Tween Girls and Sexy Halloween Costumes

When my oldest daughter Mia was in 4th grade she announced that she wanted to be a werewolf for Halloween.  This came as a surprise to me. Up until that point she’d always wanted to be something cute: Think Tinkerbell, a princess, a puppy. I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s great! She’s branching out and trying something new!” And then I saw a picture of the costume she wanted. It was not a scary, furry animal (or a cute fuzzy one for that matter) this was a SEXY werewolf, sized for a 9-year-old!
Dressing sexy on Halloween is nothing new. In college, I remember feeling a certain freedom to wear something I wouldn’t normally dare to. We’ve all seen the French Maid, Playboy Bunny and Sexy Pirate costumes. However, targeting young girls to dress this way is worrisome.
  • Tween girls are still kids. However, they are now being told that sexy is the new pretty.
  • Most tween girls aren’t aware of the attention sexy clothes attract. They aren’t thinking about grown men noticing them in a sexual way. They just see themselves as looking good. However, this does happen and it’s dangerous.
  • Costume companies continue to make and sell these costumes because we continue to buy them.

If your tween daughter wants to wear a sexy outfit this Halloween, there are some great teachable moments:tween-mad-as-a-hatter-costume

Talk about the message sexy costumes send. This is not about shaming. It’s about educating and empowering our daughters to recognize the attention they may receive if they dress in a provocative way. Most tween girls are horrified to picture grown-men checking them out (as they should be.)

  • Suggest other options. When Mia wanted to be a sexy werewolf we made some compromises. She was able to wear the cute dress, but she added leggings and wore boots instead of heels. I understood she didn’t want to dress like a preschooler, but we talked a lot about what’s age-appropriate.
  • Talk about the differences in costumes for children and tweens. This is a great opportunity to ask your child why they think they are focusing on sexy costumes for kids? When I’ve asked tween girls this question, they are usually pretty disgusted to realize what’s happening.

I know sexy Halloween costumes aren’t going away anytime soon. However, as parents we can help end the trend of sexy tween costumes by not buying them and letting our kids be kids a little while longer.

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Marlene and Torie