10/28/2011 01:56 pm ET Updated Dec 28, 2011

You Want to Be What for Halloween?

It's Halloween-crazy in my neck of the woods. Salem (of The Salem Witch Trial's) is gussied up. And I swear, I saw Halloween lights. As in Christmas lights for Halloween.

One year my son was an astronaut. One year my daughter was a bumble bee. Then we had a few years running of hobos, ghosts and pirates. My point? Here's my point: My children are no longer nice little goblins or ghosts. They're Freddy Kruger, or a burlesque dancer.

How far does free expression go in the costume department?

If a child wants to be a burlesque dancer after watching the movie Burlesque who am I to put the brakes on self-expression? After all, I bought a machete dripping with blood just a few short years ago for my gentle son's costume. In Burlesque, Christina Aguilera plays a down and out waif who makes it big by singing, swiveling her hips, prancing and generally strutting very HOT stuff. Does a mother who calls herself a feminist allow her child to don fishnets, heels and a black felt bowler? I also call myself a pacifist. But I bought that damn fake blood filled machete.
One year I was a butterfly. My mother made me into what I believed and still believe to be the most beautiful butterfly ever. There's a picture of me, the pot bellied butterfly standing in an already frost bitten flowerbed. I was never a burlesque dancer. Though once, my friend Terrry and I wore clear vinyl skirts we'd made to a high school dance. We fancied ourselves punk rockers in Vermont, circa 1985. Nobody stopped my self-expression when I was no longer a butterfly and wanted to be a angry punk rocker in a see-through skirt.


For the record: I'm discouraging the burlesque-thang. I'm playing up the cool of retro-looks and talking about the clean crisp sheet of the ghost. And the asexual appeal of the goblin.