I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
October 27, 2014
My daughter has officially entered the tween years– and Halloween just got a whole lot more problematic.
In years past, her wishes to dress as a witch or mermaid or princess were pretty easy to fulfill. We went online, found a suitable girls’ costume that would be warm enough for a chilly night of Trick or Treating, and ordered it. This year, though, the game has changed. Big time.
According to the costume manufacturers of America, once a girl child reaches double digits, it is officially time for the Halloween hoochification process to begin.
Just like that, your daughter’s leopard costume options morph from loose-fitting onesie… to, well, a second skin.
Got a wannabe tween Robin Hood on your hands? Your eleven-year-old will have to steal a few more dollars from the rich if she wants pants for her costume.
Cleopatra is a great costume option for your girl– at least until she hits the tween years. At that point, she’ll have to settle for dressing as PharaHo.
You’ll feel like you’re throwing your ten-year-old to the wolves by buying her a tween Little Red Riding Hood costume. Hey. It’s all about realism, people.
Yarrrrgh. Just. Yarrrgh.
While the child’s Little Miss Muffet costume is totally adorable, the tween version will barely cover your girl’s tuffet.
I’ve been writing about inappropriately sexy tween and teen Halloween costumes for years, but now that my daughter is actually old enough to wear some of them, the subject really hit home- particularly when I began comparing the child and tween versions side by side.
I realize that the teen costumes are even worse — but I have a much bigger issue with sexy tween costumes. Teenagers, after all, have a growing understanding of (and preoccupation with) their sexuality. I believe that it’s normal for teen girls to want to experiment with dressing provocatively and Halloween is a prime opportunity for them to try to get away with it. As a parent, I may not like it– and you can bet I’ll do all I can to stop it– but I absolutely understand it.
Ten, eleven and twelve year old girls, on the other hand, have no real comprehension of the message they’re sending when they put on a sexy Halloween costume. By wearing it, they become players in a game that they’re absolutely not ready in any way to play. I don’t know of a parent who’d disagree with me on this– and yet– The only reason these trashy tween costumes are available year after year is that PARENTS ARE BUYING THEM FOR THEIR DAUGHTERS.
So moms and dads, can we just all stop this right now? Can we make a personal pledge to JUST SAY NO when our daughters ask us to order the child’s French Maid costume in a size 8/10?
Oh yes, people.
IT’S A THING.
Could we maybe even, if we’re feeling especially brave, use the widespread availability of these costumes as an opportunity to talk to our daughters about why they might be inappropriate for girls, even though MacKenzie and Harper and Terpsichord are all wearing them this year?
Could we all maybe do that please?
I didn’t think so.
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Images credit: Forest Bandit: Spirit Halloweent; Forest Lass: Costume Craze; Country Girl: Costume Craze; Dorothy Tween Costume: Spirit Halloween; Child Leopard Costume: Halloween Costumes; Tween Leopard Costume: Amazon; Kids Cleopatra Costume: Halloween Costumes; Tween Cleopatra Costume: Spirit Halloween; Child Little Red Riding Hood Costume: Costume Express; Tween Little Red Riding Hood Costume: Costume Craze; Girl Pirate: Costume Express; Tween Pirate Costume: Pure Pirate; Child Miss Muffet Cosume: Buy Costumes; Tween Miss Muffet Costume: Spirit Halloween
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Amen! And this becomes even more problematic when your sweet, innocent 7 year old is the size of a 10 year old and only fits in “tween” size clothing. SMH.
This is really sad, and it makes me very worried for my daughter who is only 1 and a half! crazy!
My oldest is super tall, so we hit this stage earlier than most (7). We are firmly on board the Homemade Halloween Costume train, with exceptions given to store-bought costumes that include pants and a top that doesn’t come below the collarbone. This year, she is 11, and has decided to make a Minnie Mouse costume w/black shirt, black leggings, & a red tutu. I did cave and let her get some goofy eyelashes, only because I know she’ll get sick of them as soon as she gets them on.
