As a second child unable to yet voice his preferences, Damien re-used Aiden’s dragon costume from when he was little for this past Hallowe’en. It’s a great costume I was happy to see again. Aiden, on the other hand, was Captain America. It was pretty darn adorable, even if I’m torn on the whole superhero thing.
Here’s the deal. Prior to Hallowe’en, Aiden was unsure of what he wanted to be. The same thing happened last year and he kept changing his mind depending on what he saw in pictures or stores – one minute he wanted to be an engineer, the next he’d changed his mind. In the end, he chose to be Dr. Aiden, and he loved it. The costume still resides in our dress-up bin, so it ended up being a good choice.
This past year, Aiden was again unsure of what he wanted to be. He tossed around the idea of being a robot again, but I knew those costumes could be hard to come by. There are many of the “puffy” variety, but I didn’t think he’d want a puffy suit. Apparently Ianiv was willing to make one with electronic components, but he didn’t clue me in on that.
So, a couple of months before Hallowe’en, when we were in the Disney store, Aiden came across their costumes and at first wanted to be Iron Man. I’m a little wary of the whole commercialized superhero stuff out there for boys, although admittedly Aiden has a few clothing items that feature Spider-Man. I think superhero shows generally encourage more violent play than is necessary for a 4 year old, so we’ve avoided it altogether. Still, he’s obsessed with Spider-Man and Iron-Man… because his friends are. Peer influence begins young.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to face my discomfort with Iron-Man – he didn’t like the helmet. He didn’t notice the Spider-Man costume, but I was able to suggest Captain America as a costume that I was ok with. Really, I know nothing about Captain America, I just saw a BLUE costume with an A on it that looked harmless, and figured it combined Aiden’s favourite colour with the A in his name. To avoid weeks of costume changes, we bought it.
I feel like I may have pushed Aiden to choose a costume that day so we didn’t have to go through weeks of mind changes. I think we could have swayed him to the robot, but I dreaded the idea of making it myself or scouring stores to find a nice one (and didn’t know Ianiv was on board). I feel like he’s going to have years of superhero play in front of him and I wanted to keep him younger longer, so I regret choosing this costume (even if it was cute).
I feel like boys don’t have a chance to be as creative anymore and that they really are pigeon-holed into certain themes for toys and for costumes in particular. Gone are the days of ghosts and homemade costumes in favour of superheroes and pirates. I don’t want him to be one of 5 Spider-Men in his class next year, I want him to think outside the box.
Obviously my issue with Super Heroes goes beyond just Hallowe’en and speaks more to the way boys are stereotyped by our culture today. This needs more thought.