ‘girl’ as ‘princess,’ ” says Lori day, author of Her Next Chapter. “Girlhood has been branded. Perhaps finally the pendulum is swinging back.”
“It’s great to see this kind of change happening, but it didn’t happen overnight,” said Michele Sinisgalli-Yulo creator of the Princess Free Zone blog and brand. “Many voices have contributed to changing how companies exploit gender when marketing to children, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
As Wardy puts it, “There are many ways to be a girl. We’ve done princess to death, now girls want to show us other facets of their personalities.”
Especially if that facet wears a cape.
Most Popular Children’s Costumes
- Animal (Cat, Dog, Lion, Monkey, etc.)
- Batman Character
- Star Wars Character
- Tie: Witch AND DC Superhero (excl. Batman)
- Frozen Character (Anna, Elsa, Olaf)
- Marvel Superhero (excl. Spiderman)
Leng and Melinda Lai are parents raising two little girls, Audrey and Chloe. Since 2010, instead of making one Halloween costume for each of the girls each year, the Lais make 31.
I started The 31 Days of Halloween because I thought it would be fun. We usually throw together the costumes and scenes from things we find around the house. Very rarely do we buy anything, and if we do it’s pieces that can be used for multiple ideas, like the knight helmet and armor. We have a costume box the girls play with a lot, and that’s where the firefighter and dragon and other costumes live year round.
Melinda is also quick to point out that the costumes often are more inspiration than persperation.
A few of the costumes are planned out, but often inspiration will strike and we’ll just grab stuff and take a picture. For Silence of the Lambs, Leng drew the moth and cut it out. Most of the costumes are only good for the photograph and aren’t something that the girls could actually play in, but we like to keep it less stressful.
And the Lais are well aware that many of the costumes involve cultural references that the girls don’t (and shouldn’t) understand.
Some of the pictures are not really kid-appropriate and that we anticipate some interesting conversations as the girls get older. We also hope that they will look back on the pictures with fun memories.
Here are the first 26 27 costumes of 2015. We will update this page as more are revealed.
Heroic Girls hit StocktonCon this weekend, and found some awesome cosplaying women and girls! Together with ace photographer Anya Rose, we documented the trip!
Our good friends over at Wear Your Superheroes are having their first ever Halloween costume contest and everyone can (and should) enter! From their website:
We are pleased to announce the 2014 Wear Your Superheroes Halloween Costume Contest, which we hope will be the first of many!
To participate, simply post a picture of yourself (or your child) in your superhero-themed costume to the Wear Your Superheroes Facebook page, along with the hashtag #WYSCostumeContest in the description, between Friday, October 31 and Friday, November 7, 2014.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, there will be prizes!
- The “People’s Choice” prize, a $50 code for merchandise at Zazzle.com, will go to the person whose photo receives the most Likes between October 31 and November 7.
- The “Best Children’s Costume” prize, a free Super Blanky™ from SuperBlanky.com, will be awarded for the child’s costume (for a child 12 or under) that we select for being the most creative and well executed.
- In addition, we will be giving away three gift certificate prizes to the top entries in our “Best Local Costume” category, which is for people in the Greater Cincinnati area. Anyone who wants to participate in the local contest should also use the hashtag #WYSCincy and must be a resident of Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana. The first-place winner will receive a $25 gift certificate for Arcadian Comics & Games in Newport, KY, and the second- and third-place winners will each receive a $10 gift certificate for Arcadian.
Girls, come on. Leave the saving of the world to the men? I don’t think so.
–Elastigirl. The Incredibles
Are you a heroic girl?
Halloween is coming up, and we want to show the world that girls can be superheroes, too. Whether you cosplay every weekend or once a year for Halloween, whether you are eight or 80, we want to see your heroic side. Share your heroic costumes on Twitter or Tumblr with the hashtag #iamaheroicgirl, or post them to our Facebook page. We will post the best ones on the Heroic Girls website.
Heroic Girls believes that there is nothing wrong with being cute, but that girls deserve more than just “cute.” They deserve the opportunity to be tough; to be smart; to fight for what they believe in.
They deserve the chance to be heroes.
Heroic Girls is an organization dedicated to empowering girls by advocating for strong role models in alternative media — particularly comics.