My 8 year old has a really unique imagination… This year, she is “Coca Cola”. Brown tights/tutu, red shirt w/CocaCola logo, headband with Coke bottlecaps glued on, & her hair in a bun w/ straws sticking out of it.
Pretty much forcing them to get creative has helped us avoid the slutty costumes. Enjoying it while it lasts.
Amen! I personally don’t think a lot of those are appropriate for anyone, child or otherwise, and strongly agree with the “don’t buy them and make your own” idea. Better yet, what modest and enterprising mom out there wants to start a costume company that specializes in costumes that are fun, but modest for everyone?
I also have to talk to my early teen boys why these costumes are not necessarily appropriate for their female classmates.
Terpsichord??? LOL I almost spit out my Perrier!
Time to go back to the homemade costumes! They’ll only offer these if someone’s actually buying them… so sad…
My daughter is big for her age. Last year her and her friend were Mario and luigi. I went to party city for the costume. She was 10 but needed the adult size. The lady who worked there said ” I don’t think you want the women’s costume!” It was a slutty Mario. Tiny shorts crop top, slutty as hell. I ended up buying the men’s costume and it was perfect. It’s really crazy.
The worst thing about what the “feminists” want to portray is the idea that this is okay because it gives the girls a “choice” about their bodies. Our bodies are the most precious thing we own. Diamonds and gems are hard to find, but when they are, they are beautiful beyond compare. Tell your children to keep themselves modestly dressed. They might balk now, but they’ll be glad about it in their 20’s and 30’s.
I don’t know any feminists, including myself, who are in favor of the sexual objectification of any adult woman for the benefit of men. The sexual objectification of children is disgusting and last I checked, criminal, and has no place in a discussion about feminism. Which, contrary to what extremists on either end would have you believe, is the equality of men and women.
Take a look at the reaction to high school dress codes. There was an enormous brouhaha at a Staten Island high school in September because girls wanted to wear short shorts and tank tops as opposed to the approved finger-tip length shorts and t-shirts. Most of those raging against the school were self-proclaimed feminists who claimed that the school was “promoting the rape culture” and “slut shaming”.
You really are projecting your warped view of feminism here. The issue feminists had with the dress code was that it applied to girls only (as most codes do) with the unspoken message that girls are responsible for boys’ thoughts and actions. That is, oh, you got catcalled? Assaulted? Raped? Well, what were you wearing?
No, the dress code was universal, it did not apply to just girls. Neither gender could wear tank tops. There were also bans on things that mainly applied to boys like do-rags and saggy pants. The girls were the ones that pushed the issue and got detention. And if you think it is OK for high school girls to wear daisy dukes to class, then you missed the point of both this article about the “hoochiefication” of girls and the high school dress code.
You really should look up the definition of a feminist.
And this is why I make my kids costumes.
When one of these provocatively dressed tweens comes to my door, I throw in a copy of “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” along with the candy corns.
And I’ll bet everyone in your neighborhood loves you for being condescending, judgmental, and insulting to the children, rather than to the parents. Why not just give them an apple with razors in it? Saves you the trouble of getting people to come to your house the next year.
Calvicles, dramatic much? Since we’re throwing out “why nots”, why not get over yourself? Also, perhaps its because I’m so utterly busy with these razor apples (its arduous prep work) that I don’t have the brainspace to get the Erkel reference in regard to what you write. Am I supposed to supply the words “did I do that” to your comment or…? Please explain, and feel free to wildly overreact (again) while ignoring 1. Humor, and 2. An actual problem known as oversexualizing children (which I was addressing by pointing out that teen pregnancy is perhaps precipitated by how provocatively society encourages young women to dress themselves). You on the other hand returned fire with personal insults and obfuscatory ramblings about me not wanting people in my house (hardly the point, was it?) Why not stay on topic and control yourself when a comment makes your blood boil? Not that it matters to me. Just a ‘why not’, ya know?
