Halloween is around the corner and while there are Catholic families that eschew this pagan holiday, most of us will bundle up our little princesses and goblins for a night of harmless trick o’ treating.
If you are the parent of a tween or teen-age girl, however, a disturbing trend in Halloween costumes is probably making the annual pre-Halloween costume negotiation a lot less fun. For the past few years, “sexy”, rather than “scary” or “cute” has become the operative word in Halloween attire for girls. Costume catalogs and websites are chock-full of pouting, Lolita-looking child models donning provocative vampire, witch, pirate and “rock-star” costumes.
The trend, though, is not entirely surprising. I have personally found it hard to find age-appropriate clothing for my own nine-year old ever since she turned seven. And shows like Hannah Montana and High School Musical are marketed to my four year-old. Sadly, this is the state of the culture. As Catholic parents we have a moral obligation to protect our children’s innocence and childhood.
So what’s a parent to do about Halloween’s sexy trends? Don’t give in! Too many parents are not paying attention to the spiritual and psychological ramifications of these cultural trends. They are busy or simply desensitized by the saturation of these images. Others don’t want to fight with their child or deal with the consequences of saying "no".
Saying “no”, however, doesn’t necessarily have to be contentious if it is accompanied by a loving desire to truly connect with your child. Spend some time exploring your daughter’s likes and interests to find an appropriate costume you can both agree on or make together. Investing time in this project may actually bring you closer and give you more insight and understanding about her.
Finally, don’t miss out on using this opportunity to explain to her why “sexy” is inappropriate. Our daughters need our help and guidance to deal with peer pressure and other forces enticing them to desire things that are not for their good.
These are not easy answers. Being a Catholic parent never is.
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