What’s a Dad to Do When His Daughter Wants to Dress as Han Solo?

Han solo 2-2

…put on a Princess Leia costume, of course.

Ever since my daughter was old enough to make special requests, I’ve let her pick my Halloween costumes. Having kids at Halloween is a lot of fun and watching the sheer delight that my daughter receives from having me dress up to meet her normally very polite requests is tremendously satisfying. Over the past three years, I’ve been Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz from Phineas & Ferb, Wreck-It Ralph, and Grunkle Stan from the fantastic kids’ show Gravity Falls. All year, my daughter had been expressing her interest in going as Hermione Granger for Halloween, so I was preparing myself to throw together a Snape or Professor Lupin costume. But then, after I showed my seven-year-old Star Wars for the first time, she turned to me and asked…

“Do you think I could be Han Solo for Halloween?”

Immediately, I responded “Yeah, why, of course, you could. That would be amazing. Why couldn’t you be Han Solo?” And, even though I didn’t want her response to come, it did. “Welll…. I’m a girl.”

Screw that. I grabbed my laptop and started showing her some really excellent examples of other girls and women cosplaying as Han Solo. She nearly shrieked when I showed her one of the members of Team Unicorn (a geek-girl pop culture group that she loves) in full Solo regalia and then I found this extremely cool tutorial on how to make a Han Solo costume for a woman from The Stylish Geek.

My daughter’s eyes went wide. She was sold on the idea. This could happen. But then she turned and looked at me, “But what are you going to be?” She thought for a second and said “Well, if I’m a Han Solo, you should probably be Princess Leia, I guess…” She looked at me with an implied question in her eyes. And, c’mon, if I immediately told her “YES, a girl can be Han Solo,” it would’ve been pretty hypocritical of me to say “Nope, a boy can’t be Princess Leia.” So, as quickly as I could, I said, “That would be FANTASTIC. I totally should be Leia.”

And that’s exactly what I did. Because that’s what dads do.han_resize

I’ll admit—my take on Princess Leia Organa isn’t 100% flattering to Carrie Fisher, but, you know, I made due with what I had. I found an incredibly cool Princess Leia hoodie at HerUniverse.com that came with the trademark Leia hair buns on the hood, which made it hard to resist. The skirt is a Red Cross nurse’s skirt from a local uniform store. And the thermal underwear and crappy sneakers? Well, it’s Michigan and it was cold and we were going to an event at the local zoo, so, yeah, I dropped the ball on that one. I need to find some better Leia boots for actual Halloween.

All in all, I think my daughter and I will make a great pair for Halloween. We got nothing but smiles at the Halloween event we attended last night and even got a few laughs when I came face-to-face with a mom dressed as Princess Leia and said “Well, this is embarrassing…”

But, I think, my big take-away from all this will be—equality goes both ways. If I’m going to tell my daughter that she can do almost anything a man can do (excepting some very specific biological acts), then I also need to show her that a man can do almost anything a woman can do too… especially when it’s something awesome like dressing up as a character from one of the best movies ever.

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Photos courtesy of author

About Tom Burns

Tom Burns is a husband, a dad, and a veteran of the educational publishing industry, living just outside of Detroit Rock City. He’s also been a writer and contributing editor for a number of web sites, including 8BitDad, and founded BuildingaLibrary.com - a website devoted to helping parents find the right books for their kids. You can find him on Twitter at @buildalibrary.


  1. you rock!

  2. That is one little girl that will NEVER have “Daddy Issues”

  3. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story. You rock, dude!

  4. Going as Princess Leia easily qualifies you for going as Best Dad in the World next year. 🙂

  5. Very cute 🙂 A chewbacca costume would have been a good choice too.

  6. allen suarez says:

    He is indeed a real dad—that is exactly what dads do. Way to go dad

  7. Amy Smith says:

    Way to go dad!! I think that this is a great example of how it should be. My dad would have said I could be whatever I wanted but wouldn’t have gone the extra mile for me like this.

  8. I can’t get over how bad ass your daughters expression is. Rock On. And don’t let the world tell you what’s normal, the older I get the more I realize most people are just to chicken to swim against the current even when they don’t want to go with the flow.

  9. Dude, will you be my father? I imagine my dad might have been cool like that if he stuck around, but he bailed and we haven’t been friends since I was, like, 8. How awesome for any little girl to have a man teach her her self worth..rock on, man. Your daughter is one lucky kid.

  10. May the Force be with you, Always.

  11. darthsithdious says:

    A good dad you are.

  12. Well done, Dad. I have lots of conversations with my 7-year-old daughter about things not being “boy things” or “girl things.” Thank you both for being living examples. Can’t wait to share this with the kid.

  13. I never comment to this stuff but I had to. You are an inspiration to fathers everywhere. I am a geek gamer girl who loved barbies and was a total tomboy who loved DC and Marvel cartoons, so I liked Batman too! Your daughter is not alone, there is a whole world of awesome women who love what they love and do what they love, like dress as Hans or Vader. Gender swapping for cosplay is common and exciting! Way to go for not only encouraging her to be who she is but to mix it up and join in the fun! Awesome dad!

  14. Best post ever!! Keep being an example to people everywhere!!

  15. What size hoodie did you get?

  16. Man… you are AMAZING. Your girl will never forget it, and she will a be a stronger person in adult life, for sure. 🙂 I hope you both have a lot of fun!!!

  17. Hey, my kinda guy! Heres me and my daughter last year. This year it’s Boba Fett and a Jawa.

  18. Astragali says:

    Dad of the Year.

  19. Yes! This is totally what dads do and why I love dads. What a creative and supportive guy you are, and I wish I could be as cool as your daughter is in those photos! You both look excellent.

  20. You are an awesome dad. My daughter loved it.

  21. wellokaythen says:

    Parenting done right.

    If the weather is too cold, she could go with the Hoth-outfit Han Solo and you could go as Hoth Leia or even a tauntaun….

  22. Inge Woudstra says:

    Yeah, as a mum I do endless shooting games with my son, whilst they bore me to death. I have drawn the line at lining up tin soldiers, however I end up doing that once in a while too. However, the story goes to show that somehow it’s easier for mums to do boys things. Weird, right? Thinking about it, its’ this: boys things are cool when girls do them, girls can be macho! Girls things are silly and sort of wrong when boys do them. I guess it must have to do with the male still being at the top of our hierarchy in our collective minds. Interesting thought.

  23. That’s one dynamite Dad she has.
    And that’s one dynamite daughter you have.

    It is so wonderful to see your little girl pick a costume where she doesn’t feel like she has to be “cute”, “pretty” or “sexy” to express herself.

  24. Exactly.

  25. I love this, and I like to think I live this:

    “Because that’s what dads do.”

  26. GuidingDuck says:

    you ROCK, Dad.

  27. Daniel Earwicker says:

    “even got a few laughs when I came face-to-face with a mom dressed as Princess Leia and said “Well, this is embarrassing…”

    And now a couple more laughs from my house! This is all so excellent and heartwarming.

  28. hehe
    a fun read

  29. Awesome! Pure and simple.


  1. […] the same,” says Tom Burns, father of an 8-year-old girl who loves “Star Wars” so much, he dressed as Princess Leia to her Han Solo last Halloween. “And crap like this is still happening. They completely suckered the Internet […]

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