The Pornification of Halloween

This post is the 7th in a series about addiction recovery. If you are not an addict or married to one, then this probably won’t make much sense. To see a list of the entire series from the beginning, go to this page.

Remember when we were kids and we would go trick or treating in the neighborhood? What kinds of costumes did you wear? Was it scary? Was it a favorite superhero or movie character? Was it just down right weird? (every neighborhood had that one kid that wore something really weird).

Was it sexy?

Yes. you read that right. Haven’t you heard? Sexy is now the biggest seller in Halloween costumes. Have you been shopping for costumes with a child recently? Did you find yourself having to either avoid certain aisles or worse, have to answer your child’s questions about certain costumes with nervous laughter?

Are you looking for your standard princess, fairy, or storybook character costumes for girls this year? Don’t worry. The costume companies have you covered, er um…well not so much.


No, these pictures did not come from a specialty lingerie or adult novelty store. These came from a standard search for “Halloween costume”. (image sizes intentionally small for obvious reasons.) I’ve seen many of these same costumes in a circular ad in our local newspaper! I’ve seen many of them in the various Halloween seasonal stores. What a distortion these costumes create. They take the concept of innocent childhood fantasy and twist it into something perverted. And it’s not just the “girlie” costumes that get that kind of treatment. How about sports figures, cops, gangsters, pilots, nurses, fireman, girl scouts, postal workers, and sailor costumes? Look what they have done to them:


And it just doesn’t stop. Look how they have treated the traditional Halloween images of pirates, witches, superheroes, even Harry Potter-type wizards, and – astoundingly – even bumblebee costumes!


I guess sex sells. Last year, the week of Halloween, I made a trip to our local Best Buy store. Apparently, the company had let their employees have a bit of fun and dress up for the occasion. I admit, several of the costumes made me smile, or gave me a chuckle. But then I saw this petite college-aged girl in what could only be described as lingerie with a short skirt and bustier. It was so over-the-top inappropriate that I felt embarrassed. For her. For myself. For all the other guys who were talking her around the store. It made me wonder what she was thinking. Did she like the attention? Was she even aware of what dressing like that would do to her coworkers and customers?

Worst of all…this next set of pics. These costumes are straight out of the pornographic fetish camp. Playboy bunnies, cocktail girls, french maids, cheerleaders, schoolgirls, Shirley Temple dresses, and more. These companies are taking our girls (many of these costumes are targeted, marketed, and sized for teens) and unashamedly setting them up to be objectified, to learn that this is the proper way to get attention from boys, and heaven forbid – possibly setting them up to victims of a crime. As the parent of two girls, these images are shocking to me. These companies are not even trying to hide what they are doing. In fact, the last costume on the right is actually titled, “jailbait”. Can you believe that? They are intentionally PLAYING on the fact that this is pedophilia. Like it’s some kind of joke.


As a recovering sex addict, I can’t begin to tell you how this affects me. One of my primary problems is the objectification of women. (And believe me, statistics tell us I am far from being alone in that.) I already have problems seeing women as God sees them – as holistic human beings who have their own needs, emotions, and goals. Their own history, and their own future. Guys tend to skip over all that and see women as one-dimensional objects whose entire reason for existence is to please the man. Most girls do not seem to understand that, because if they did – there is NO WAY they would wear a costume like is pictured in this post.

To Costume Makers: You’re disgusting. Your plan to porn-ify Halloween is evil.
To Stores: Please stop stocking this trash.
To Teens: Please don’t wear stuff like this. You are worth more than that, and you are creating distractions for good men like me who struggle with sex addictions. We are not “perverts” and we are not “dirty old men”. Your clothing choices DO make a difference.
To Adult Women: Please use some common sense as to when and where is appropriate to wear things like this.
To Parents: You have to talk to your girls early and often about image and the role it plays between boys and girls. Talk to your boys about the “holistic nature” of girls and that while physical attraction is a powerful thing, it is only one part of a much larger equation.

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9 Comments on “The Pornification of Halloween”

  1. tumultuous88 Says:

    couldn’t agree more.. and since i worked at best buy at this same time last year, i know exactly what “costume” you are referring to.

  2. kylee Says:

    the thing that disturbs me most of all is that halloween costumes are 4 sizes smaller than regular ones, and they’re made so cheaply they’re almost single use.


    (i agree though, that halloween has gotten creepy in a different sort of way. i never wore stuff like this and it wasn’t that long ago that i was a trick or treater. yet another reason to learn how to sew effectively – then my future spawn can be ANYthing…except a prostitute!

  3. jermtech Says:

    tumultuous88…says something that a year later, both of us can remember what she was wearing. That’s NOT a good thing, ladies.

  4. jermtech Says:

    Kylee, your use of the word SPAWN bout made me do a spit take on my laptop screen.

  5. Aubri Says:

    I agree, Kylee, I never wore this kind of crap either…in fact, I think the last time I went trick-or-treating (AKA – mom’s free babysitter for the night b/c I took my younger siblings) I was a hippie…that consisted of a red t-shirt, jeans that I painted with “peace” and “love” and some peace sign earrings. LOL. It truly scares me that this is what has become acceptable…to the point that we get a weekly ad in our mailbox featuring these costumes. That ad goes right where it belongs – the trash can! I pray everyday that I can teach my girls that they ARE better than that – not just at Halloween – cause let’s face it, everyday attire is just as bad half the time…

  6. joeyb Says:

    I have to totally agree…my wife and I went into a store, with my daughter I might add, and it was wall to wall outfits as you described above. Thankfully my daughter, who is just about four, didn’t recognize or understand, yet, what you wrote about, in regards to the outfits…she was to busy looking at the princess outfits. Also, in the kids area, there is a large hanging sign with pics of some of the “teen” outfits and some looked exactly like your examples above. I couldn’t believe it. We finally left the store, but I was totally blown away by the fact that a store would actually sell some of this garbage.

    Kids aren’t even allowed to grow up on their own pace…they are thrust into adulthood by images and outfits like you described above…

    Anyway…great post, Jerm.

  7. Kerry Cox Says:

    Preach it, Jerm! I am already laying the ground-work with my 2-year-old daughter so that she will know how valuable she is and not feel the need to resort to all this foolishness to get what her heart truly desires.
    The song “I Think About You” by Colin Raye, written by the brilliant Steve Seskin, comes to mind…

  8. I was just moaning about this the other day to my friends. My spawn is only 5, and the stores in my city actually have many of those mini skirted outfits in CHILD SIZE. I am so glad she was more interested in having a home-made outfit for Halloween. 5yr old in fishnets = Do Not Want.

  9. nursemandis Says:

    You know I agree… completely inappropriate, and totally disgusting. And the “teen”section following looking like smaller versions of the “adult” section…YUCK! I mean it’s bad enough that these soft core porn outfits are even out there, but what parent say “sure honey get that one… I really like how much it shows and besides I LOVE those fishnet thigh highs!” The funny thing, when I was taking our 8yr old out to pick out an outfit, I purposefully took her to look at them so we could discuss why they are inappropriate and such. The first thing out of her mouth was “these are disgusting! why would girls wear these. ” and the second thing she said was “Besides why would girls want to show their bodies like that, and if they are old enough to wear something like that then they are old enough to NOT got trick or treating” All I could say was “Well said honey, well said” I was so proud of her! If my 8 year old gets it, why don’t others?

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