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Posted on Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 8 a.m.

Mamas, don't let your daughters dress up to be porn stars

By Jen Eyer


Sassy Cookie Monster: New for 2010 and officially licensed by Sesame Street

“She did it for the cookie.”

That’s the pitch line for “Sexy Cookie Monster,” a new addition this year to the Halloween slutstume market, along with “Sexy Elmo” and “Sassy Big Bird.”

What she did for the cookie — apart from sexualizing a beloved muppet — isn’t clear.

What is clear is that Halloween has jumped the skank.

I realized recently that I no longer feel comfortable taking my kids to the local Halloween costume stores. The walls of costume photos featuring women with pouty faces, ridiculous cleavage and Hustler poses remind me of the old “adult section” of the video store.

Not that I’d actually know what that’s like, of course.

Anyway, what’s worse is the racy costumes are trickling down to the teen and even tween sections.

The descriptions on these costumes make it very clear what the goal of Halloween should be for a young girl.

There’s Officer Bombshell: “You'll have fun pretending to call for back-up on the fake walkie talkie when you get mobbed by all the boys.”

And Hot Firefighter: “This Hot Firefighter costume is smokin'! Are you hot enough to wear it? The fellows will line up to volunteer when you show up in this sassy costume.”

And Major Trouble: “Hey soldier, where do I go to enlist? That's what the fellows will say when they see you in this sassy Major Trouble tween costume!”

I know sexy costumes are nothing new. Back in the '70s my parents threw some awesome Halloween parties, with my mom rocking a French maid outfit. It had a short-ish skirt, lacy apron, and fishnets, but it also had a top that left something to the imagination.

Not so with today’s French maid costumes. I defy you to find one that covers the lady lumps on either end.

I admit that I prefer to wear flattering costumes. You won’t catch me walking around dressed up like a tomato or a clown. Back in college I thought I looked pretty good one year dressed as a kitten, in black leggings and turtleneck with red lips and cat ears.

Now, go Google “cat costume.” I’ll wait here.

Did you do it? Did you notice that the first few entries are for “Cheshire Cat” costumes that would look right at home in an Alice in Wonderland porn parody?


"Sci-Fi Furry Costume"

Lest you think I’m a prude, I’m going to state for the record: I don’t have a problem with grown women dressing as porn characters. Halloween gives everyone an opportunity to be someone else for a while. If it’s your heart’s desire to be Sexy Chewbacca, go for it.

But don’t try to pretend it’s the real deal.

And please, don’t let your girls dress up as porn characters. Don’t let them succumb to the notion that Halloween is all about getting attention from boys. Halloween has a long, rich history; share it with your kids. Tell them how 2,000 years ago people used to wear masks and costumes to mimic or placate evil spirits, and that’s why traditional costumes are based on witches and goblins.

Maybe, when connected with the historical traditions, dressing up like Major Trouble will start to look like the desperate, attention-seeking act that it is.

Jen Eyer is on the Community Team at, and oversees the Parenting and Pets sections. Contact Jen at or 623-2577.



Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 11:22 a.m.

Thank you for bringing this up. Parents, don't be scared to be parents! Impose some limits on your tweens (heaven forbid); it is your job. Talk about why porn outfits pretending to be costumes will not be allowed. Your kids can (and will) wear what they want soon enough. Actually, they will probably be grateful for having had some limits when they were younger. Tweens are still kids. Kids need limits. I've noticed that most college girls wear "slut outfits" on halloween and what can be said about that? It is not that different than what they wear much of the time. But they are adults and free to do whatever they want. I find those costumes boring and unimaginative. But again, adults can make their own decisions. Kids and tweens NEED limits. It's ok, you can still be a "progressive" modern person and still insist your daughter dress and behave with integrity (and your son for that matter).


Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 11:55 a.m.

This all a part of the sexualization of our society, a society where looks trumps intelligence, honor and kindness. Too many women are slaves to fashion and kowtow to popular opinion. Mothers, dressing appropriately is only one part of setting a good example to your children, both boys and girls, but it is important to let all your children know, for example, that sacrificing your feet for high heels is masochism.


