Q: When did the concept of sexy Halloween costumes for teen and tween girls become cool?
[Annalisa] Castaldo [of Widener University]: Sexy adult costumes have been around for years, but costumes designed for teens and tweens have more recently begun displaying a sexualized edge….
Q: Isn’t this simply about playing pretend and seeking attention?
Castaldo: What’s most disturbing is that girls have much less choice when they go to the costume store to be seen as anything other than a physical object. The only way they can dress up for Halloween is as something that reveals their body. A boy can be a pirate with baggy pants, an eye patch, a sword and a parrot on his shoulder, The costume matches the character. With the girl, the pirate is wearing a short skirt. As a superhero, she’s wearing a short skirt. And my favorite is Cookie Monster with a short skirt. Every costume becomes about the physicality of the body it reveals, not about the characteristics of the character being impersonated.