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.