10/27/2014 05:12 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What Happened When My Daughter and I Switched Places for Halloween

Mike Reynolds

Last week, I was one of tens of thousands, probably even hundreds of thousands, to marvel over the amazing dad and daughter Halloween costume Tom Burns put together with his daughter.

It was Han Solo and Princess Leia in all their glory, with her of course filling the role of Han and Tom sporting the iconic hair of the princess.

As a dad to two young ladies, I though this was the perfect blend of awesome costume and reminder that women can be whatever the hell they want to be. It was, as far as I was concerned, the perfect Halloween costume for a dad AND for a daughter.

But then I remembered...

Last year, my youngest daughter and I set the bar so high for ourselves that I fear we'll never again reach it. In the weeks leading up to October 31, we held the same conversation we've had every year so far and one I expect will take place until they decide they no longer want pillowcases full of candy.

"What do you want to be for Halloween?" I asked.

"Um, a floor."

"A floor?"

"A rabbit."

"A rabbit?"



Now we were hitting on something.

"Yeah Daddy, I'll be you and you can be me."

"For Halloween? Like we can go out like that?"

"I'll wear a hat and a beard and a bow tie and you can wear a one-piece and have hair like me."


And that was when I committed to going into my daughter's classroom to meet all her friends dressed as her. It was a pretty amazing feeling, having my child want to dress up as me. And even though the kids weren't allowed to dress up in their costumes for class party day, I was proudly one of only two parents to arrive in costume. And even more proud to be the only one to be dressed as their child.

Her friends played with my wig, told me she looked better than I did dressed as a girl, asked where I found such a big pair of pajamas and asked her to show them pictures when she dressed as me.

Later that night, both in full costume, we marched the streets -- one tall daughter and one short, grizzled dad, holding hands and playing along with neighbors who immediately understood the costume. You can see in the pictures that a smile rarely left her face. She itched her beard and tugged on her suspenders. She tried to be me and as best I could, I tried to be her.


We had fun holding conversations where she was the parent and I the child.

"Daddy, can I eat all your candy?" I asked over and over.

"No, it's mine," she'd answer, worried that even in costume she'd lose out on hard-earned trick or treating. "But if you behave, I'll share some."

This year, she and her sister picked Spider-Man as my costume, and while I think he's pretty cool, it's nowhere near as exciting as our costumes from last year.

The game of letting your kids pick your costume is a dangerous one. It's also one, if you have a youngest daughter like mine, that might have you dressing up as poop one year. But, it can also hit you hard with The Feels, like it did for me that year when I realized my kid thinks I'm at least OK.