Happy Halloween ... not! Gory, sexual costumes turn Mom off(Read article summary)
Happy Halloween? Can there be a Happy Halloween with the gory, sexual costumes peddled to kids? Not for this mom, who feels more glad than guilty not to be stuffing her 19-month-old into costumes, just yet.
If youâ€™re a mom (or dad, for that matter), chances are youâ€™re even more prepared. Youâ€™ve not only figured out your own look â€“ a combo of funny or scary but still appropriately parental â€“ and have already purchased (or sewn, or gathered) a fantastic outfit for each one of your kids. Youâ€™ve plotted with them the best candy routes and know the afternoon start time of the wholesome town Halloween parade.
This is how I imagine it, at least.
Because it doesnâ€™t work like that at our house.Â Not even close.
Actually, I donâ€™t even have a costume for our daughter, who at 19 months is just the age that greeting cards and catalog ads seem to think is perfect for Halloween dress up. (Whatâ€™s cuter than a young toddler dressed up like a pumpkin? Or a cat? Or, as Pottery Barn suggests, a $79 Max from â€śWhere the Wild Things Are?â€ť)
I just didnâ€™t get it together this year. And I am feeling pretty darn guilty about it.Â
But also conflicted.
You see, over the past few weeks, Iâ€™ve been reading more and more stories about what I canâ€™t help but feel are really problematic trends in Halloween costumes for kids.
It was the sexualization of little girls that I first noticed. (Our guest blogger, Rebecca Haines, wrote about this in her post a few days ago; itâ€™s also a topic that Iâ€™ve delved into in the past â€“ check out our magazine cover story â€śLittle girls or little women? The Disney Princess Effect.â€ť)
It started when I went to find her a cat costume. Baby M loves kitties, including but not limited to ours, and since I am not most creative Halloween costumer in the first place I thought thatâ€™d suffice.Â
Now, there are some really cute toddler cat costumes online. But there are also a whole lot of short skirts and â€śpretty kittiesâ€ť and pint-sized models holding their tails just so. Eeww. And powers-that-be help you if you veer from household pets into some of the fairy or Tinker Bell costumes out there. Or any other of the sexy-vampires-in-training outfits. For my baby girl? No thank you.
So I turned to more traditional fare. What about witches? Goblins?Â Super heroes? (Does anyone make a Captain No outfit? Thatâ€™d be appropriate.)Â
And what I found was scary.
I mean that literally.
There are some incredibly freaky outfits out there for the under-five set. The Associated Press wrote about this the other day, detailing how gory costumes once reserved for preteens are now increasingly sold for toddlers â€“ think Freddy Krueger and Chucky in blood-splattered pint-sized packages. Even the â€śsock monkey,â€ť apparently, is being sold in kindergarten size as a bloody zombie sock monkey costume.
Yikes. For real.
Because, while I realize I sound like a total drag here, I just canâ€™t get excited about exposing our daughter to blood and gore and sexuality and anonymity.Â I mean, thatâ€™s why we donâ€™t let her watch television.
Moreover, many children her age get confused and troubled by strange changes in environment. While it might be empowering for her later to chose a costume and take on a different identify for a day, and while it would certainly be cute for us adults now, why force her into what, at this age, is an unexplainable â€“ and likely very scary â€“ situation?Â Or, for that matter, teach her that itâ€™s OK to go up to random peopleâ€™s doors, ring the bell, and take whatever they give you? (Again, cool for older kids, impossible to explain to younger ones.)
She is at a stage, I decided, where this Halloween thing just doesnâ€™t make sense.
She is also at a stage where she fights like a marine when I try to put on her shirt and pants. The idea of trying to stuff her into a snowsuit of a cat or dog costume â€“ even the cute kind â€“ makes me shudder.
So those are all of my excuses.
But Iâ€™ve got to say, this morning I feel a little disappointed. She really would have been cute. And all her little friends are doing it.Â
Maybe thereâ€™s time to run to Target or something after all. (Is that where you get kids costumes?)Â Weâ€™ll just avoid the bloody, sexy baby witch number.
Happy Halloween, everyone.