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Katherine Lee

Do You Allow Toy Weapons for Your Kidsí Halloween Costumes?

By October 5, 2009

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This Halloween, my son is going to have two blasters to go with his Clone Trooper costume. After years of saying no to any toy that even remotely resembled a weapon, I eventually surrendered to the realization that playing with pretend blasters and lightsabers was not going to harm my child.

For one thing, my son is the kind of kid who can handle the mild violence in cartoons like The Clone Wars but would probably have nightmares for months if he ever saw, say, the lava pit fight between Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith (I wisely skipped this part when I let him watch the movie last year). No matter how many space battle scenes my son enacts with his toy blaster, it's highly unlikely that he'll undergo a personality change and start to relish violent scenes in movies (which, if all goes according to my plan, he won't be seeing till he's, oh, say 18).

For another, he was making blasters out of Legos anyway. At least now, he has a blaster that can make sounds and scare away any lurking evil space forces. My son is 8 now. He knows how I feel about toy guns, and is careful to blast unseen enemies with his friends, never aim at his buddies when playing out space battles (they are not allowed to blast each other).

So I okayed two blasters this year. We'd discussed the G.I. Joe ninja outfit (my son wasn't allowed to see the movie, but he he'd seen the ads for the movies and spotted the cool-looking ninja costume -- complete with real-looking sword! -- as soon as he opened the Halloween costume catalog). I found the idea of my child swinging around the real-looking sword discomforting and said no.

I'm going to continue to nix any weapons that even remotely look real (no toy guns, no toy swords). But this Halloween, we will have plastic lightsabers and blue blasters to fight the forces of evil.

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  • Comments
    October 5, 2009 at 3:02 pm
    (1) Laureen says:

    I said yes in the poll, but I really wanted to say “yes and no.” I agree that boys will make weapons out of just about anything and it’s pointless to try to totally hold back the tide on this. I also agree with drawing a different line for realistic weapons. We have light sabers but no guns or knives too.

    However, I have found that weapons in Halloween costumes can be a problem. First, my kids wear their costumes to school, and no masks or weapons are allowed, so you have to be sure that people know what they are supposed to be without them. Also carrying around a weapon while out trick-or-treating just invites horse play you don’t need.

    So we try to avoid weapons with Halloween costumes, but I do allow them for other kinds of play.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:43 pm
    (2) Julie says:

    Oh please. A toy weapon doesn’t condone killing people the same way playing with a baby doll doesn’t promote pregnancy in young girls. It’s called playing/pretending/role playing….my kids know the difference between real violence and special effects/acting. A good book to read about this topic is Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence by Gerard Jones.

    October 6, 2009 at 7:44 am
    (3) Linda says:

    I must admit I bought a toy water gun for my 6 year old daughter’s Halloween outfit. No cop or cowgirl here to save the world from evil. She’s going as Lilly, as in Kevin Henkes’s character Lilly in “Lilly and the Plastic Purse”, “Chester’s Way”, etc. Lilly has nifty disguises and has a hidden water gun in her pocket “just in case” (to ward off bullies) just like she has a first aid kit “just in case” (to fix booboos). Although I don’t promote violence, I thought this was harmless. She’s a kind, loving little girl, just like her character, so I’m not worried.

    October 6, 2009 at 10:14 pm
    (4) Jennifer says:

    I too have caved. I finally realized that if my boys are going to create a gun out of a toast crust for god’s sake then I might as well let them pretend with the real thing.
    The only thing I regret is that my 4-year old, who is going to be a clone trooper to his 6-year-old brother’s Darth Vader, goes around telling people that he is evil and going to kill them. I have taken his costume away quite a bit to reduce this behavior and it has actually worked!

    October 8, 2009 at 11:41 pm
    (5) Halloween Astronaut Costume says:

    I don’t remember any issue with this at all when I was a kid, we all played with guns, plastic swords, knives, etc. It was a lot of fun and nothing aggressive. I think a lot of the problems come in with the parents not being involved in their kids lives.

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