An excellent article from Gerald’s blog on the “Halloween Industry” and the early sexualization of little girls, so good that I have posted it in its entirety:

I’m far from liking the Little House on the Prairie outfits one sometimes sees, in particular at Latin Masses (you know, mother and 5 daughters wearing the same 19th century outfit), but it doesn’t bother me of course. However, when reading something like this Washington Post article I feel like gathering an angry mob and rounding up the people responsible. Turning little girls into “sluts” for Halloween. And many of the girls totally are sold on it. Can’t blame ’em, given how everything just screams slut in the entertainment industry. Classy eroticism is dead, mind you, no one gets that anymore I suppose. Instead, the aesthetics of strippers have triumphed. Fake t*ts, fake lips, fake smile. Lips like someone just smacked ’em. Americans in particular tend towards the grotesque in plastic surgery (Burt Reynolds has become Asian, eg).

It all trickles down, thanks to clever marketing, until even the six year olds want to look like some brainless skank on tv. From the Mickey Mouse club to the stripper pole to rehab.

Gabby Cirenza wanted to be a referee for Halloween. The outfit she liked had a micro-mini black skirt and a form-fitting black and white-striped spandex top held together with black laces running up the flesh-exposing sides. She looked admiringly at the thigh-high black go-go boots that could be bought as an accessory. And she thought the little bunny on the chest was cute.

“Absolutely not,” said her mother, Cheryl. “That is so not happening.”

Gabby is 11.

And the Playboy Racy Referee costume was only the latest that her mother had vetoed one pre-Halloween-crazed afternoon at Party City in Baileys Crossroads as too skimpy, too revealing, too suggestive .

Bawdy Halloween costumes, however, have become the season’s hottest sellers in recent years. Not just for women, but for girls, too. And parents such as Cirenza don’t like it.

Gabby eyed the Sexy Super Girl but decided against it. A friend at her Catholic school had worn that costume for a Halloween parade and pulled the already short miniskirt way up to cover her tummy. “That didn’t look very good.” But Gabby did like the Aqua Fairy, a vampy get-up with a black ripped-up skirt, black fishnet tights and blue bustier that comes in medium, large and preteen. A medium fits a child of 8.


How about the Funky Punk Pirate Pre-Teen, with an off-the-shoulder blouse and bare midriff?


Gabby pointed to the Fairy-Licious Purrrfect Kitty Pre-Teen, which, according to the package, includes a “pink and black dress with lace front bodice and sassy jagged skirt with tail. . . . Wings require some assembly.”

Cheryl Cirenza shook her head in exasperated disbelief. “This is all so inappropriate. It’s really disturbing,” she said, eyeing a wall of such girl and preteen costumes as Major Flirt in army green, the bellybutton-baring Devilicious and a sassy, miniskirted French Maid, pink feather duster included. She’d just turned down her 13-year-old daughter’s request for a Sexy Cop outfit. “When I was their age, I was a bunch of grapes.”

But that was back in the days when Halloween was still a homemade kind of holiday, when an old sheet with eyeholes was a perfectly acceptable ghost and clumsily carved pumpkins on the front porch were about as elaborate as the decorations got. Now, Halloween is big business. Americans are expected to spend upwards of $5 billion this year on candy, ghoulish decorations and costumes. And the hottest trend in costumes, retailers say, is sexy. And young.

Fishnet tights, once associated with smoky cabarets or strip joints, now come in girls’ sizes and cost $3.99.

On another aisle, a frazzled Kathy Rafferty was doing her best to fend off her 6-year-old daughter Grace’s choices. Grace liked the Mega Star costume, with a tiny bandeau top, bare midriff and low-slung sparkle pants. And she thought the Runway Diva in leopard skin, big sunglasses and knee-high boots was cool.

Meanwhile, Shawn Bailey was trying not to lose it as her 11-year-old daughter Da’Nesha Holmes picked out a costume. Her son had found his Darth Vader costume, and her baby had her Baby Bratz pink kitty outfit. But Da’Nesha was too tall for most of the girl costumes, and her mother was having none of the rest. Bar Wench. Cocktail Hunny. The half-angel, half-devil Naughty & Nice.

Da’Nesha pointed to Costume 529, Hot Flash, a nurse with thigh-high garters.

“No. You need something for you,” Bailey said, sighing. “You’re a little girl.”

I have been working on a short essay for the blog on the sexualization of children and, while I thought it would take a couple of days, I have been confounded by the subject to the point that I was about to give up on it.  Everything about it is so  gross.  

But stories like this give me a reason to carry on.  Look for it in the coming week or so.