Marybeth: “Sexy Kim Kardashian” this year’s hot costume?
There’s a line in the movie Mean Girls that explains the modern era of Halloween:
“In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”
Hat tip to my daughters Kate and Betsy, who know the script to that film word for word.
The photo of Kim Kardashian trying on Halloween costumes reminded me of that line, and as well of a column a wrote four years ago about adults hijacking the holiday for their own, immature and oddly sexual purposes. It’s from 2008, so the numbers for Halloween spending are expected to be higher this time around, according to the latest survey. Still, the sentiment is the same…
I’m loath to offend anyone, but given the statistics I just read, I’m heading that way with every sentence.
So here’s my disclaimer: If you happen to be one of those adults who loves Halloween and gets into the spirit of things – to the point of dressing in costume, for example – this column is not about you per se. It’s about those other adults.
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, spending for Halloween festivities is predicted to go up as “consumers look to escape everyday realities.”
Makes perfect sense to me. We’re in the midst of an economic crisis unlike any other in history, so what do America’s adults do to take the edge off?
Why, spend more on Halloween, of course.
The average adult will shell out $66.54 (up from $64.82 last year) for a national spooky spending spree of $5.77 billion.
This includes the money that moms and dads will spend on children to pull together all varieties of costumes depicting Disney characters, Spider-Man, Indiana Jones and the cast of “High School Musical.” It also includes the candy, decorations and Halloween cards to make the holiday complete.
Yes, that’s right. Halloween cards. I’m lucky if I find the time to send Christmas cards every five years, and here I am missing the chance to send greetings for Halloween.
Halloween spending is highest among 18- to 24-year-olds, who will cough up an average of $86.59 to outfit themselves for a night of trick-or-treating.
The statistics don’t say whether this includes the beer, but I’m guessing not. Clearly, the idea that Halloween is for children is a quaint, backward notion.
Then again, set foot into any Halloween superstore, and you realize this holiday has become an “R”-rated romp through Fantasyland – and I mean the kinds of fantasies that can get you arrested in most municipalities.
Halloween costumes revolve around one ubiquitous theme: Sexy. There’s the “Sexy Pirate” and “Sexy Swashbuckler,” “Sexy Nurse” and “Sexy Doctor,” “Sexy Cable Guy,” “Sexy Butcher” and the perennial and offensive favorite, “Sexy Nun.”
Now, there’s even “Sponge Babe,” the sexy costume rendering of “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
This leads me to conclude: Halloween – formerly a holiday focused on children dressing up in homemade costumes to canvass their neighborhood for candy – now celebrates those two all-American adult fixations: spending and sex.
(I know, I know – spoken like an adult who does not dress up for Halloween or spend money on anything more than a few bags of mini Hershey bars.)
Still worse than the fact that adults have usurped Halloween is the impact this perpetual case of arrested development has on children. Thanks to a marketing notion dubbed “age compression,” you can find costumes for children that mimic the hypersexual attire of adults.
Just what the neighborhood needs. Tween girls vamping door to door as “Sexy ’70s Go-Go Dancers,” “Sexy Cheerleaders” and “Sexy Med Students.”
I can hardly wait until my doorbell rings, and I open the door to find a “Sexy Hobo.”
If you read this and conclude I’m a Halloween killjoy, I’m sorry. And I’m not one, anyway. Jack-o’-lanterns will be lit on my front porch, spooky music will play from an open window, and candy will be given to children who ring the bell shouting “trick or treat.”
But when I answer that door, I’ll be dressed like a regular, middle-aged, suburban mom. It may not be sexy, but for a grown-up, it’s a costume that fits.