DVORAK: Time to take the sexy out of Halloween
The sexy pirate wriggled her way between a phalanx of Stormtroopers, linked arms with them and stuck a bare leg out — red carpet style — for a photo.
“Why is she dressed like that?” asked my 9-year-old son, who was waiting in line to take his photo with the Star Wars battalion. “She just looks — disturbing. Pirates don’t dress like that. She’s not even wearing pants.”
Or much else.
It was a moment that won’t last. He’ll come to a different conclusion soon enough.
But at last weekend’s annual Halloween party at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Fairfax County, Va. — the Air and Scare — the sexification of the holiday remained mostly in a galaxy far, far away.
The sexy happy-hour costumes were almost as scarce as pirate lady’s pants. It was a gathering of geeky costumes — perfect Padawans, an orange pool-noodle bowl of mac n’ cheese, Spock covered in Tribbles, Stormtroopers. It was also a reminder of how trashy Halloween has become elsewhere.
This year’s hot-selling costumes online are the Sexy Pizza or Sexy Watermelon slice (minus one strategically placed bite). There’s the Sexy Hamburger and Miley Cyrus’s teddy bear onesie. The models in the Halloween costume catalogue that came in the mail this year showed more flesh than the women of Victoria’s Secret.
I guess that’s inevitable as adults take over a holiday once celebrated primarily by children. This year, about $7 billion will be spent on Halloween in America.
And that’s about a lot more than plastic princess costumes and sacks of Dum Dums.
While kids are being corralled into church parking lots for safe, daylight “trunk” treating and costumes are slowly being banned from schools in the name of safety and political correctness, grown-ups are going all out with rock-star Halloween parties, costumed pub crawls and animatronic house decorations to rival Disney World.
Halloween has become more sexy than scary (and in many cases, both). At least for women.
“In the real world, Halloween is when kids dress up in costumes and beg for candy,” says Cady in the 2004 movie “Mean Girls.” “In Girl World, Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it.”
Maybe it’s time to speak up.
A group called Take Back Halloween has a website with no-sew costume ideas for nonsexualized, empowering female characters such as Artemis, Athena and silent movie actress Anna May Wong — minus the pushup bra.
They are trying to answer the onslaught of commercial costumes that look more like outfits from a Frederick’s of Hollywood store.
The most popular costume sellers have peeled off their most extreme lingerie-style get-ups in a “Sexy Costumes” section, just in case the fishnet-stocking paratrooper in the regular “Women’s Costume” section was too tame. That’s where you’ll find Spice Channel Ernie, Hard-core Pippi Longstocking and S&M ninja.
Maybe adults are taking over Halloween because it’s the one night of the year to express your innermost self, to let your freak flag fly. And sexy happens to be the one thing they can’t be the rest of the year. But the problem, according to many parents I’ve talked to in the past couple weeks, is that sexy Halloween is becoming part of kid world.
In the same breath that we weirdly stop letting the kids go trick-or-treating (the razor blade in candy was an urban myth!) we start letting little girls wear micro-skirts and corsets to depict vampires.
The same costume sellers that sell the sexy banana dress to grown women market platform heels and plunging necklines to tweens and younger. The girls’ Oscar the Grouch costume doesn’t resemble a furry, ratty green monster. It’s a slip of a dress modeled with high heels. They call the jutted hip on the girl model “sassy,” just to be safe.
The really funny thing? Nowhere on any of those “Sexy” pages is there a costume for men. Hmm.
Guess the guy wearing a shirt that he ironed himself, carrying the groceries he bought without having to be asked, on his way home to do the vacuuming isn’t a big seller.