Okay maybe I don’t want a daughter quite so much any more…maybe I will stick with having boys…
Last year my niece, who was then 7, was just dying for a Monster High costume. Miniskirts, midriff shirts, and platform heels. NO THANK YOU. My mom, who was buying a costume as a present, and my sister-in-law came up with a compromise – she got the costume, but she wore flat knee high boots, leggings, and a longer shirt under the costume. My niece was pretty happy with that. She has moved on from Monster High to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, thank gawd.
Yes and AMen! Janet I agree- just because it is Halloween doesn’t mean we need to turn into sluts. And I most certainly am not allowing my daughters to wear such things while under my roof. It is disturbing enough that i have to see inappropriate images of women at every turn and try to teach my girls that they are beautiful just the way they are. Let alone explain why certain costumes are just not ok. Im tired of this culture battle- for how hard women in history have fought for us to be taken seriously, it all feels like a giant step backward. Halloween seems to be no different.
Fortunately my ten year old wants to go as a nerd. Ponytails, glasses with tape in the middle and mismatched clothing. Thank God my 14 year old is going as a Mean Girl this year (black skirt, pink cardigan), went as Mario last year (bought the hat/suspenders kit with a red shirt and blue pants), and as Flo from Progressive the year before. I will not buy any of those sexy costumes!
Ooh, have I got a costume for your ten year old! It’s the “I Love Nerds Tween Costume!”
Great! I thinks I like her homemade costume that won’t cost me any money and keeps her body parts covered much better! Do I need to mention it will be 36 degrees in our area of Minnesota Halloween night?
This is completely freaking me out. Thank you for posting this. It’s getting shared immediately. Let our girls be GIRLS!
I’m just loving all the variations you provided for the word hoochie.
Also, I’m nowhere near that bridge yet but I pray she’s a nerd like her mom and wants to dress as a zombie or superhero with pants and sleeves and a mask cause Lord knows….
My 10 yr old wouldn’t be caught dead in any of this- but I remember seeing some of my stepdaughters’ friends begin dress this way for Halloween around the age of 12- I was shocked when an eighth grader came over in a French maid costume, because WHY WOULD HER PARENTS LET THEIR 12 YR OLD WEAR THAT?!
Part of the problem is what is seen on TV (slutty behavior, revealing clothing, sexual innuendo) AND that most school districts do NOT allow teachers to express opinions, i.e. “teach” moral behavior (they do not want to hurt the child’s feelings or their self esteem) …so when a girl shows up with cleavage and slutty clothing, the teacher may not say anything, even though the little boy’s are getting a free biology lesson….When I taught school, my only recourse was to send the offending chick to the nurse, who was allowed to tell the truth.
Agree wholeheartedly. I have been ranting about this year long since my daughter graduated from size 6x. Instantly, the options for dressing my daughter went from sweet to pre-red-light-district. And this was YEARS ago… everything looked like even Brittany Spears would have trouble covering her body. You’re spot on about girls that age not having a CLUE about the messages their wardrobe choices send. Moms AND Dads need to be involved with making healthy clothing choices all year… not just at Halloween.
It is the rampid sexualizaton of our children. It is getting younger and younger each year. Children are no longer our most precious resource… the future, no they are now to be made over into sex toys and discarded like used paper tissues. Lolita was banned for a time FOR A REASON. And it is not an “American” thing, it is worse (sometimes) overseas in “first world” countries like Japan, Korea, Germany, and Belgium.
Generation Whore. Wow, we really have progressed or digressed as a society in 2015.
Gives a new meaning to “Trick Or Treat”
As a father of twin 3 year old boys, the only issues I view as a tad inappropriate for a tween girl are the Dorothy from OZ, too much bare leg between stocking and hem showing, The skirt of Little Miss Muffet is a tad too short, and the entire costume for a French maid upon what appears to be an 8 year old, but just the posing model, but for any tween, unacceptable.
Let kids be kids, don’t rush your daughters into slut’dom as all of these so called celebrity pop stars are pushing them towards a career in porn, or street walking. Instiling a simple fact that their brains and hard studies will lead them no where, just where scandalous clothing, attract a mate and just lay on your back.
This country has gone to Shhh It appears to continue that pursuit of immoralities.
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