Halloween Costumes for Little Girls​ Scare This Mom to Death​


I'm not sure why I thought this year's Halloween costume search would be different. Maybe because my daughter has asked to dress up as a panda for the holiday? The costume makers couldn't possibly use the cutest and cuddliest of bears to divide boys and girls down gender lines, can they?

Oh, but they can. Because once again, when I plugged my daughter's Halloween costume request into Google, the results came back with options for boys ... and options for girls. Naturally, the costume pictured with a little boy covers all the skin and looks, well, like a panda. The option for girls?

As my daughter -- a hardcore panda fanatic -- said when she saw it, "Pandas don't wear ruffled skirts!"


To be fair, the "girls" panda costume is not nearly as objectionable as some of the -- for lack of a better word -- sluttier costumes for "girls" that I've found over the years.girls panda halloween costume

See? No too low for words neckline, and her arms are actually covered.

So why the beef? Well, for starters, my daughter wants to look like a panda, not just dress up in a short skirt in the bitter cold.

"Pandas have fur," she told me, "I want fur on my legs!"

And yet, when I peruse the Internet, all "regular" panda costumes (aka those that cover the entire body and actually resemble the animal) feature boy models. Those featuring female models all show a varying degree of skin -- some are truly on the "icky" end -- and are more "black and white" outfit than they are representation of the popular bamboo-eating creature.

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Sure, I can (and probably will) dress her in the costume that a boy is modeling. But I still have to ask: why are we genderizing costumes to begin with? Specifically costumes that have no gender to start with?

I'm not talking about a little girl modeling a Princess Elsa dress here or a little boy dressed up as Sheriff Woody -- the characters dictate gender, and while I would have no problem seeing a boy dressed as Elsa OR a girl as Woody, the costumes themselves are static.

Lest I come off as one of the femme-phobic ranters on the Interwebs, I should also point out that it's not that I have a problem with frills or foofs. My daughter dressed up as a princess not one but two years running, and a fairy another, because that's what she wanted. But that's not what she wants this year. She just wants to be a panda.

It's the costume industry's insistence on separating girls and boys in places where there is no reason they can't be gender neutral that gets my goat. Because to go Halloween shopping is to be launched into the 1960s, where little boys can wear pants and little girls have to morph into some sexed up, beskirted version of whatever it is they have in mind for the holiday.

Take what happens when you start looking for a firefighter costume for a child. Firefighter. Not fireman or firewoman. Firefighter. Party City offers this "boys' reflective firefighter costume," making it clear this is just for BOYS. boys firefighter

As for the girls? Well Party City only offers this for firefighter outfit for girls:

girls firefighter halloween costume

Note the impossibly short skirt and thigh high boots. Know any firefighter who is rushing into a burning building in that get-up? Me neither.

This is the message we send our girls every Halloween with the "girlified" costumes: boys can actually resemble the very thing they want to play act, but you need to dress as a sexed up, not quite right version of the thing you want to be for the night because, really, honey, you need to stop dreaming so big!

I'm sure I'll hear a whole load of comments about how I should just suck up and buy the generic costume (advertised with the boy in it) and stop asking for "special" treatment for my daughter, but here's the thing: I don't want my daughter to be treated "special" at Halloween. I'd like her to be treated just like the kid she is ... a kid who wants to dress up like a panda rather than some "girlified version" of one.

Do you have a beef with the Halloween costume industry? Let's hear it in comments!


Images via © iStock.com/ronniematthews; Buy Costumes; Party City; Party City

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