The troubling evolution of the Big Bird Halloween costume
At left, me in a Big Bird costume in 1982 or so. At right, the current incarnation of a "girls' Big Bird costume." (Courtesy of Sarah Kelber/Courtesy of Party City / October 12, 2012)
I mean, I know this has been going for ages, and that Halloween has turned into a way for people (grownups, one hopes) to let out their sexpot side for a day. (Check out this illustration of how costumes evolve from unicorn to sexy unicorn, nurse to sexy nurse, bee to sexy bee.)
It just seems like it’s expanding into little-kid costumes, too. SPARK a movement -- whose aim is to “push back on the sexualization of girls, and have fun while fighting for girls' rights to healthy sexuality” -- pointed out the differences between the toddler Cookie Monster costumes for girls and boys here.
Which reminded me of the existence of my own Big Bird Halloween past, pictured above. When I was little, I remember wanting to be silly on Halloween, to have fun, to be goofy, to be scary. I don’t think I even gave "pretty" a second thought, much less "sexy" or whatever my understanding of that concept was when I was a kid. (Heck, the last time I dressed up in college, I went as the Church Lady from "Saturday Night Live.")
But as a little girl, if I'd been faced with a wall of sparkly, girly options instead of the good-ole-'80s plastic characters, I might have gone that route. Who knows? Maybe even with that, I'd have wanted to be a green-faced witch or (tie-wearing, not tutu-wearing) Fozzie Bear. I’m kind of glad those options weren’t there.
With two boys, it’s mostly been about superheroes at our house (though there’s a candy corn costume floating around somewhere). Parents of girls, how have you navigated these waters? Same question for grown women looking for imaginative costumes?
(Related, while doing some research on this, I stumbled upon this post from Modern Parenthood blogger Stephanie Hanes about trying to find O's wear for her little girl and being dismayed by all the "princess" baseball clothes. It's a great read. Check it out.)