Is your tween “too old” for Halloween?
Interest in Halloween for most kids peaks at age 10-12, after which they pull away from trick or treating with family in favour of being with and/or scaring their friends. Even if your tween or teen shows no interest in dressing up, they may still enjoy the spectacle at school and being outside on Halloween night.
Teen boys may ask to trick or treat well beyond age 12 because they want the candy and their parents might give them some sleep-in-slack after the BIG event. Older boys who ask for a Halloween costume mostly mean, “Mom, can you buy me a scary mask and a weapon?” One of my largest suppliers stated that the three top asked for masks at Halloween continue to be Jason, Freddy and Michael Myers – all horror films from the ’80s.
Since many schools now have a no-mask no-weapon rule, tween boys may ask about being a zombie because it’s still scary, but acceptable at school. Older teens might go to school in a superhero tee or a Dr Who scarf and Fez.
Girls’ interest in Halloween goes much longer because of the opportunity for self-expression and, at the door, parents are less likely to hassle them about why they are trick or treating at age 16. Younger teen girls may want Halloween costumes such as a classic ghost, an elegant Cleopatra or ask for scary-pretty like Monster High.
Older girls frequently like group costumes based on a favourite childhood memory like My Little Ponies or they may simply opt to wear headbands from a Dr Seuss character.
Halloween is a favourite time for Goth teens. Since skull images and studding has gone main stream in fashion, Fee Fi Fo Fun Costumes has invested in leggings, hair pieces and jewellery with eyeball image as the hot item for 2013.
The biggest change, however, since my kids were teenagers is called costume play or “cosplay”, a Japanese phenomenon where fans of manga, anime and gaming wear costumes of their favourite characters. For us old guys think Sailor Moon, Pokémon or anything from your days playing Nintendo.
Once cosplay hit the population, disposable income and mass media of North American youth, it exploded into fandoms for gaming, film, literature and television adding genres like fantasy, horror, sci-fi, comic books, steampunk, lolita and the list keeps growing.
The difference from regular dress-up is that cosplay is performance and art. Although there are some ready-made costumes and accessories, a key part is that cosplayers design and make much of their own costumes.
What does this mean for parents with tweens or teens at Halloween? Essentially that there are thousands more costumes that can be worn not only around Halloween, but for every convention like Anime North, Comic Con and FanExpo. So be prepared in the next week for your son or daughter to lob out a request for a character you’ve never heard of like Attack on Titan, Adventure Time, Minecraft, or Homestuck. Call me 😉
Image: Courtesy of Malabooboo via Flickr
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About Alison Pentland
Alison Pentland writes OffthePorch.ca, exploring the social culture of everyday life, and operates FeeFiFoFun.ca, a costume web shoppe and concierge service.