Farmer Trick or Treat?

Heather_Barnes
Senior Reader
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What should my son dress up as for Halloween?

 

This question haunted me from the end of September up until the week of Halloween.

 

He likes Bubble Guppies, but those costumes have masks and he isn’t going to wear one. John Deere has a great tractor costume, but he’s too small for it this year.  I wish I was crafty, but I’m not, so making an elaborate or even simple costume is not realistic.

I kept scrolling through costume websites and looking in local stores for something that jumped out at me. Something my son would like.  Something that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. 

 

I took a break from looking at potential costumes and noticed the pants my son was wearing. They  could have been classified as capris.  This is not considered fashionable for a two year old boy. 

 

He needed new pants. More than he needed a Halloween costume.  We had room in the budget for both, but clothes he can wear more than once take priority. 

 

Then it came to me. The solution to both the short pants and lack of a costume:  overalls.  After all, the one thing my son loves is the farm.  What better costume than a farmer?  He needed overalls.  We already had a flannel shirt, boots and a hat. 

The result was an adorable farmer (of course I am totally biased). But as I watched my son play before we left for Trunk and Treat I started wondering if I had fallen in the stereotype trap.

 

Close your eyes and bring the image of a farmer to your mind. What do you see?  Ask a non-farming friend to describe a farmer.  What do they see?

 

The typical description is a man in overalls, with a flannel shirt chewing a piece of wheat. Possibly holding a pitchfork in his hand. 

In 15 years of working with farmers, I can count the number of times I’ve seen a farmer actually wear overalls on one hand.  Yet, when it came time to dress my son as a farmer, what did I do?  I fell into the trap.

 

Don’t think I am the President of the Anit-Overall club. I actually own several pairs:  denim for “everyday” wear, Carhartt for work and camo for hunting.  My son has had several pairs in every size from newborn to 3T.   

 

And please don't think I am saying farmers should not wear overalls.  The farmers I know don't give what they wear a second thought. They need clothes to cover thier body, keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  I've been in meetings where farmers came straight from the field and meetings where they were all in suits. 

 

The point I am trying to make is that there are so many stereotypes when it comes to farmers and one of the most common stereotypes I see is what they wear.  Clothes don’t make the man or woman.  Farmers are some of the hardest working, most dedicated people I know.  The image of an older man riding his tractor while wearing overalls is just that – an image.  Not the image of the farmers I know and the farmers I love. 

 

Maybe I’m thinking too deep about this. Maybe it was just a little boys Halloween costume. But in a time when so many people are disconnected with agriculture and don’t recognize a family farmer when he’s shaking their hand, I think it’s important we don’t embrace stereotypes.  Like the one I just did that turned a treat into a trick. 

 

What are your thoughts on farmer stereoptypes?