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Too Sexy for Little Girls

Sexy Halloween costumes are nothing new. Every year about this time, parents and reporters all around the country lament the low necklines, cinched waists, shrinking skirts and fishnet stockings that have sprung up at every Halloween costume venue in the country. The subject was a big talker last year on washingtonpost.com when Brigid Schulte wrote "Preteens Trading Fairy Wands for Fishnets."

So, what's a parent to do when 5-year-old falls in love with that bare-midriff costume? Listen, say "no," and guide her in a different direction, says psychologist Michele Borba on the Today show.

Don't separate pop culture and your family's values, Diane E. Levin, a professor of education at Wheelock College in Boston, tells the Los Angeles Times:

The pop culture box is getting bigger and bigger, and the home and family box is getting crowded out. Adults don't try to connect to the popular culture except to get upset at it, punish their kids for spending time in it, and pretend it's not there. It's just so hard for them to think what to do. The result is that kids are seeing their parents as stupid, out of touch and obstructionist at an earlier and earlier age and considering them irrelevant.
We need to make the pop culture box as small as we can, and to make the family and society box as big as we can, and to draw connections between the two. We need to be there to help children make sense of the pop culture box: not just to give them the "right" answers, but to hear what they have to say about it, too.

And while we always talk about sexy as the main haunt of Halloween every year, girls aren't the only ones affected by Halloween costume marketing. Boys costumes enforce macho gender roles, argue Levin and CNBC’s Donny Deutsch, who adds that Halloween is big business. [Translation: We may not like those costumes, but we're still buying them.]

What are some of the worst costume offenders you've seen this year? Have you just said "no" to your kids when you think a costume's inappropriate?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  October 29, 2008; 12:30 PM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers , Preschoolers , Tweens
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Comments


"Have you just said "no" to your kids when you think a costume's inappropriate?"


Yes. How is this a topic?

"So, what's a parent to do when 5-year-old falls in love with that bare-midriff costume? Listen, say "no," and guide her in a different direction..."

Duh? Just say "no", skip the other b.s. No "experts" needed.

Is this a prank? Some kinda bet? Filler?

Posted by: jezebel3 | October 29, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"We need to be there to help children make sense of the pop culture box: not just to give them the "right" answers, but to hear what they have to say about it, too."

More baloney. "Pop culture" has always been part of the human condition. This sounds like a P/A stunt: pretend to listen to someone(fake-investment-in-the-process stuff) and then make the final decision regardless of the input.

The day I explain to a five year old why she/he can't wear an inappropriate costume is the day I turn in my towel. Who's in charge?

Posted by: jezebel3 | October 29, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Younger son, age 11, picked out "unknown phantom" costume - long black robe, hood with see-though face covering, and a mideval sword as an accessory. His choices for the last 4-5 years have been similar.

Older son, 16, hasn't trick-or-treated since he started high school. His last costume was a Star Wars Clone Trooper, I think.

Since I don't have a girl, I don't know how I'd handle a daughter wanting a sexy costume, except that it wouldn't be allowed. I think I'd probably point out all the positive comments the neighbors make about what I'm wearing. I dress in the same black "witch costume" every year, and it's not even remotely sexy. It's home-made, satin and layers of chiffon from head to toes with even my face covered, and I'm a *good* seamstress. Adding a simmering cauldron would almost be "gilding the lily". Then suggest that this hypothetical girl-child try for something similar - maybe in white as a ghost, or red as a demon, or green or blue as a fairy or dryad.

Posted by: SueMc | October 29, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I HATE that Halloween has turned into an excuse for girls to dress trampy. It's supposed to be a fun, scary holiday where you go out and get candy (for kids) or have a good time (for adults). A truly sexy person doesn't need to advertise, and can be original in Halloween costumes. My own have varied over the years from Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill--very proud of this one since I made it myself and can't sew), the puppet from Saw, and this year I'm going to be Carrie at the prom. These costumes are handmade and I have a blast making them, instead of spending fifty bucks on a printed plastic sheet of junk that won't last the whole night and makes me look like I can be bought for twenty.

Posted by: Monagatuna | October 29, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Considering all the bikini's I saw on pre-7 year olds over the summer, I'd say plenty of parents are fine with showing off skin.

As always, there's room for reasonability. This is a time to be costumey, to let go a little bit, to pretend, try something on that you don't usually get a chance for. If a kid were asking for the sexy costume, it should make the parent pause and really figure out why the kid wants that costume to begin with and why you've allowed that to become a 'desireable' trait in the family.

As they get older, it's more important to show that "attractive and sexy" does not have to mean tight/shiny/short/trashy.

Posted by: EmeraldEAD | October 29, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

jezebel3: since I've started reading this blog, I notice you seem to be the only one to comment with disparaging remarks or outright rudeness. If you believe a "topic" to be a prank, bet, or filler, then simply don't comment. It's wasting needed space in my brain.

This is an issue of genuine concern to some parent somewhere (yet perhaps only to parents less apt at doling out "no" and exerting their in-chargeness as you).

Posted by: 1herndon | October 30, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

jezebel3: since I've started reading this blog, I notice you seem to be the only one to comment with disparaging remarks or outright rudeness. If you believe a "topic" to be a prank, bet, or filler, then simply don't comment. It's wasting needed space in my brain.

This is an issue of genuine concern to some parent somewhere (yet perhaps only to parents less apt at doling out "no" and exerting their in-chargeness as you). Or wait, maybe you're the prank: are you a plant? A fake poster? A nuisance in disguise (as a nuisance)?

Posted by: 1herndon | October 30, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

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