As a kid, I loved dressing up. My mom, a master seamstress and creator, would collaborate with me to create all kinds of Halloween costumes. Among my favorites were a robot, a mad scientist, and a pirate. (And when my brother and I got too old to trick-or-treat, my family developed a tradition of dinner and a movie on Halloween, which was actually even more fun than trick-or-treating.)
Halloween is special for a lot of queer kids because it's the one day a year where it's "okay" to be in drag--where no one looks askance at a lady in a tie or a guy in a dress. Little Sally wants to be a construction worker with a hard hat and mustache? Great! Little Suzy wants to wear her dad's tie in front of all the neighbors? Fine! And let's give her some candy, too!
I wasn't consciously "trying out" different forms of masculinity when I donned a costume, but I do know that most of the costumes I chose were more masculine than not. (In fact, once, in third grade, we were allowed to dress up as any character we wanted from any book we'd read. I scanned book after book until I found one that contained a tie-wearing man, just so I could wear a tie to school.) It's not as if my parents made me wear dresses every day, but the fact that I could be openly masculine in costume was kind of thrilling. Thinking back on my costumes, there was a definite pattern.
Wondering if other butches experienced something similar as kids, I asked BW Facebook page fans last week what their favorite Halloween costumes had been. Yep, there was a pattern, all right. (Where, oh where, were you all when I was growing up? We would have been best buds!) Here were some of the responses I got, along with a few amazing pictures.
I can't tell you how happy these make me (especially the pictures... SO cute!), in part because they make me remember how much fun it was to dress up in costume, and in part because they remind me that when we grow up, lots of us find ways to become ourselves that don't require us to wait for Halloween to come around every year. Tomorrow night, I will be giving out Nerds, Junior Mints, and Skittles to hoardes of little ghosts, goblins, baseball players, and Disney princesses. And if I see a little boy dressed up as Elsa, or a little girl wearing one of her father's neckties, you'd better believe they're getting an extra big smile from this former pirate.
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