There’s been a fierce debate as to whether kids who aren’t of Polynesian descent can dress up as Disney’s Moana or Maui for Halloween. Some are calling it cultural appropriation and saying it’s totally insulting to Hawaiian culture. This Moana costume argument has been a hot-button topic since 2016 when Disney released a Maui costume that featured a brown bodysuit with tattoos on it. Disney has since come up with much less offensive Moana and Maui costumes, which remain popular as Moana is one of Disney’s newest princesses. Two years after the film came out, Moana herself decided to weigh in on the debate.
“I would encourage anyone who wants to dress up as a wayfinder who journeys beyond her reef to figure out who she truly is, I totally support you. Go for it!” Moana actress Auliʻi Cravalho said in an interview with People. “Parents can dress up as Moana, too.”
Cravalho also commented on Disney’s effort to make princesses more positive role models for kids, which is another reason why kids want to dress up like Moana. They admire her strength and tenacity.
“I think each of the Disney princesses are just pretty reflective of their time,” she says. “This day in age, we definitely need a heroine who is the hero of her own story, who journeys beyond what her parents have done, who breaks the mold. That’s what we need right now and hopefully what we will continue to see later on, but there’s still things to be learned from other Disney princesses that we’ve come from. It’s just like our parents: We’re not like our parents and yet we can see the similarities and differences. We can always be grateful for what we’ve learned from.”
Princess Moana has given her approval, so now it’s just up to parents to decide what to do next.