6 Halloween Costume Ideas For Smart Girls

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This year, help your daughter get excited about more than a plastic pumpkin head full of candy. Halloween is a great opportunity to teach her about positive women role models.

With our Halloween costumes for girls, we help you avoid browsing through stores where pink and a-little-too-provocative costumes tend to reign supreme, so you can spend more time with your daughter talking about important women. Plus, most of our Halloween costume ideas can be made with clothing your daughter already owns.

How to Start

As every parent knows, it’s much easier to find a teaching opportunity with kids when they are already have interest in a subject or theme. Does your daughter love sports, superheroes, animals? Start there and see what she naturally gravitates toward in our list of Halloween costume ideas.

The Trimates

This was the name given to the three women who have given us the majority of information we have to this day on primate behavior. The three women and their respective species are:

  • Jane Goodall studied chimpanzees in Tanzania
  • Dian Fossey studied mountain gorillas in Rwanda
  • Birute Galdikas studied orangutans in Borneo

What you need: A stuffed version of your “chimp” of choice and warm-weather clothes, such a safari-inspired or tan T-shirt and shorts. (Wearing tights can keep your daughter warm if temperatures are low). You can even include books written by any of the women. Attach the plastic grass normally used for Easter baskets to portions of the costume too for an extra outdoorsy, trekking-through-the-jungle feel.

Famous Athletes

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Depending on the sport your daughter likes most, athlete costumes are fairly simple unless you’re daughter is a cricket fan or wants to walk around with a halfpipe. That said, there are amazing Halloween costumes for girls to be found in contemporary female athletes from Venus and Serena Williams, to the soccer player Hope Solo, to the skier Lindsey Vonn, to UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, to race-car driver Danica Patrick. Making an athlete costume also creates an opportunity to teach your daughter about female Olympians and other history-making women from various sports.

What you need: Many athlete costumes are easy to put together, because you can use existing clothing items. Large pieces of cardboard can be cut into the various needed accoutrements, such as fake skis, tennis rackets, or even a race car’s steering wheel.

Women Who Rule

Why not have Halloween be a time when little girls learn they could be upholding the laws of the land without being a princess? A Supreme Court Justice costume only requires a black robe and a gavel. Pick your favorite from Ruth Bader Ginsberg, to Sandra Day O’Connor, to Sonia Sotomayor, to Elena Kagan—or even just a generic Supreme Court Justice too! And although Hillary is only running for the presidency, we are hoping to see a toddler or two dressed as Ms. Clinton, complete with dark shades and a cell phone this Halloween.

What you need: A long black robe and a gavel. You can add a name tag too!

“Movie” Stars

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Depending on your daughter’s age, a great way to build up confidence is to show her examples of women doing amazing things or having real cool jobs. In the immortal words of Whoopi Goldberg when she first saw Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura at age nine on TV, “I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”

Show your daughter the same with some of the most amazing and strong female characters around: X-Files’s Dana Scully, Hunger Games’s Katniss Everdeen, the sleuth Veronica Mars, Xena the Warrior Princess, Furiosa from the latest Mad Max, Princess Merida from Brave, or Harry Potter’s Hermione Granger.

What you need: Many of these costumes can use existing clothing with just a few additions and some makeup.

Revolutionary Women

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Many revolutionary women merely were fighting against their time’s status quo. What a great thing to teach our daughters: that the world presented to you is something you can change!

Though they might start with trying to up their allowance, instilling in your daughters the idea that change is the result of a person’s actions gives them the confidence they need to tackle new challenges. Some revolutionary women to consider are Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, The Philippines’s Corazon Aquino, or our homegrown heroines, from Susan B. Anthony to Harriet Tubman, to Angela Davis, to Gloria Steinem. (Who your daughter may have seen in a Kate Spade ad with the more known to her Anna Kendrick and wondered “who is that lady?”)

What you need: Find iconic pictures of these women role models online and copy their outfits.

The Easiest Costume Ever

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If all else fails a denim shirt with rolled-up sleeves, red bandana, and can-do attitude can make any woman, any age, into a Rosie the Riveter, one of the most iconic of female role models.

For more Halloween costume ideas, specifically for smart women, check out these ideas from Take Back Halloween.

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