When web designer John Marcotte took his two young daughters to the costume store to pick out their costumes for Halloween, things were not looking good.
Anya, 10, and Stella, 8, wanted to be superheroes, but instead found themselves looking at rows of princesses and fairy costumes.
The superhero costumes they did find in the girl's section included unnecessary accoutrements like tutus and wands.
"They were looking for superhero costumes or characters from 'Star Wars' and we just couldn't find anything that they thought was acceptable," Marcotte told ABC News.
After seeing first-hand the Halloween costume options for young girls like his daughters, Marcotte, who runs Heroic Girls, an organization that aims to empower young girls, decided to start a campaign called #MoreThanCute.
"When choosing a costume, boys are told they can be anything they want: brave, scary, smart, adventurous and more," Marcotte wrote on his website.
"The costumes designed for girls, on the other hand, tell them that no matter what they aspire to be, the only thing that society truly values is that they look 'cute.'"
Marcotte told ABC News that he believes the Halloween costumes for girls send the message that girls should focus on being “cute,” and that the Halloween costumes for adult women send the message that women should focus on being "sexy." The father of two called these labels "corrosive and damaging."
Marcotte's #MoreThanCute campaign encourages parents to post pictures of their daughters in empowering costumes, such as superheroes, doctors, or astronauts.
"It's not that there’s anything wrong with those costumes, but it shouldn’t be the only choice [young girls] have on the shelf," said Marcotte.
The #MoreThanCute hashtag has picked up steam, with parents from all around the world posting photos of their daughters dressed up in their "more than cute" Halloween costumes.
Marcotte said daughters Anya and Stella will be dressing up as Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer from "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," and that he hopes his campaign will inspire at least "a small change in the word."
"I want [my daughters] to grow up in a world where they have more options than just looking 'cute,'" Marcotte said.