Hook(er)ed on Halloween

We spent the majority of the day getting ready for The Midget’s school Halloween event. The Missus baked cookie bars, I bought earplugs… General stuff that has to happen when you get a K through 5 group of children together in a gym with little to do other than scream and mainline sugar.

The costumes the kids were wearing were the standard princesses, elves, Harry Potter characters and super heroes, although we did spot at least one Dr. Who and some kid wearing what amounts to a spandex gimp suit. The school, firmly rooted in the Catholic faith, asked for several concessions on costumes, including the lack of fake weapons (a few kids brought clubs, bats and a bow/arrow combo) and a limited amount of gore (a few bloody vampires and at least one kid almost entirely covered in scar tissue not withstanding). They also asked that the children keep the costumes modest.

Perhaps they should have told that to the parents.

One mother showed up in skin-tight leggings, a cave-woman ripped top and a horned helmet. We have no idea if she was a slutty Flintstone or a slutty Viking.

I suppose it was better than the woman who showed up wearing a tight T-shirt that simply said, “I’m a treat.”

As the parent of a daughter, I understand that I’m on an ever-ticking clock when it comes to Halloween. As my child gets older, the costume industry keeps making sluttier costumes in smaller sizes. Eventually, the paths will cross and I’ll have to be that horrible stick in the mud I swore I would never be:

“But DAAAADDD! What’s wrong with my costume? I’m dressed like Bo Peep!”

“Bo Peep needs to wear more than your average stripper while searching for her flock. Besides, if you wear that thing out, your sheep won’t be all you’re losing tonight…”

Look, I’m not a prude. You want to dress like a slutty maid or a leather boy for your significant other as part of some sort of bedroom romp, I’m all in favor of it. However, unless I’m buying it on DVD at the local Lion’s Den (or apparently a student in a business class at the University of Iowa), I’m not supposed to be seeing it.

One year, after all the “slutty costume” blowback became a hand-wringing public discourse, one of the grad student columnists I had at the newspaper wrote a column about her right to wear whatever she wanted. Rather than take a “our bodies ourselves” kind of approach to the idea, she wrote something like, “I’m fucking hot, I’ve got a rockin’ body. Why wouldn’t I want to tart up for Halloween?”

I remember answering this: “OK, fine. Wear a slutty schoolgirl outfit where there’s two inches of skirt between your waist and your vagina and your boobs are one sneeze away from looking like a dead heat in a blimp race. In fact, wear it to your 8 a.m. class where you have a professor about your dad’s age, sit in the front row and see who is more uncomfortable, you or him.”

I never heard from her again on the topic.

One of the parents who sat with us today noted that from the age of 21 until she had her daughter, she went through the “slutty” phase: Slutty nurse, slutty cop, slutty cheerleader and so forth.

“After a while, I just didn’t want to be that woman,” she said, jerking her head toward the Viking-cavemom.

The woman still dresses up for Halloween. Last year, she was a farmer, complete with bib overalls and a set of striped candy-corn socks. She had a blast.

Dressing up is a hell of a lot of fun for a day, even if you don’t get to ask for candy anymore.

The point for was that you could be anyone you wanted to be: A magical witch, a superhero with super powers, a princess who could command a kingdom and more.

If we keep that in mind, it’s my hope that fewer people will say, “I wanna be a slut.”

3 thoughts on “Hook(er)ed on Halloween

  1. Hard Call. I deplore the sexualization of children in so many ways (including pre-kindergarteners)
    OTOH – a church I was in had a Halloween party. Most folks came as cowboys or similar level of inoffensiveness. But one girl, early elementary age, wore a butterfly costume and handed out sheets of paper with “If anyone be in Christ he is a new creation…”
    No way I could sit through a Jackass movie, but I recently saw an advertisement for a Granddad Jackass (or similar title). Apparently there is a scene where he enters his grandson, masquerading as a girl, into a beauty pagent where the boy (dressed as girl) walks out and launches into a pole-dance routine.

  2. Wanting to be sexy is not the same thing as wanting to be a slut. I’ve always wondered about the sexy Frankenstein and sexy mummy costumes, but even they are just part of the Saturnalia, a chance to throw off some of the usual restraints. Maybe a sexy blah blah blah outfit doesn’t cut in the schoolroom or in a court of law, but, at a party, why not?
    We get maybe 200-250 trick or treaters at our place, all of them kids, so we get our share of sexy chainsaw leather guys and naughty school girls, but there is nothing quite as heartwarming as a sexy chainsaw leather guy or naughty schoolgirl telling his or her little brother or sister in a superhero cape or fairy princess dress to say “trick or treat” and take some candy. (Hint: the superhero kid is not into Nazi uber-mensch theory and the princess kid is not into restoring monarchism.)
    Maybe that woman has been working on her ass all year, and now she wants to show it off.

  3. I’d be a lot less hotnbothered about slutty costumes if the damn kids’ clothes in “affordable” stores didn’t look just as two-bit-whorish, the second a kid stops fitting in toddler clothes. SweartoFSM.

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