As we approach Halloween, my daughter, Melody, has been very concerned about what kind of costume she wants. We've run through a number of ideas, including all of the typical standards, such as a witch, a fairy, an angel, and a vampire. They're all still on the table, but she still can't decide.
We went out to one of those seasonal Halloween costume stores to look around and get ideas. My daughter is very tall for her age, and she can't fit into the kid's costumes, so we had to look at the costumes designed for teens. I was very disappointed to see that pretty much EVERY costume was more "sexy" than scary. I can't put into words how inappropriate I feel this is. Once again, our society has taken what should be an innocent, fun occasion and turned the focus onto sex, which teens, especially boys, need no extra help to think about. So I'm frustrated, because we need to find something appropriate for my daughter's age, and as far as what we've seen that's available commercially, we're not having much luck.
My mother was the creative type, so when we were kids, she enjoyed making costumes for us. She had quite a few unusual ideas. One of my favorites was a robot. It was made out of boxes and aluminum foil. Literally, it was one large box (the "body") with a smaller box on top (the "head"), with holes cut out for the eyes, wires for antennae, a couple more boxes for feet, and aluminum foil "gloves" for hands. As a kid, I was pretty thrilled with it, even though, by today's standards, it was pretty ridiculous looking. But it was easily my favorite costume of my childhood.
As I got older, Halloween was a bit different, and I would get together with my buddies to trick-or-treat. There was usually a theme to our costume choices, and we would all dress the same. We might all go as superheroes, or a group of vampires. One year, a bunch of the guys thought it would be fun to dress in drag. I went as far as trying on a costume for that one, but after spending an hour trying to put on a pair of pantyhose, I gave up and decided that one wasn't going to fly. How the heck do women wear those things?
Later, I would help my dad scare the neighborhood trick-or-treaters who came to our house. Dad really got into Halloween. He had a scary headless stuffed guy sitting in a chair on the front porch. Kids never knew whether there was anyone in the outfit or not. We had scary sound effects, and Dad wore a scary costume when he answered the door. It was a lot of fun. I helped by hiding in our large tree in the front yard, wearing a scary costume. As the trick-or-treaters left our house, they'd have to walk right under the tree. I would shake the branches, and when they looked up, I would turn on a flash light and yell, which would send them screaming down the sidewalk. It was awesome!
As I got older, I kind of left Halloween behind, but returned to it when I began to be invited to a co-worker's big annual Halloween bash and costume party. I can honestly say that I had never been to anything quite like it. I had a pretty good costumes for those parties. Among my favorites was Santa Claus, which was a big hit, and the Invisible Man (I wore a suit, trench coat, and ace bandages around my face with a pair of mirrored sunglasses). As a 20-something single guy, it amazed me then what kinds of costumes the young women were wearing, everything from the French maid to the Cat in the Hat, which consisted of a tight black body suit and red and white hat, with whiskers. Not much mystery to those costumes, not that I was complaining.
Which takes me back again to these costumes for teen girls. At least the women at those parties were adults. There really is no reason for teens to wear these types of costumes. And it scares me that this is what society deems appropriate, when it clearly is not. So we'll keep searching. I may have to go the homemade route, like Mom used to do. I might be able to find some old boxes. I wonder how my daughter would like being a robot...?
Have a great evening, everyone.