Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Sluts

Let me take this blog down a notch, away from writing and toward the gutter. Halloween was this past Saturday. Love Halloween, always have. Is there a connection between enjoying a holiday based around subterfuge and disguise and being a mystery writer? I dunno. Let’s say there is, and that I was the first one to point it out.

But that’s not why I’m writing. I’m writing because I’m the mother of a bright, beautiful, funny, clever 11-year-old girl, and when we went costume shopping, all the costumes were some version of “Halloween Slut”: naughty nurse, candy corn concubine, wanton witch. Want to portray a strong, interesting character? Too bad. You’re a girl. Strap on the fishnets and get to work.

My daughter bucked it all and made her own Penelope costume, based on the pig-nosed girl character in the movie. She was warm, and she got to smile a lot because she didn’t have to worry about her belly hanging out or her skirt being too short. But can’t we as a culture do better? Can we boycott the short, tight, mono-boob-creating female costumes and embrace creativity on this of all holidays?

By the way, I was an elven warrior, and I meant it. Tell me what your favorite costume was this year so we can carry those warm thoughts with us right up until next Halloween.

22 comments:

Paul Lamb said...

...except you're not the daughter of an eleven year old girl...

canyonson said...

I can see where you could feel like "the daughter" when it comes to helping your children do anything.

Lisa Bork said...

I went Halloween costume shopping with my daughter, too. She tried lots of costumes, many as you described. Then Mom said, "I'm not paying for that." We got the Eskimo girl costume: long sleeves and hood, quite warm when worn with boots, plenty of coverage, cute. Next year she says she's wearing flannel pajamas and fuzzy slippers--I'm all for that!

My pet peeve this Halloween was the dads chaperoning their trick or treaters with a beer in hand. It's a kids' day: candy and costumes. Why is dad wandering around like wino, minus the paper bag, when he should be carrying a flashlight to show his kid the safe path??

Jess Lourey said...

Oy, thanks for catching that, Paul! And thank you for understanding, canyonson. :)

Lisa, maybe their costume was "Al Bundy?" Cheers to the Eskimo girl!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Ah, Jess, it's like you read my mind, and I'm not anyone's mother.

I don't get trick or treaters where I live, but in the high rise office building where I work a lot of the offices allowed their employees to dress up on Friday. Our office didn't - whew! It amazed me how many grown-ass women came to work in our building (which is in a swanky part of town on the edge of Beverly Hills)dressed likes Hos and Crack Heads with torn fish nets, non-existent skirts, and butts and boobs almost fully exposed. One very plump woman was dressed like a tennis diva with skin tight leggings and a sports bra that hid NOTHING.

It's like Halloween has become an excuse for women to expose their inner skank in public. So no wonder the costumes for girls lean in the same direction.

BTW, I feel the same way about how some women wear renaissance faire costumes. Do they really need to pull down the front of their dress THAT far?

I guess I'm just a cranky, unhip old woman.

Jen Chandler said...

I agree completely! I was browsing the costumes for myself and refused to wear any of them! I ended up dressing like Professor Trelawny from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Used all my own clothes so I didn't have to buy a thing. Not so sure that's a good thing that I have clothes that make excellent fodder for a crazy fortune teller costume, but it worked :)

Jen

Jess Lourey said...

Sue Ann, cranky and unhip is the new hip. Let's raise a toast to women who allow you to acknowledge their brains before their boobs (not that I am letting culture and specifically popular media off the hook for stoking this problem through constant repetition of the idea that a woman has to be beautiful to be worthwhile, sexually available to be appealing).

Jess Lourey said...

Haha, Jen! That's awesome. In perusing my closet, I think I'm all lined up to be "Crazy Cat Lady" next year. Thanks for the tip. :)

G.M. Malliet said...

My area seems to have escaped this noxious trend. One block of our town is designated for trick-or-treaters, and they tend to be very young (think babies in strollers dressed as ladybugs and bumblebees, most of them sound asleep) attended by well-behaved adults. They might be carrying a glass of wine, yes, but they're well behaved.

The sheriff's office babysits, too, which probably helps. They were worried this year because Halloween fell on a Saturday, but it all was the kind of wholesome entertainment everyone wishes for.

I am VERY glad not to have a young daughter these days, and not just on Halloween. Their only role models, seems to me, are not worth imitating. Paris Hilton? Please.

I am joining Sue Ann in the cranky old lady corner.

Jess Lourey said...

Gin, I love that image of a herd of drowsy ladybugs and bumblebees buzzing through your neighborhood with heavy heads and bobbing antennae.

Keith Raffel said...

I was driving back from signings in LA on Halloween, but my 13-year old stayed in costume till I got home after 10. She was a pepper shaker and her friend was salt. Her hat with the the three round pieces of cardboard glued on the top was hilarious.

Alan Orloff said...

Hey, some of my best friends are Hos and Crackheads!

This year, I donned my usual costume: unkempt cranky old guy. Not much preparation needed.

We got a total of 3 trick-or-treaters, all under 5 years old: 2 princesses (fully clothed) and a generic superhero.

Jess Lourey said...

Keith, how do you have time to comment while on your whirlwind tour? How's it going? And I love the creativity of your daughter's costume.

Jess Lourey said...

Alan, do you specialize in the fist-shaking while wearing a terry-cloth robe so worn that it's shiny? Have we had this conversation before?

Carolyn said...

FYI, when I visited a Halloween store last week I recognized most of the women's costumes...I had seen them at the local porn shop. I'm NOT kidding.

Cricket McRae said...

Good for you and good for your daughter! Last time I outfitted a girl with a costume she wanted to be a pirate. It was a blast putting it all together.

Then she turned goth and every day was Halloween...

Jess Lourey said...

I believe it, Carolyn! Somebody should do a study. Or we can just all be like Alan and shake our fists at it.

Cricket, I'm actually a fan of goth kids. When they make it to college, where I teach, I find them to be interesting people who ask the curious questions (when I can get them to speak). But pirates are good, too! Arrrr. Are they a gateway costume?

Q: How much did the pirate pay to get his ears pierced?
A: A buccaneer.

Cricket McRae said...

Groan. ; - ) You SO have kids to know that joke. The little goth is an awesome kid, er, woman. God, I'm old.

I bet you were an outstanding elf. Do you have pics?

Alan Orloff said...

Hah. A buccaneer. I get it.

No robe for me. T-shirt and boxers with black slippers. And I'm more the mumbly, grumbly curmudgeon. No fists.

jbstanley said...

Can you say flexible? Jeez! She IS Wonder Woman!

Jess Lourey said...

Haha, JB! Way to focus on the positive.

StevenP said...

Jess--how hilarious that you mention Penelope! I saw it for the first time just this past Tuesday evening, and LOVED that film!