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Watch: Halloween may be over, but this gentle takedown of gender norms will always be relevant

It’s okay to be ‘whoever you want to be.’

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It’s a typical Halloween scene in the video above. A young brother and sister are carving pumpkins with their parents – one carves Wonder Woman, the other, Batman – after which their mother pulls out their costumes, which are also (surprise, surprise) of Wonder Woman and Batman.

The fun, relaxed atmosphere of the late autumn scene, however, is broken ever so slightly as the father suddenly becomes apprehensive, while the mother comforts him. The two little superheroes go trick-or-treating and collecting candy as the parents chaperone them from a distance. It isn’t until the end of the two-minute clip, as the father tucks the children into bed – “My heroes” – that the reason for his nervousness, or the ultimate message of the public service advertisement, is revealed.

Written by Alexander Day and Brian Carufe, the video by Landwirth Legacy Productions aims to challenge gender stereotypes and norms, with specific regard to children’s Halloween costumes. The seemingly insignificant costumes hold great significance to children, and the writers want to let children known that it’s okay to be “whoever you want to be.”

Day told HuffPost, “Halloween can be a time people can express themselves in a certain way and not be as attacked for it.” He hopes the video will inspire viewers to become “more comfortable and accepting”, and added, in an interview with Upworthy, that children “are our greatest superheroes for being themselves.”

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From answering every homework question to killing every monster under the bed, from soothing every wound with care to crushing anxiety by just the sound of their voice - parents understandably seemed like invincible, know-it-all superheroes all our childhood. It’s no wonder then that reality hits all of a sudden, the first time a parent falls and suffers a slip disc, or wears a thick pair of spectacles to read a restaurant menu - our parents are growing old, and older. It’s a slow process as our parents turn from superheroes to...human.

And just as slow to evolve are the dynamics of our relationship with them. Once upon a time, a peck on the cheek was a frequent ritual. As were handmade birthday cards every year from the artistically inclined, or declaring parents as ‘My Hero’ in school essays. Every parent-child duo could boast of an affectionate ritual - movie nights, cooking Sundays, reading favourite books together etc. The changed dynamic is indeed the most visible in the way we express our affection.

The affection is now expressed in more mature, more subtle ways - ways that mimics that of our own parents’ a lot. When did we start parenting our parents? Was it the first time we offered to foot the electricity bill, or drove them to the doctor, or dragged them along on a much-needed morning walk? Little did we know those innocent acts were but a start of a gradual role reversal.

In adulthood, children’s affection for their parents takes on a sense of responsibility. It includes everything from teaching them how to use smartphones effectively and contributing to family finances to tracking doctor’s appointments and ensuring medicine compliance. Worry and concern, though evidence of love, tend to largely replace old-fashioned patterns of affection between parents and children as the latter grow up.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.