These happy dogs in costumes have a word of advice for their humans this Halloween.
Halloween is awesome, and we would know. We're dogs in costumes.
Adults, kids, and even pets like us get to dress up and make believe however we want on Halloween.
(There's even candy involved, which is a nice bonus.)
But sometimes people want to divide our imaginations by gender, and we're not into it.
Take a walk through any costume party or Halloween aisle and you'll see what we mean.
Boys and men get to be traditional police officers. Girls and women? Not so much.
Girls and women get to be butterfly princesses. Boys and men? Well, you get the idea.
The whole thing is pretty gross. (And we know gross. We eat cat poop.)
Why? Because men don't own masculinity, just like women don't own femininity.
Hanging a gender on a costume doesn't make much sense at all, especially for kids who are still sorting out their identities.
As young people sort out their identities, who are we to keep them from expressing themselves?
This Halloween, take a cue from us, the pets in your life (and our pet-parents), and dress how you want.
We're dogs in costumes, and unless you look really closely (why would you, though?), you can't even tell whether we're male or female.
We're just playing dress up.
We're walking, barking furry reminders that setting aside gendered costumes and outdated expectations matters.
Why? Because being who you want to be in this world matters.
This year on Halloween, do us pets a solid: Encourage the kids in your life to choose whatever costume they want.
After all, when children dress up, it's more than play — they're learning too.
If that means shopping in a different section or skipping the party store entirely this year, so be it.
Short of appropriating someone's culture or heritage, everyone deserves to play as they please.
That's what Halloween is all about.
So have fun. Be safe. And, most importantly, be yourself.
(Or, better yet, the costumed version of yourself you want to share with the world.)