Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Halloween! You Know, For Kids?

"I like to feel sexy. I know my husband thinks I'm sexy. I think he is too. But I don't go out half-naked with 'sex' written across my back."--Catherine Zeta-Jones 
Okay, I'm going to get a little bit ranty today, and I'm not even going to attempt to apologize for it. This weekend, I found myself on a mission that left me frustrated, angry, and, quite frankly, insulted. I think you probably know where this is going. My Mission: find a Halloween costume. Current Mission Status: Failed.
In an earlier blog, I posted that I was going to attempt to put together a Doctor Who Amy Pond "Kissogram" (cutesy police officer) cosplay outfit. It consisted of a long-sleeved white blouse, checkered ascot, black mini-skirt, black stockings, sensible shoes, and a swat vest. I was good up until I got to swat vest, and that's where the whole thing became just way too darn expensive and more trouble than it was worth. Maybe if another trip to Comic-Con comes up I'll give it another go, but it was too much hassle for Candy Duty. I figured I'd pick up a costume at one of the local party supply/Halloween shops and call it a day. 
As I said, I'm going to be handing out candy to the urchins, so I decided to look in the pretty witch/Disney Princess/superhero sections. The yard will be kind of scary, so I wanted to choose something fairly non-threatening so that tiny Tinkerbelles and Thomas the Tank Engines wouldn't be too afraid to take their treats. I had a Little Red Riding Hood costume from a few years ago, but it was more on the "sassy" (*industry term for "sexy") side, with a shorter skirt and lower neckline than I thought appropriate for dealing with little kids. It was fine for the party I wore it to, but there's a time and a place for everything.
So...this weekend, I marched to the seasonal section of the party supply chain, gazed up at the wall o' costumes, and realized almost instantaneously that I had a serious problem. You see, not only could I not find anything appropriate to wear around children, I had a hard time finding anything that wouldn't get me arrested! I enjoy a mini-skirt as much as the next girl (see: Amy costume), but a few costumes didn't even bother with skirts...or pants...or tops, in some cases. My trip to the actual Halloween store wasn't any better, either. I thought that with more inventory would come more selection. I was wrong. I looked at costumes with bandeau tops, corsets with garters, and a couple that were shirts that came down just far enough to cover your butt. Maybe. If you don't sit down or have to bend over for anything. By the way, these were not the costumes from lingerie companies, or the brands that specialize in "sassy" costumes. These were the mainstream pretty witch, Disney Princess, and superhero costumes. I have to say, a little piece of my childhood died when I saw a Belle "ballgown" with garters and thigh highs, and I only thought that my Little Red Riding Hood costume was "sassy". I saw one with a ripped midriff and teeny-tiny belt of a skirt that made me want to hug my mid-thigh length dress. There was a "sassy" Hermione. That's wrong on so many levels, I can't even begin. Thomas dubbed a couple of the outfits "for indoor use only", if you catch his drift. Both of us were just flabbergasted.
Now, I would be remiss not to mention the few costumes that weren't completely skanky. There was the nun costume--although that is also available in a "sassy" version--a few ill-fitting, Morticia Addams-esque, black sheaths, and the one non-"sassy" pretty witch costume I could find. It was utterly shapeless, and I could have used it as a tent. 
By the time I threw in the towel, I was beyond dejected. Was I just overly prudish? I didn't think so. I've worn theatrical costumes that covered less. I also believe in dressing for your body type, so I normally try to wear clothes that show off my curves and waistline. That said, it's important to dress for the occasion. Were this a party, then yeah, I might be more inclined to pull out my Little Red Riding Hood costume (not that other...thing). However, this is for kids, so that would be inappropriate...ARGH!!!!!!!!! 
I thought, "I must be in the minority, because there's nothing!" Then I realized what really bugged me: What if I'm not? There is no choice. If you want to dress in a "sassy" style, then by all means, go right ahead. Just allow me the opportunity to dress in something that is comfortable to me, as well. Right now, that's not a possibility. Who knows if I'm in the minority. There could be way more girls who hate this "sassy" trend than like it, but we don't know because the only costumes available are "sassy". At this point, the only options are go "sassy" or go home. And I got mad.
Then something caught my attention--a very pretty, late-twenties blonde with a cute figure, absolutely laying into a party supply store employee:
"All of these are skanky! Don't you have anything that isn't completely slutty?"
The employee (male) tried to counter with, "most girls like to dress like that for Halloween," which went over about as well as you'd think.
The thing is, the employee had nothing to suggest to our young lady, other than she might have more luck online (where you can't try anything on), and to keep pointing out that most girls like to dress up like sluts for Halloween. I piped in to let the girl know that I was in the same boat she was, then we both left empty-handed. Later, I went online to see the rest of the selection, and was just as let down. There is more stuff to choose from, but it's more of the same. Unless you want a $150 theatrical quality costume, you're pretty much stuck with "sassy". I just want to know, which came first: the stereotype that girls use Halloween as an opportunity to dress slutty, or the reality that those are the only women's Halloween costumes available?

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