DEAR ABBY: Halloween is around the corner, and my 7-year-old daughter has decided to be a cowgirl. She wants the boots, the hat and the gun.
Is it appropriate to let her have a holster and an obviously toy gun to accessorize her costume for trick-or-treating? She would not be taking that part of her costume to school on Halloween. I live in a part of the country where guns are an important part of our culture, but I am unsure how to proceed. -- CONFUSED ABOUT HALLOWEEN IN MONTANA
DEAR CONFUSED: Guns may be an important part of the culture where you live, but how do you feel about them? If it's all right with you, and the weapon your child carries is obviously a toy, then there should be no problem as you take her from house to house collecting her goodies. But there is nothing wrong with a 7-year-old cowgirl not having a gun and holster as part of her costume. If you need verification, have her check out the character Jessie in the movie "Toy Story 2."
P.S. Having her not take a toy gun to school is wise because many schools have strict policies about weapons -- including toy weapons -- being brought on campus.