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Halloween: Where Did Nice SpongeBob SquarePants Go?

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Dr. Meg Meeker

It’s here. That googly-goblin, orange time of year. I have always loved fall because of the colors, the smells, and the reminder that God ordains change. Whether we like it or not, life appears, and then it fades in beautiful glory before it reappears again after a long period of quiet.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Halloween is a part of the fall and here it is again. Costumes with warty cheeks, distorted mouths, and ghoulish hair jump out at us in grocery store and drug store aisles. So, you who have young children, beware; even a trip to the store for paper towels can be frightening to little ones.

You and I have seen dramatic changes over the years in Halloween costume styles. Once upon a day we cut holes for eyes in old bed sheets, threw them over our children, gave them a flash light, and out into the neighborhood they went. No more.

Costumes have become a source of anxiety for children and parents. Young kids want to be the character that they want and if they can’t be him; well, they might just as well stay home. That’s easy enough to deal with, but when it comes to elementary school and middle school children, we need to be on our toes.

Make a sweep down the costume aisle at any big chain store and you will find dresses adorned in black and red that even some pole dancers (maybe that’s an exaggeration) would be timid to wear. You’ll also see “sexified” versions of beloved fairytale and storybook characters (like the rendition of Raggedy Ann pictured below) being marketed to older girls and teens. We actually consider buying these for Halloween for our girls???

Feminists shake their fists because the costumes aren’t “gender neutral” and portray young girls as “too girlie” or as inferior to boys. Seriously? We’re going to argue about whether Spider-Girl should wear pink or black and red? Remember, people, Spider-Girl doesn’t really exist. But I am amazed that few men and women are insulted by highly sexually charge styles of our children’s costumes. Who cares if a girl looks too girlish? She shouldn’t look like a prostitute on Halloween (or any other time of the year)!

I strongly encourage you who are scouring the stores for Halloween costumes to make a few simple rules.

1. Choose two or three costumes that you feel are acceptable for your kids and then let them pick one from those. That way, they get to have a choice, but you have control.

2. Refuse to buy your girls sexy, skimpy, skanky clothes—no matter how much they want them because their friends have them. Do you want other trick-or-treaters looking at your daughter as a sex object while she picks up her candy at the door? Don’t set her up for that.

3. Remember that even though many boys act tough and want to wear ghastly, ghoulish masks and carry bloody heads with them, avoid these. Being ghoulish and being scary are two different things; so stick to scary. We forget that many boys are very sensitive and bloody stuff frightens them. I see many boys in middle school and junior high having sleep issues because of bad dreams from seeing too much violence.

Halloween can be a time when neighbors come out and chat with one another and kids run around and have fun. But stay in charge. Keep a lid on sanity this Halloween—particularly when it comes to costumes.

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