While Christmas gets most of the glory as best-loved holiday, for me Halloween is tops. I love fall and the crisp cool days. I love to see Halloween decorations. (Although ironically, I do not like horror movies or gory stuff. I’m all about the campy Monster Mash fun!) And I especially love Halloween costumes!
When I was a kid, my mom was super into Halloween and undertook creating and implementing costumes very seriously. The only time in my life I can ever remember my mom sewing me anything was the year she made me a white cat costume (think: pink bunny costume from A Christmas Story, only a cat), which I absolutely adored. Then there were “realistic” witches (with props) and other traditional Halloween costumes. My personal favorite was when I went as Cyndi Lauper, during the height of her She’s So Unusual success (I was a huge fan — still am!). We did the whole thing right — layers of tulle for a skirt. Ripped up t-shirt (a corset was a little weird for a kid). My mom spray painted my hair with all kinds of colors and created a huge bouffant. Plus all the jewelry, shoes, makeup… everything needed to complete an awesome Cyndi costume! (I won a costume contest, too.)
Now that I am a mother, I find I am experiencing my joy of Halloween in a whole new way. My daughter will be 17 months by Halloween, so she won’t remember this year (or last). But I think it’s great to start now. After all, these are my memories, too! And I am relishing my years of being able to dress her in anything I want, including doing family ensemble costumes. (Let’s face it, that’s not going to happen very many times!)
So, it’s been more than a little irritating as this feminist mother goes out in search of Halloween costumes fit for a smart, brave, silly, happy little toddler. Since I don’t sew, I don’t have the option to make from scratch a costume for my girl. But as I search the shelves of local stores and online vendors, I am both frustrated and, sometimes, outraged by what I find.
Since it’s hard to predict the weather — October in the desert can be unseasonably warm or quite chilly — I’m trying to find a costume that can work in layers, if necessary. I found a cute little ladybug costume that seemed to fit the bill. It’s silly fun. It’s got the option to add more layers underneath if it’s cold. It doesn’t require face paint or a mask, both of which would be impossible with a toddler. And, while you could argue that a ladybug is feminine, I would argue that there must be male ladybugs or the species would not continue. The ladybug costume does present some different options for the themed, family costumes, too. I have a bee costume already so we could all go as different bugs, but thought it would be fun to dress as a ladybug, like my daughter. So, I set out to find an adult ladybug costume. How hard could it be?
Well, on the one hand, there are adult ladybug costumes. On the other hand, I would not be caught dead going trick-or-treating wearing this:
Don’t get me wrong. If there is someone out there who wants to dress as a sexy ladybug fairy person, go for it! (In fact, I’ve found at least four versions of the sexy ladybug, including one that has lights.) Have a good time! But I am planning trips to the pumpkin patch, trick-or-treating and other family style activities with my daughter. So, I do not want to be wearing a plunging neckline and thigh-highs. That is not what I want in the family photo of Halloween 2011. So, where’s my silly ladybug costume? And don’t tell me it doesn’t exist, because I found it online.
The real TMF here is how much the Halloween marketing machine has veered toward sexy and scary costumes and left out a still quite viable (and lucrative) segment of the market. (In fact, one of the Halloween stores I went to had a terrified little girl outside, crying to her mom to not go inside because it was too scary.) After all, what’s more Halloween than going trick-or-treating? This is a holiday that’s ALL about the kids! I’m not saying that the pendulum has to swing wildly the other way and make it only about family stuff. Keep the sexy stuff. Keep the scary stuff, if that’s your thing. Just don’t lose the family and kid stuff in the process!
And while we’re at it: Enough with the sexist costumes!