What Some Parents Think Is Appropriate This Halloween Will Really Scare You

It’s a time of year that kids revel in.  There are many wonderful activities in the fall for adults and children alike, not the least of which is Halloween.

Children look forward to picking out their costumes to go trick-or-treating with great anticipation, and thanks to the constant stream of television and online characters, there are literally thousands to choose from.

But it appears the innocent costumes of yesteryear are becoming obsolete, replaced by all types of representations of pop culture figures, liberal celebrities, and tasteless puns – and some of these children’s costumes are so inappropriate and offensive, you’ll wonder, “What were they thinking?”

During this time of political and racial tension in our country, there is a great deal of discussion going on in schools and on college campuses about making appropriate choices with Halloween costumes.

The Globe and Mail reported on one school board in Ontario who felt they needed to remind parents about keeping the innocence of Halloween:

The guidelines e-mailed to parents…come amid debate of whether costume-policing is violating free expression. Supporters, however, say that costumes could cross the line to sexism, racism and appropriating culture, often from marginalized or economically disadvantaged communities, in a disrespectful and offensive way.

In its guidelines, titled “Is My Costume Appropriate?” the school district stated that costumes worn to school should be respectful of its diverse student population. “Sometimes, even with good intent, or even without fully realizing it, people wear costumes that can make others feel upset, insulted or humiliated,” the board stated. “Certain themes are touchy spots for members of our community and we want to show them kindness.”

One would think that common sense would prevail when it comes to what is appropriate for children, but that does not appear to be the case.  Sadly, many parents dress up their little ones in offensive or inappropriate costumes thinking it is “funny” or “they are too young to know the difference.”

But imagine what your child will think when they look back at photos of them dressed in demoralizing or offensive costumes.  Will it be funny to them then?

From U.S. News and World Report:

While some costumes are clearly offensive to all, not everyone agrees where the boundaries should lie. John Leo, who edits an online magazine about higher education for the Manhattan Institute, a conservative research group, characterized some of the colleges’ guidelines as “hypersensitivity to rules.”

“If you deal directly in stereotypes, you’re bound to irritate people,” Mr. Leo said. “But a lot of what passes for appropriation is simply normal costuming for Halloween, and I think that there’s a lot of oversensitivity to it. If it doesn’t seem mean or exploitative, I don’t see what the problem is.”

While our First Amendment right to freedom of speech and self-expression is to be cherished, many adults go out of their way to find offensive costumes – for themselves and their children.  And when it comes to dressing up our infants and toddlers to make a statement, many of these costumes cross the line.

This year, some of the offensive ideas being offered online are a cigarette or marijuana leaf costume for young infants.Also on social media are many other ideas not appropriate for children: a Holocaust victim,

gang members,

and serial killers or other criminal figures who have been in the news.

And many children’s costumes outright demean and degrade young girls, sexualizing even the youngest toddlers and preschoolers.  Other costumes depict characters who are children but are made into “sexy” variations for teen girls and young women.

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Timeless characters like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, Alice (in Wonderland), and Little Red Riding Hood have all fallen prey to being sexualized in costumes that degrade women and girls. Or imagine dressing your infant girl as one of the Hooters waitresses – it’s hard to find anything funny about that.

And then there are the depictions of the “Cash me outside” girl, referring to Danielle Bregoli, a young teen who was 13-years-old when she became a social media sensation last year.  The teen has a criminal record, assaulted her own mother, and appeared on the Dr. Philshow as part of a segment on getting help with unruly kids — and now there is a costume for infant girls giving more attention to her inappropriate behavior.

While we want to avoid the liberal ideology of being “offended by everything,” we also need to be aware that when our children are young, it is our job as parents to teach them good values like modesty and compassion.

Many of these tasteless costumes portray characters or cultural figures that our children have never heard of.  Obviously, at that point, our costume choice for our children becomes about our views and opinions, and not what the child is interested in.

When it comes to this year’s Halloween costume for your little one, let their interests be your guide, not an adult’s idea of something that may seem funny.  Keep in mind their age and what little they know and comprehend about the world.  Some good suggestions are animals, robots, and age-appropriate storybook characters.

What are your thoughts on these inappropriate costumes for children? Leave us your comments.