When I was a kid – once I was old enough to have an opinion – my mom and I would figure out my Halloween costume together, based on whatever I wanted to be combined with whatever we could make or scrounge up from around the house. The earliest costume I remember was a clown costume that my mom hand-made, cute as can be. I think I even got two years of wear out of that if I remember correctly. I was a rock star one year (sort of modeled on Cyndi Lauper); I was a gypsy. She bought me exactly one costume that I remember – one year I was Smurfette, with the vinyl smock and suffocating plastic mask that you couldn’t see or talk through. The other years, she may have bought some make-up or accessories to really make the costume, but Halloween was largely NOT an expensive venture. I had a blast, I got awesome candy, life was good.
What happened to that? I was talking to a co-worker today, and we were discussing a customer service SNAFU regarding her oldest daughter’s Halloween costume. The little girl saw I Dream of Jeannie for the first time recently, and she decided she wanted to go as Jeannie, which is adorable. And hard to make from scratch, I get that. So my co-worker ordered a costume, and when it came, the child’s small was large enough for my petite friend to wear herself. Enter terrible customer service regarding getting an appropriate replacement in time for Halloween. Anyway. She was now planning to go out and search nearby stores in the hope of finding something similar or, barring that, at least something girly enough for her girly little girl. I did a quick internet search to see if I could find any costume sites doing last-minute sales involving free overnight shipping or something to help her out. No dice, but I was astounded at what I did find – small children’s Halloween costumes that cost a friggin’ FORTUNE.
I mean, your kids at that age, the chances they can even fit into the same costume from one year to the next is really slim, right? So you really shouldn’t spend that much. Maybe $20, if that. Or hope someone gives you a costume their kid outgrew. I discovered that the average cost of a child’s Halloween costume these days is $30 to $40, and some go even higher – as evidenced by the one to the right that I found that’s over $80. WHAT?! Seriously??? Who spends that much on a costume their kid is going to wear one time?
In addition to retarded-expensive kids’ costumes, I found some seriously creepy costumes intended for teenagers/preteens (I HATE HATE HATE the word “tween”). They are largely really, really slutty – the idea of a 12-year-old in most of these costumes makes me shudder, though honestly there are a not-insignificant number of them for small children as well, which exponentially worse – I found one that’s actually called the “Pirate Hottie Tween Costume.” With fishnet leggings and a mini-dress, like all authentic pirate ladies. Um. Besides the fact that I honestly think the word “tween” in this context should be barred forever from the English language, the words “hottie” and “tween” should NEVER be used together. Ever. Talk about creepy. And people pay $30 for this disturbing thing. EW, girl, ew.
This is all a bit bothersome to me. If I ever have kids, I think I’ll try to make a tradition of the creative cobbling together of costumes for as long as I can. Maybe if we make it a big deal, like an annual family craft project, we can avoid the pleas to dress like Hannah Montana or whatever brainwashing horror is popular at that time. Am I over-reacting? Is $80 a perfectly normal amount to pay for a kid’s costume, and do you guys find the “Pirate Hottie Tween” to be meh? Or am I right in being astounded and creeped out?