Oh, Halloween, how I hate thee.  I can trace my disdain for the holiday back to my own youth.  My (wonderful) mother (whom I adore) was not much of a planner or a seamstress.  As a result, I never had particularly good costumes.  It was not unusual to, at the last-minute, unearth a sheet (not even a white one!) hastily cut out eyes and be pushed out the door.  It didn’t help that my (warm, loving) father despised the tradition and would mutter about “beggars coming to his door” until he eventually declared that no one over five feet was allowed to get candy from us.  As the years progressed he and my mother would go out for the evening, leaving the house dark.  On more than one occasion he came home to an egged or TP’d crib.   Oh, memories.

Fast forward to my own children and the angst of Halloween.  I vividly recall October 30, 1998.  Harrison was almost four and totally got it.  I was working full-time and had been putting off going to the store to buy something unbearably cute for him to wear for the preschool parade. Suddenly I was panicked and decided that lunch would be a good time to go to the local iParty (yeah, the one with police directing traffic into and out of the parking lot) to pick out a costume.  My naiveté got the better of me in that I actually thought there would be something left to choose from.  Imagine my heartbreak when I discovered that there were basically no costumes left, save the cowboy or the creepy clown.  Since he was a boy, I naturally grabbed the cowboy, threw in whatever toy gun I could get my hands on and stood on-line for a good half an hour to make the purchase.  I wish I could say that in subsequent years I planned further ahead, but, alas, I did not.  It never presented a problem as there was always a “boy appropriate” something that could be thrown together: Superman (complete with a six packed chest), Spiderman (at an age when wearing red tights was still okay) and the old standby cowboy get-up.

By the time George (n.c.i.*) came along, I had become fairly adept at pulling together a costume and, in my infinite wisdom, was actually ahead of the game having saved all of Harrison’s from years gone by.  It was all cool until George was three.  No longer content to be sausaged into one of the super hero costumes at his disposal , he declared that he wanted to be a fairy.  Or a princess.  Or a fairy princess.  Or Belle (from “Beauty and the Beast”).  Okay, that’s cool.  So, a fairy (or princess or Belle) it would be.

Now this is not so out of the ordinary as I happened (through the powers of Facebook) to have seen at least three of my friend’s little boys dressed as princesses this past Halloween.  And none of them, to the best of my knowledge, have (or intend to) identify as transgender.  But when George did it, there was something different – a pure, unadulterated joy – and a deep desire, in his mind, for every day to be Halloween.  So, on we went and you all know where we’ve landed.

Since having transitioned to Jessie she has pretty much grown out of her princess phase, but I fully anticipated a female-based presentation this year.  It would only stand to reason, right?  Wrong.  No, this year, after batting around a few different options (one of which was a witch – hmmm…dark, scary female, but decidedly female) she opted to make her own costume.  With a few trips to AC Moore and WalMart she was able to create something way cooler than anything I would have bought (yesterday).

The burning question among you, faithful readers, is probably: “so…how did Jessie celebrate her first Halloween?!!?”  (A fair question, for sure.)  Hint: she wasn’t a fairy, or a princesses, or a cocktail waitresses (seriously, have you seen some of the outfits they are marketing to kids now???)  No, this year, Jessie was a tiger.  An adorable, genderless tiger.  Now, I am no expert, but methinks that has to mean something.  Anyone?

*name choice intended

22 thoughts on “Halloween

  1. Wait, I do have a speech. Maybe not that she is free to be whatever the f*** she wants, she doesn’t have the pressure to have to be a gender? I mean, it is Halloween, after all. BTW, I HATE Halloween too!! Was very happy to see November this morning.

  2. Great costume, Jessie! My 7 siblings and I were always bums for Halloween. Take one of Dad’s shirts, burn an old wine cork to make “dirt” for our clothes and faces and there you have it. A bum. (It didn’t occur to me until I became a mother why there were always plenty of wine corks available.) I love the Halloween “season” but despise trick or treating. Luckily, a few years ago my daughter became best friends with a kid whose Mom is more than happy to take my little munchkins trick or treating along with hers. Score!

  3. One parenting tip to pass on to any new parent is to AVOID Halloween however you can…unless, of course, they are the really obnoxious type of parent who actually wants to go knock on doors with their child. Fun…not, sorry! I will never do it again.

    Even worse than strolling for the candy fix out on busy streets is the idea of being ‘sausaged’ into any kind of superhero suit. Jesus. That’s just big time bad on every level. Awful, really. To make the whole scenario even worse, my son’s birthday is the day BEFORE Halloween, so it always turns into something I never really wanted, or sanctioned.

    Halloween sucks basically…whether transgendered, or not.

    • Yep…and as for the birthday issue: not to be competitive, but my kids’ birthdays are exactly two weeks apart and invariably butt up against both Thanksgiving and, even worse, Hanukkah…

  4. I think now that she is who she is, there is no need to DRESS up in a gender specific costume. No intention or message behind this other than just dressing up. And have a lion’s share of bravery all year long. 🙂 Happy Halloween….we have enough love of this holiday in our house for all of you.

    ~~ 40 something year old Raggedy Ann 😀

  5. Since a young child,I have always loved costumes..and unique ones at that.I think there should be “costume day” 4 times a year.Perhaps that would give some of us an outlet for our creativity.We don’t need the commercial version of today’s Halloween to play .Both Jessie and myself would be happy in that genderless tiger suit on say New Years Eve..Keep up the good work and enjoy your adventure! Oh,and I was “Chris Kardashian” this year for the contest circuit. I wore a very Kardashian short blue dress that barely covered my gartered electric blue stocking tops while standing atop my best F… Me heels.Complete with a yellow sash with the words “common whore” around it. Like you Julie,I enjoy seeing what the mags at the grocery store checkout line have to offer..lol People enjoyed seeing mother Kardashian out and about!

  6. This was H’s first Halloween since her transition. It was also the first year she didn’t dress up just as a “girl”. Most years she wore a wig, over the top makeup and skirt or dress and girls shoes. While her costume this year still incuded a dress, the makeup was in the form of a skeleton face – the costume was a Voodoo Priestess. Like Laurie said, I think since H now not only IS a girl but can present AS a girl, she was free to “pretend” to be whatever she wanted for Halloween instead of using Halloween as the one day to “be” who she really is. (I will also admit, I love Halloween…I love seeing my kids dressed up, love seeing all the neighborhood kids and strangers dressed up and checking out all the creativity. I love putting on my kids makeup and get a little depressed when they chose a store bought costume over using their own creativity and what we have hanging around to “create” their own – Go Jessie for doing it her way!)

    • You are likely onto something. There was no discussion about the costume at all – merely her awesome creativity. She did the entire costume herself, including her own makeup.

  7. I care more about not being gendered as male then anything else. Everyone else seems to have said it, but maybe this is the first time gender doesn’t matter and Jessie is free to be herself? Isn’t that the point of all this? 🙂

  8. Thank you for writing, for sharing your experience, and for your honesty. Your work has lessened our anxieties and stiffened our spines as parents. Our oldest child’s experience in kindergarden this year was always going to be a challenge – trading jeans in finally for dresses. Thanks to Jessie’s positive example, the struggle has diffused outward into the school, the community, into the open, rather than remaining compressed, turned inward against our five-year-old’s heart.

    All the best from Norwood.

  9. A tiger! Wow: the power, the gracefulness, the whole ‘don’t screw with me’ attitude that you think of when you see a tiger – a very, very cool choice of costume!
    And she put it all together herself? Fabulous. You have a very clever girl. I hope she thoroughly enjoyed the whole Halloween experience!

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