Wait … Wait … You don’t associate Halloween with slutty costumes? I think that your local “big box” retail store does. Don’t believe me? Next time that you’re in your local Wal-Mart, Target or Meijer, go down the “female costume” section of the Halloween aisle. Stop reading and go check for yourself … This blog will be waiting when you get back.
Last Friday, my family and I went shopping for costumes for the annual Trunk Or Treat community outreach event to be held on October 28, 2012 from 4-6PM at Calvary Heights Baptist Church in Martinsville, IN (shameless plug!). Our first stop was to a party supply chain store. As we approached the gigantic wall plastered with pictures of Halloween costumes, my eyes began to spontaneously combust as the dial went up to 11 on the skank-o-meter. Virtually every costume was atomic-bomb level slutty complete with corsets, push-up bras and super-mini skirts that barely cover your naughty bits. There is a naughty version of virtually everything: butterflies, clowns, S.W.A.T. officers, pirate wenches and nurses. Even sexy Chucky and Beetlejuice.
Slutty super-heroes! Want to tarnish the Norman Rockwell imagery of the American dream? You can wave your naughty flag as a slutty Captain America here and here. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles must be flipping in their shell to find their slutty counter-parts. And don’t forget the Bizarro-world promiscuous versions of Spider-Girl, Thor and Green Lantern.
And then – even worst – there are slutty children’s cartoon characters. Do you want to find a sexualized Nemo? Well … Someone has done it here. And I seem to remember Sleeping Beauty’s skirt being longer.
After striking out at the party supply store, we meandered down to several other major, name-brand “big box” stores. At every single store, the costume options for adult women were essentially (a) a witch; or (b) various iterations of a slutty pirate wench, a burlesque dancer or the second coming of Christina Aguilera from The Voice. And since we couldn’t figure out whether an occult diva or a half-naked street-walker was more inappropriate for a church function, we went with neither.
Growing up in the 1980s, Halloween was my favorite time of year. I vividly remember one Halloween where I was a vampire with fake plastic fangs and red face paint running down my mouth (I was Twilight before Twilight was cool … Watch out Edward Cullen). My little brother dressed as Frankenstein even though he had the flu and a fever. After we had double (or triple) circled the entire neighborhood, my brother and I would go back to our living room where we’d dump our haul of candy on the floor. I’d barter and trade candy with my brother so that got all of the peanut butter cups to myself. It seemed that the average parents’ greatest Halloween fear was about the goth neighbor kids who listened to The Sisters of Mercy and (quite believably) seemed to be conducting strange Satanic rituals involving their poor cat. Or the other neighbor – who secretly is Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (according to your parents) – putting razorblades in candy apples. Or Dungeons and Dragons fanatics.
But now Halloween is increasingly becoming an adult holiday. In 2000, the National Retail Federation found that young adults (age 18-24) actually spend the highest average on Halloween costumes ($34.06). More money will be spent on adult Halloween costumes ($1.4 billion) than kids ($1.1 billion). More importantly, Halloween now seems like more of an excuse for Caligula-level Jaegermeister-fueled debauchery. The NRF found that 62% of adults between 18 and 24 will attend a costume-themed Halloween party. In many parts of the country, drunk driving on Halloween now rivals or surpasses New Years Eve. Pop culture, such as the infamous “Slutty Pumpkin” episode of the TV show How I Met Your Mother, reflects the emerging view that Halloween is now more about no-holds-barred partying than paganism or the occult. And now parents worry about their kid becoming the next star of MTV’s Teen Mom on All Hallow’s Eve. Or having their daughter catch frostbite from essentially walking outside in their skivvies and a pair of fishnets in the middle of Fall.
Above all other offenses, the sexualization of cartoon characters or children’s programming is just flat-out gross. Our “big box” retailers need to realize the crass irony of selling a sexy Snow White costume right down the aisle from the very same Disney movie for children. Case in point: My six-year old daughter unassumingly picks out for my wife a Bat-Woman costume to match her child-size Bat-Girl outfit … Not realizing that the adult version requires a push-up bra and thigh-highs and comes with 1/4 of the coverage of the kids version. Whoever buys that costume will need to memorize the line: “Stay in the Bat-mobile, honey, or else you’ll catch a cold.”
But let’s not throw the “big box” retailers under the economic bus in this whole issue. Sex sells at the “big boxes” because the public is buying. We have become a culture of crass titilation. In an era where Victoria Secret has gone from a catalog surreptitiously stashed under the mattress to a Super Bowl halftime show, the risqué has gone mainstream. Jesus’ words about plucking out your eye if it leads you into sin seem absurd to our porn saturated age (Matthew 5:29). Consider the statistics:
- In 2006, the adult industry made $13.3 billion dollars – more money than the NFL, NBA and MLB combined.
- 25% of all search engine requests were pornographic.
- 70% of all men ages 18-24 visit a pornographic website in a typical month. 66% of men in their 20s and 30s also report being regular users of pornography.
- 43% of all Internet users view pornographic material.
- Even 34% of churchgoing women said they have intentionally visited porn websites online.
If the stats about American porn usage are even remotely true, then lust has become ordinary instead of offensive. When men convey that they would prefer a porn star to a Proverbs 31 wife, they are signaling what their heart truly values.
The real source of the problem is American men. We need to value what God values in women. We need to encourage our girlfriends, spouses and families to be women seeking after God’s heart. We need to look at how many highlighter lines and hand-scribbled margin notes are in a woman’s Bible instead of guilting them into sexual proclivity. We need to seek out women more interested in spending time in the Word than the bedroom. We need women who will drag our lazy butts out of bed on Sunday morning and insist that we take spiritual leadership of our households. Our eyes need to be faithful to our spouses instead of engaging in long, adulterous glances at other ladies. We need to seek women who are strong, dignified and merciful instead of unbridled, trashy and selfish. And – above all things – the most attractive quality that we should seek in a woman is a unique and unshakable passion for God. Until men start seeking out wise Godly women and instead of reckless booty calls, slutty Halloween is bound to get worse and worse …
Have a safe Halloween … Just make sure you cover yourself up before you leave the house.