It’s Not Just Little Girls, Where Do Moms Go To Find PG-13 Halloween Costumes?

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Halloween is a special time where parents, being dragged by their excited totts, squint at Halloween costumes and wonder what went wrong. A 9-year-old’s request to be a jeanie or a fairy has ultimately been turned into an opportunity to sell lingerie while your 6-year-old wants you to glue on her pasties for her Little Mermaid costume.

It’s a disheartening holiday that seems to tell girls at younger and younger ages that Halloween is about wearing less and strutting about in “sassy” costumes. Although I believe in adult women’s decisions to dress as provocatively as they wish on Halloween, it’s primarily that –  a decision, not an imperative. But walking into Halloween stores to buy your own getup for the kid’s Halloween party, you too may have noticed that there isn’t much about the shelves for you either that doesn’t attempt to turn you into somebody’s fantasy.

Every Halloween costume these days can be sexualized, it seems. There is no point in being a pirate if you’re not going to be a sexy pirate. If you want to be nurse, then of course that costumes comes with thigh-high knee socks. Even if you decide to drop humans all together and opt for something demure, like say a unicorn? That costume choice isn’t exactly safe either. And before you ask, there are all kinds of inanimate objects that have been sexified too. Including bananas, pictured here.

Although I’ve been well aware of highly sexualized costumes for girls, I didn’t realize what dire straights adult women’s costumes were in too until last Halloween when I chose the simplest costume probably ever. I wanted to be a ballerina. And not a dead ballerina or a zombie ballerina with stitches across my forehead. Just a ballerina. With the pink leotard and tutu and everything.

Surely, I assumed, such a simple costume would already be packaged and ready to go. But I was disappointed to learn on mere days before Halloween that all “dancer costumes” had been given the same sexy treatment with skimpy tutus and low-cut leotards. I blamed myself for not organizing my costume earlier and for relying on general Halloween stores to give me what I wanted.

But as I combed through trunks of old tutus in Brooklyn, I wondered what more modest mothers do in such scenarios. I’m not running around trying to find costumes for multiple kids while also organizing Halloween parties and trick-or-treating routes. I have the time to visit multiple thrift stores in the hopes of procuring all those necessary pieces, but many people, especially mothers, do rely on those pre-packaged Halloween costumes come Halloween time. Many mothers I know barely get their kids’ costumes together in time, let alone have much time to consider their own.

Working mothers I’m sure toss that sexy Nemo costume into their basket and say that they’ll deal with it. A sexy raccoon costume can be modified. A sexy Big Bird is fine. And while many mothers I know simply recycle the same cat or witch costume year in and year out, upon shopping for my own new Halloween costume every year as an adult woman, I can see why.