But the scariest part of the store for me is the “tween” selection available to my 11-year-old daughter.
As a mother, I’m living my own version of American Horror Story. My daughter is young enough that dressing up and trick-or-treating is still something she looks forward to, but old enough that the costumes like the friendly bumblebee or Strawberry Shortcake just don’t fit her anymore. And while I’ve rolled my eyes in the past at the women’s selection in the adult area – French maids, sexy pirates, and alluring police officer uniforms – this year, looking at the costumes for teenage girls…my blood began to boil.
Because the only thing missing is a stripper pole.
It’s sexist. There’s no other way to say it. When I looked at the boy pirate costume, it looked like…well…a pirate. But when I looked at the girl costume it looked like….
Now, I realize that I come from a relatively conservative background. When I was dressing up for Halloween as a pre-teen (back in the day), my costumes centered around things I could find in my home – I was a bum or a rock star or something my dad could make out of a cardboard box. But kids don’t really do that anymore. Most of the costumes are store-bought and I can understand that when you’re an 11-year-old girl, it’s still fun to play dress-up every once in a while. For 364 days of the year, my daughter is a regular middle school student but for one night, she just wants to be something else. So it kills me to see her face fall when she looks up at that wall of costumes that are in her size because she knows I would never let her out of the house in any of them.
Actually, I wouldn’t even let her wander around her room in that stuff – as my grandmother would say, “They barely cover possible.”
Who are these people who think that it’s okay to objectify young girls this way? Right now, I’m picturing a panel of men – not one father in the bunch – deciding on these designs and picturing young girls like my daughter wearing them.
And that has been the creepiest part of my Halloween this year.
This post was originally published in The Denver Post's Mile High Mamas.