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Crafting a Halloween Costume My Daughter and I Are Both Proud Of

Oct 31, 2017

There are grown-ups who put genius-level thought into Halloween costumes. Come October, crafty concepts are brought to life with theatrics that rival small budget productions. Then there’s me. Every few years, I put minimal effort into a last-minute costume sufficient for work socials.

Horrifying to some, I know.

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The gore, the masks, the horror films — I’m just not into it. But this year a personal trainer friend of mine is holding a Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling party — now that I’m into! I liked the strong, sporty spin on the gruesome occasion. And so began my first earnest foray into Halloween costume creation...

Wonder Woman was an obvious choice. Too obvious.

Army sergeant; too done.

Cheerleader. Ugh — too boring.

I don’t know what she pictured, but I was thinking less Queen Elsa, more African monarch.

Trending characters from It and Stranger Things weren’t even on my radar. Remember, I’m more of a G.L.O.W. kind-of-girl.

I thought about breaking from character with a sultry or cheeky costume. Then I thought of cliché French maid outfits, sexualized cartoon heroines, and explaining my choice to my eight-year-old daughter.

Thinking out loud, I suggested a queen. “Yes, a queen!” my princess-loving girl beamed in delight.

I don’t know what she pictured, but I was thinking less Queen Elsa, more African monarch. I started referencing images of traditional queens, until a separate search yielded a newspaper article with costume considerations for parents.

I was stuck on mimicking icons and archetypes when in fact, this was a perfect opportunity to defy trends, manufactured images, and even reality.

Apparently, a Quebec school sent parents a notice outlining policies and suggestions of costume dos and don’ts. Cultural dress, among other politically incorrect choices, is not an appropriate costume. Fair enough. Regardless of being black myself, I decided to take another approach. It was the sentiment that followed — one word, actually — that shifted my thinking: imagination.

The writer criticized our overall lack of imagination. I realized that for whatever reason, I found it hard to let go and give way to fantasy. Confined by Capricornian-practicality perhaps, I didn’t think about dressing up as a rainbow or make-believe fairy princess like my daughter so naturally had.

I was stuck on mimicking icons and archetypes when in fact, this was a perfect opportunity to defy trends, manufactured images, and even reality. So, I’ve permitted myself to be abstract, nonsensical, and insolvable for a night.

I can’t wait to let loose in the thrift store. I’m picturing layers of shimmery fabric, jewels, maybe feathers, and outrageous adornments that can’t be explained. For frame of reference, think African-inspired with a whisper of Tim Burton and hint of Karl Lagerfeld.

It’s still just a vision but my daughter loves the idea. Now she wants me, not daddy, to go trick-or-treating with her. The honour!

Incidentally, the G.L.O.W. party plan has changed to a traditional Halloween soiree so, the original sporty wrestling spin no longer stands. This frees me up to wear a tighter, taller or grander outfit!

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How (and when) it all comes together remains to be seen. Though one thing’s for sure: I’m making my costume warm enough to withstand what’s sure to be a nippy Halloween evening trick-or-treating with my daughter. What can I say? A little practicality still haunts me.

And no, my daughter doesn’t want to be a princess. She wants to be a blue three-eyed monster.

Article Author Debbie King
Debbie King

Read more from Debbie here.

Debbie King (aka SUPAFITMAMA) is a Toronto-based masters athlete, influencer, freelance writer, wife and mother of one. At age 42, she is training toward her goal of becoming a 2020 World Masters Athletics track and field champion. In her work as a writer and influencer, Debbie creates powerful content and connections in female fitness, sport, wellness and culture. Body positivity, inclusion and representation are strong themes throughout. As a regular contributor for CBC Parents, she explores a range of healthy living topics for individuals and Canadian families. Follow her journey at and on Instagram and Twitter.

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