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When I was a kid, I LOVED Halloween. It was a time where you could be creative, every kid loves trick or treating, haunted houses are still fun and I used to really enjoy scary movies, the scarier the better.
Back then; most kids had a costume that their mother put together and people had to be a little more creative. I was a black cat several times, a ballerina at least twice and a dwarf (as in Snow White). Ok, so we weren’t that creative.
Since then, the trend has been moving towards purchasing costumes. I get it! I’m not gifted with a sewing machine (I have a mutilated blanket to prove it) and it can be difficult to get a kid to decide on a costume in enough time to actually make one in time for Halloween.
In addition to trends moving towards store bought costumes from homemade costumes another trend had started…. A few years ago I went to a costume shop looking for fake skin (I was a zombie) and while I waited for my friend to find what she needed I strolled through the isles and was overwhelmed with what I saw. I realized that most of the little girl and teen/tween costumes were SEXY!! I looked around at the little girls in the isles around me and wondered why on earth a little girl would need to have a short skirt, fishnet stockings and bare midriff! Are we looking to give predators a preview? Are we trying to reinforce the idea that women are more valuable when they are sexy/attractive/alluring? Are we grooming little girls for a world where they have to compete with other women with their sexuality?
What happened to clowns, witches, goblins? Now, little girl costumes are scary for a totally different reason. Every year I hope that the trends will start to move the other way and ever year I’m disappointed. I found these tonight….
I have NEVER met a cop that looked like that!!
And I have seen The Wizard of Oz several times, I don't remember the Scarecrow was showing off his clavicle.
I was pleased to find some that were totally age appropriate like a Ghostbuster’s costume a Rey costume (Star Wars) and a toddler girl’s Dory costume. But when you sort by the most popular costumes, what comes up is fitted, short skirts and heels.
We send boys and young men confusing messages when we send our daughters out into the world scantily clad and tell them not to look, not to be curious and not to say anything. No, I am absolutely not condoning anyone putting their hands on anyone else or shaming women about their bodies. I'm saying that I understand why some young men and women are confused about the role that sexuality should and could play in their lives. It is difficult to tell young men to treat women and girls with respect when so many of their role models in the media don't and we parade our daughters with their bodies on display.
One of the things I love about Halloween is the opportunity to be creative and stretch yourself in a new direction. “Sexy” is a direction women have their entire adult lives to try out. My challenge to parents is to make sure that they protect their daughters (and sons) by making sure that the direction includes modesty.
As the New Year creeps up on us, a lot of people start to take stock of the last year and their lives. Last year, I watched an interview with Bronnie Ware, author of “The Top Five Regrets of the Dearly Departing” that really stuck with me.
Bronnie worked in palliative care and she spent eight years listening, learning and journaling about what she gained. In the end, writes about five common regrets of the people she cared for:
In the end, what will you regret? Will it be that you didn't have the perfect house or that you weren't the perfect weight? Or will it be that you didn't have the relationship with yourself and others that you longed for?
This year when you are taking stock of 2016, and adding 2017's 'to do list,' I would challenge you to think about the wishes of those that have gone before us.