Heroines are in this Halloween

Princess costumes are making way for Star Wars' Rey and Wonder Woman

This Halloween, expect to open the door to more pink pussyhats and fewer princesses.

Months after the historic women's march on Washington and in the midst of the #MeToo sexual harassment outcry, this year's Halloween is becoming yet another platform in the US for women and girls to show strength.

This year's most-searched Halloween costume is Wonder Woman, according to Google's Frightgeist search tool.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens heroine Rey, the self-reliant young woman who shines as a survivor against all odds, is among film characters who rank in the top 10 children's costumes for this year, according to the US National Retail Federation.

And makers of homemade costumes are getting online tips for re-purposing pink "pussyhats", which were worn by many of the hundreds of thousands of women who took part in marches in Washington and other US cities on Jan 21, the day after Mr Donald Trump's inauguration as president, to denounce his boast years ago about grabbing women's genitals.

"The year or more of sexual harassment scandals has shifted people's thinking about what they want to become on Halloween," said psychology professor Tovah Klein.

"Costumes empower children - as in 'I can be strong, I can be invincible, I can fight for justice.' And right now, with Wonder Woman and other characters, girls are embracing this strong side."

Raising her lightsaber, nine-year-old Abby of Maplewood, New Jersey, demonstrated her warrior stance dressed as Rey, a steel-coloured cloth crossing over her chest and pants matching her tunic.

"I feel more brave when I am Rey," said the fourth-grader, who used to celebrate by dressing up as princesses.

"I like Rey more than princesses. She is very tough. She is fighting. She is helping a lot of other people survive."

More than 179 million people in the US will celebrate Halloween this year, spending a record high of US$9.1 billion (S$12.5 billion), with the largest outlay on costumes, the retail federation said.

To be sure, feminist-fuelled Halloween costumes are nothing new. But this year, they carry a special resonance.

Mr Trump's brag about assaulting women, which he later called "locker room talk", was made public when a 2005 video surfaced during his presidential campaign last year.

Recently, sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein sparked the #MeToo movement.

"Strong feminist ideals, girl power and political movements" are pushing Wonder Woman to the top costume purchase for girls this year, said Ms AnnaMarie McConnell, vice-president of product and brand development at Ricky's NYC, a beauty supply store that features Halloween costumes. - REUTERS

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