Inappropriate Halloween costumes for kids
Halloween is a time for kids to dress up as their favorite characters, hit the streets and collect candy. But what if your daughter wants to hit the streets in a costume that makes her look like she's working the streets?! We've rounded up a handful of the most inappropriate Halloween costumes, as well as some expert advice on how to handle it if your daughter wants to rock the modern day Pretty Woman look.
"Police girl child" Halloween costume
Perhaps it's the shiny outfit, the hand on the hip, the pleather boots, the costume name -- "police girl child" -- or maybe it's a combination of all of those factors. Whatever it is, this sexy ensemble doesn't belong on a girl who wears size four to six (the smallest size available), that's for sure.
Hello Kitty Halloween Costume
There's Hello Kitty...and then there's Hello! Kitty. Something about this short skirt and knee socks doesn't seem so purrrrfect for a young girl who wears size four to six. The Hello Kitty Romper dress child costume just shouldn't be made for little girls.
Pink leopard Halloween costume
The description for this pink leopard child Halloween costume says it all: "The Purrty Kitty costume includes: crushed velvet dress with pink fur trim and attached crinonine and tale, pink fur leg warmers, ears, hand mitts and black collar with bell."
What happened to Halloween?!
Are you wondering how Halloween costume stores came to stock costumes for kids that look like lingerie for adults? We certainly were, so we reached out to Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and author of The Friendship Fix.
Dr. Bonior explains that it began 10 to 15 year ago, when Halloween became a huge adult holiday -- complete with major parties and themed fun at the bars. "The more that the sexy adult costumes were produced, the more they trickled down into the children's market," she says. "The past five or six years seem to have reached a fever pitch. Also, the overall increasing sexualization of young girls (string bikinis and thongs for five year-olds, anyone?) has contributed to this as well."
Instead of sexy Halloween costumes remaining in adult sizes, as they should, manufacturers began making them for the smaller set.
Just say no to inappropriate Halloween costumes
Unfortunately, these products are on the market and that means your daughter might ask to wear a sexy costume for Halloween. Some of her friends might even be sporting sexy Halloween costumes. As a parent, should you put up a fight and just say no, or should you let your daughter have her way?
Dr. Bonior strongly suggests you put your foot down. "It might seem like it's all in fun, but research shows that the increasing sexualization of young girls can be very damaging to their self-worth, and even make them more prone to depression, anxiety and relationship problems later on," she says.
So, if you're tempted to take the easy route, stop and think it through. "It's easy to say 'What's the big deal? It's just a costume,'" says Dr. Bonior, "but it contributes to the message that your little girl's value comes from her ability to be sexy -- and that's a scary message to grow up with."
How to handle it
If you're going to give your daughter the thumbs down on sexy Halloween costumes, Dr. Bonior has some advice on how to proceed. "If she's young, she might not be able to understand what sexy means and why it's not appropriate," Dr. Bonior explains. "Most important, I think, is for you to listen to her about why she wants a certain costume."
Is she asking to dress like Katy Perry so all the boys will want to kiss her? You have some important discussions on the horizon! But is she asking to dress like a sexy kitty just because she likes the color pink? No big deal -- you can redirect her to a more appropriate costume.
"You can keep your discussion age-appropriate by saying 'That costume is a little too grown-up for you, and not as much fun as a kid costume.' And encourage your daughter to be creative and think outside the box about what she wants to be," concludes Dr. Bonior.