My Austen-esque Sensibilities Hath Been Offended
Could someone please tell me when my favorite holiday–Halloween–morphed into a vanilla-porn industry that targets 8-to-12-year-olds? Hello? Where have I been living? (A long, winding, and not-remotely-about-books post is ahead: You have been warned.)
In days of yore–yes, I’m pulling out the “When I was your age” card–I wore sensible costumes that were age appropriate and weather conscious for a frosty, end-of-October evening in New Jersey. My mom pulled out all the stops and sewed borrowed* a costume from our neighbor when I was 9. And I was the foxiest (if ONLY) girl dressed as a turtle that year. Don’t believe me? I have photographic evidence:
Don’t get me wrong, even waaay back in 1984 there were a few of those girls in the school parade–a geisha with liberally applied liquid black eyeliner and ruby red lips to give her an exotic look, and a princess or two preening and fussing with their tiaras while toddling around last year’s white patent leather Easter shoes. But overall it was pretty wholesome. We had a Rubik’s cube fashioned from a cardboard box and paint, a vampire or two (long before Cullen and his clan showed up on the scene), and the rest of the kids wore the plastic costumes from the local Woolworth’s.
The year I was 10, mom scored another borrowed costume and I strutted in the school parade as a sack of potatoes. I wore a burlap bag and the potatoes were made from socks stuffed into knee-highs with Xs painted on them. Yes, paired with my brown corduroy pants and Kangaroos, I was a fashion force to be reckoned with. Please accept this artistic rendition, as no photographic evidence survives to this day:
But, I digress. Tonight my husband and I ventured out to the local Halloween store for a few last-minute party supplies.
Upon entering, I espied a boy of about 10 suited up in a faux velvet smoking jacket with leopard trim, a diamond encrusted walking stick, floppy brimmed leopard hat, and a diamond-encrusted dollar sign dangling from his neck. He kept flexing his right hand, telling his mom that he was getting his “…pimp hand ready for BID’NESS…”
And for those TWEEN girls in your house? How about one of these numbers? Don’t believe me? Check out Spirit Halloween’s website where they hawk these getups to the tween demographic!
Some may argue that I’m salty because these new costumes are the polar opposite of what I wore, but that’s not what this rant is about (I’ll save that for next year). I’m all for Halloween being a fun and flirty holiday. You’re an adult (or in your later teens)? Push the evenvelope! Go crazy! Let your sexy Little Bo Peep or Mac Daddy flag fly.
But if we keep dressing our 9-year-old daughters as half-naked Goldie MINX, those 10-year-old pimps will never be out of work.
*Let the record show that my mother did, in fact, sew us beautiful costumes long before The Disney Store came into vogue. I guess she got tired of playing Betsy Ross by the time I was 9.