Sun, Oct 17, 2010 : 8:15 p.m.

Hey Jen, here's a suggestion - DON'T TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO ADULT COSTUME SHOPS!!!!!!!! Jeez, is this so difficult to figure out? One of the main proprieters behind the seasonal Halloween shops is Spencer's Gifts, which clearly does not cater to an underage crowd. The pirate ho's, sultry genies and sizzling hot witches are costumes that are clearly not intended for the younger set - do you think they expect 12-year-olds to buy the "electric plug" his and hers set? The problem here is that you're taking your daughter to the adult sections of an adult store. There's plenty of tame, age-appropriate stuff at K-Mart and Meijer's. Next year, just take her there and spare us the whining about your offended innocence.

Bill Wilson

Sun, Oct 17, 2010 : 1:45 p.m.

Susan Faludi's book was important, but not in the manner Speechless states. In her book "Who Stole Feminism," Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers effectively debunks (con) Faludi and other victim feminists of the era. From exposing the misuse and outright fabrication of statistics and history, Sommers pounded one of the last nails in their proverbial coffins. One of the more interesting convolutions of Faludi's was the "rule of thumb." According to Faludi, American law was modeled after an old English law that stated that a "man who beat his wife must use a stick no thicker than the diameter of his thumb." This was repeated as Gospel by gender/victim feminists during the early 1990's. However, Sommer's research revealed that the "rule of thumb" was actually a rule of measure used by carpenters and printers in England. It had never been an English (or American) law, and subsequent research clearly showed that it had always been against the law to beat one's wife. The entire claim was an outright lie. Sommers was wrong about one thing: there was a backlash. Unfortunately for the victim feminists, it was against them. Mainstream women knew well the story of the "boy who cried wolf," and rejected their ideas, hence the reason you see the type of sexualization today that this letter to the editor documents.


Sun, Oct 17, 2010 : 8:05 a.m.

Eeewww! These costumes are just plain wrong! Am so tired of the too early and over sexualization of girls and women in media and fashion. Why not let kids be kids and......adults be adults even if they are tacky and look ridiculous?

Annie Zirkel

Sat, Oct 16, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Nice article Jen. But you left out a very important figure here. Papas need to be involved with this too. Dads who are present and tell their daughters that they need to respect themselves have a huge impact on girls taking themselves seriously enough to not cross that line. Have fun sure - just care about yourself enough to have higher standards than Girls Gone Wild. Hope it gets parents listening and talking. Tell your kids about what you think is important and why.


Sat, Oct 16, 2010 : 2:38 a.m.

I know I was shocked when looking thru a costume catalog... I want a cool costume, but don't have the body, or the desire to look like a hooker!


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 5:34 p.m.

I had a student, a 10th grader, who was dressed in her costume at school, as, get this, porn star "Pinky". I had never heard of Pinky, and the costume was not risque in and of itself, but the fact that all the kids recognized and approved of it was unsettling, to say the least. But what do you expect? over half of the middle school students I now teach watch Jersey Shore regularly. Porn, "reality shows", chat rooms, sexting, these things are going on every day and for our kids, the lines between adult and child behavior are beyond blurred.

free form

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 5:11 p.m.

Funny editorial, but really much ado about nothing... I dressed up like a "Rock Star" in elementary school (over 20 years ago) and looking back at the photos it's easy to mistake my leopard mini, big hair and fishnets for a "Street Walker" costume. I wasn't trying to be sexy. I don't think I even knew what sexy was, I just wanted to look like Jem or whoever... Things are no different now. Halloween is NOT just for kids and it's a time when people can feel free to express themselves in ways they might not be able to every other day of the year. I was a nerdy, gawky little girl who wanted to be truly outrageous for one day. If it's all in fun and not taken to the extreme (like the "Sexy Chewbecca" above) I don't see the issue. And for the record, I saw many homecoming dresses this year that were more risque than the "Major Trouble" and "Cookie Monster" photos in this article. If you really think that blue shift dress with knee highs is "too sexy"... you need to lighten up. It's ridiculous looking, but not even close to inappropriate.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 12:16 p.m.



Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 12:15 p.m.

This is why I don't have kids... just a dog. The only thing I had to ponder when buying a costume for my Shih Tzu was "what won't get me bitten?" (It's a glow-in-the-dark skeleton t-shirt that would look even cuter if she would wear the hood, but.... that would get me bitten!)


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 11:28 a.m.

"Halloween is for little kids!" Umm no, it isn't.

Kim Kachadoorian

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 11 a.m.

I went to a job fair recently and was SHOCKED how many people had on what were described by the recruiters as hooker shoes and dresses. Most people dressed appropriately but I was truly shocked at how many had on trashy clothing - one woman even had on those platform, see through plastic spike shoes that twinkled lights every time she walked. At least for a costume you can recognize it is a costume - but I agree - kids shouldn't be exposed to this, I also agree some of the Halloween shops have gone over the edge on their "adult themes."

Rachael Isaacson

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 10:26 a.m.

Great article Jen! Funny and dead-on. If you have a younger crowd on facebook, halloween turns into a profile picture skank fest lol.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 10:06 a.m.

"... Adult trick-or-treaters?" Some time back, when living on a residential street that bordered a student neighborhood, most of the occasional costumed visitors were over the age of 18. (And, true, this article applies somewhat less to that age group.)


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 9:57 a.m.

Many teen girls dress in what look like overly revealing costumes on a daily basis. Moms that allow a 12 year old girl to wear "SEXY" across their butts should have their heads examined. The fact that Halloween costumes for young girls are portraying slutty images shouldn't be a surprise, but a wake-up call that parents (and schools) need to enforce more wholesome clothing standards. If the kids object, TOO BAD!!


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 9:47 a.m.

The only tweens that should dress up are the ones that are escorting the little ones. Halloween is for little kids! What next? Adult trick-or-treaters?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 9:34 a.m.

A lot depends on the age of the girl too. I find it very creepy when a pre-pubescent girl starts trying to be sexy. But it seems normal for older girls to want to dress in a way that will attract boys. I am not entirely sure how one can forbid a girl from dressing in a sexy costume without sending the message that sex is bad or dirty. On the other hand, I hate the message our culture seems to send that the most important thing a girl can be is attractive to boys and I hate seeing girls fall into that mindset.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

"Trends" like this remind yet again of a nearly 20-year-old book that continues to remain more relevant than dated: Susan Faludi's Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. While much of the world trudges slowly in the direction of gender equality and respect, counter-trends emerge in response, maybe inevitably. A general move toward full-personhood is met with increasing social pressure to value appearances. Though "just" for Halloween, when parents go ahead and dress up their kids to openly mimic adult sexualization, it also begins to blur social distinctions between acceptable fashion expression and the far exteme of child porn. Also, special events or longtime traditions that permit play-acting, as well as more imaginative forms of behavior and dress, have a tendency to bring wider social undercurrents closer to the surface.

Milton Shift

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 9:11 a.m.

Ha. Too true. Great article.

Patti Smith

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 8:54 a.m.

Jen, this was a great article! I've also noticed how everything is "sexy" this and that but often "sexy" translate to "trashy". I wanted to be a cheerleader this year, but I didn't want to look like a ho-leader. (I'm just borrowing a uniform from school instead). I'm not quite sure when the pole dancer/porn star lifestyle started being sold so heavily to "tweens" but I sure wish it would stop. (I know, if wishes were horses....)


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 8:18 a.m.

Man, you hit the nail on the head. I like dressing up for Halloween myself but have to create anything I want myself (which is scary enough, thank you) because there's nothing out there to buy that isn't trashy. How sad is this?


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 7:40 a.m.

Is there a sexy "Tickle Me Elmo" costume? I'd wear that!


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 7:17 a.m.

jumped the skank! hilarious!