A dance teacher reported that one of her four-year-olds came to the class Halloween party dressed as a Self-Rescuing Princess. She wore a cape “so I can fly away from any trouble I meet on my own.” Yes, parents of Little Self-Rescuing Princess take a bow. You’ve just won the Gloria Steinem Award.Halloween-1983

In the Dennis the Menace comic strip today, one scissor-happy kid converted his ghost costume into a slice of Swiss cheese.

The best Halloween costumes are the ones that reveal rather than conceal. They blow you away with their ingenuity and their mindfulness. Some kids know even at the age of four who they are. My daughter was that way.

In July, lying by the pool, my daughter would say, “I’m going to be a frog for Halloween.” I told her that was nice, but did not leap to forage for green fabric and instructions on how to make webbed feet.

In August, my daughter would say, “This Halloween I’m going to be a clown.” Don’t make me laugh, I reply. The mother sitting next to me at the PTA orientation meeting even offered me a tip: McCall’s has the cutest little clown costume in the pattern book. I looked at the woman as if she had just sprouted a large red nose and size 15 feet.

In September, my daughter would say, “This Halloween I’m going to be a monster.” What exactly does a monster look like? I ask. My daughter says she doesn’t know.

In early October, after eyeing her sister’s wicked witch costume, my daughter would say, “This Halloween I’m going to be a witch.” Are we talking the good kind or the green kind? I ask.

Finally, the week before Halloween, we get down to the truth. “This Halloween,” my daughter says, “I’m going to be a princess.” I pretend to be shocked. Are you sure? I ask.

She would nod. “I have the heart of a princess.”

And she was right. Nearly EVERY year we whittled down the costumes and always ended up with something pink and princessy. Even the year she was getting over the chicken pox, I slathered white makeup over her spotted face and she went as a ghost princess.

My daughter is in her thirties now, and she sleeps in a pink bedroom. She still likes sparkles and to sparkle. And she thinks all women should be treated like royalty and all men should be gallant princes.

So if the Self-Rescuing Princess comes to your door, give her an extra treat. And if, heaven forbid, a Prince shows up wielding manners and chivalry like a sword—a kid who thinks he doesn’t have to conquer everything—give him the whole bowl of candy.


Want more Halloween fun? Check out Why I spend Halloween in the basement.