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Every year we spend a lot of time thinking about Halloween costumes. This year my little one had one request. She wanted to be something unique for Halloween. She thought about it and decided on a witch vampire, whatever that is! She took apart two costumes, using pieces of each, making herself look like a cross between Dracula and the Witch of the West. She wore her creation this weekend to a local Halloween event, skipping the makeup because she wanted to surprise everyone with the “whole package” at her school’s Halloween parade the following day.

It was a warm day here in New York for the safe Halloween event. The thermometer topped the 70 degree mark. The costume, which is thin and gauzy, was perfect for the weather. Then, later that day, a storm came up. The rain poured down and the temperature dropped significantly, plunging into the 50s by day-end. Before heading to bed — and contemplating a fight about wearing a coat over her dress the next day — I asked Little Girl if she would consider wearing something a little warmer on Halloween. The weather was supposed to be cool, starting in the 40s, I told her. It was also supposed to be windy. She agreed to look at what we had in our giant costume bin.

I brought down a few options from the attic. I found a warm, one-piece Pegasus, a funky spider that came with a hat and a one-piece cat costume. She resisted, turning down all three. I asked (well, begged) her to at least try them all on. She outright refused the cat and nixed the spider, but as soon as she had the Pegasus on, she fell in love. It looked adorable on her, too.

The costume has big silvery wings, a long rainbow-colored tail and a sparkly horn. She slipped her hands into the armbands and started running through the house, her “wings” flying behind her. She loved it, she said. But then she stopped, her face contorted with fear. “What if everyone makes fun of me?”

My first instinct was to grab her and hug her. My second instinct was to ask her why anyone would do that. “It’s a little babyish, and maybe people will be mean,” she explained. Sigh. We sat down and had a discussion about people who tease and why they don’t matter. We talked about being true to your own needs. We hugged and talked about what she liked about the costume. (“The tail is so soft, and I wouldn’t have to wear a coat tomorrow.”) We talked about how one of her best friends was wearing a unicorn costume that she made herself and she wasn’t afraid of being made fun of. After discussing it for a bit, my brave girl decided she would go with it and become a mythical creature on Halloween.

It worked out well. I was so proud to see her walking in the school’s Halloween parade, wings out, horn held high. As I expected, she wasn’t the only one wearing a fanciful costume. And she was warm! Later that day she told me that everyone loved her as a Pegasus. All her friends asked to pet her tail and rub her wings! See, I said. No one would ever make fun of such a cool costume. I wish I was telling her the whole truth. However, I know that — if she was a different, less likeable child — she may have caught some flak from the popular kids. And that is way scarier than I would like to admit.

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