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Mom Torn After Young Daughter Says She Wants To Wear A Hijab As A Halloween Costume

emily.mcwilliams 10 Oct 2019

Like all trends, acceptable Halloween costumes have changed dramatically over time. These days, most parents recognize that Halloween costumes that include clothes from another culture should be avoided.

This can be difficult when your child genuinely admires someone from another culture and wants to dress up like them.

When you think about it Halloween really comes down to two things: candy and costumes.

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For children, getting to dress up as a favorite character or animal and go trick-or-treating is one of the best parts of the holiday.

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However, when it comes to costumes that have a cultural history, parents are being more cautious these days.

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There are even some parents who won't let their children dress up as characters like Disney's Moana, who wears traditional Polynesian attire.

For some parents, deciding whether to let their children dress up as a character from another culture can be difficult.

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That's why one mom wrote in Slate's "Dear Prudence" advice column when her daughter asked if she could wear a hijab as part of her costume.

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A hijab is a traditional headscarf worn by Muslim women.

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This woman's daughter was a big fan of Nadiya Hussain, winner of "The Great British Bakeoff".

Since winning the competition in 2015, Nadiya, who is British and Bangladeshi, has become an acclaimed food author.

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In the past, the woman's daughter has played "Nadiya" at home.

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"Last weekend, when we were getting ready to make some cookies, she said she wanted to 'play Nadiya' and went to grab a towel to cover her head like this woman does. I told her that wasn’t OK, that this woman wore a scarf because of her religion and it wasn’t nice to do that when we don’t follow it..." the mom said in her letter.

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Now with Halloween approaching, the little girl was planning on going as Nadiya.

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"Prudie, my daughter can’t pretend to be this woman by donning a fake hijab in my house, her aunt’s, or for Halloween, can she?" the mom asked.

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Prudie's response was balanced and explained in a way an eight-year-old would understand.

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Prudie explained that the mom should continue to encourage her daughter's admiration of Nadiya.

But, it was up to the mom to explain to her daughter that in the past, Caucasians mocked people of color by dressing up in their traditional clothes.

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Prudie said the mom was right to say no to a Nadiya-inspired costume with a hijab.

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"That said, I think you’re right to draw the line at letting your daughter put on a hijab for a Halloween costume, and if it becomes necessary you can say: 'Sorry, I’m your mom and I said so. You can communicate the persona of Nadiya the baker through some other means,'" said Prudie.

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