Princess costumes have reigned supreme for Halloween for the past 11 years.
The National Retail Federation says superheroes have dethroned princesses in 2016 to become the most popular children’s costume. In fact, more than 3 million kids plan to dress up as their favorite superheroes this year.
“Little girls want to be many things. One minute you have a little girl saying I want to be Superman, not Supergirl. And then you have one saying I want to be Spider-Man, not Spider-Girl. They’re not seeing any gender issues at all. They’re being exactly who they want to be,” Evangeline’s Costume Mansion employee Stephanie Hanrahan said.
The growing popularity of superhero costumes is being cheered on by Sacramento dad John Marcotte. Last year, Marcotte, a father of two young daughters, started the #morethancute Twitter campaign to encourage girls and their parents to dress up in costumes that celebrated characteristics other than, well, cuteness.
“There’s nothing wrong with being cute. We’re not against that. But girls can be more than cute. We don’t always need to emphasize their physical appearance,” Marcotte said. “There are other attributes we’d like to emphasize as well. They can be brave, or smart, or strong.”
Marcotte started the #morethancute campaign after his daughters’ frustrations trying to buy Halloween costumes.
“My girl loves Batgirl, and we found a Batgirl costume, and it was hot pink. And we found a Spider-Girl costume and it had a fairy princess wand, and again, a tutu,” Marcotte said.
Marcotte and his daughters have ended up making their own superhero costumes that were truer to the original heroes. But he’s encouraged by the changes he sees in the costume market.
“Girls are now saying, ‘Hey, I can be a superhero,’” he said. “There are other choices that are broadening the definition of what it means to be a girl.”\