Ruby's CornerTricks and Treats: Return to InnocenceRuby Karp

So, you know what time it is! That’s right, Halloween! When you dress up as a scary ghost or zombie, right? Not for girls my age (I’m 11, in sixth grade). For us, it is dress-up-in-an-inappropriate-way time. And I know I am in that inbetween age, where I’m still a kid and almost something else, but seriously. I love Halloween, I love trick-or-treating with my friends, I love the way the neighborhood turns into a magical place with cobwebs and spiders and everything spooky-safe. And ever since I was 7, it’s been hard for me to find a costume that isn’t above the knee or low-cut or has a choker involved.

Like this year, I wanted to be Elmo and my friend was going to be Cookie Monster but where were the fuzzy costumes? NOWHERE. Instead of fun costumes that I would have a hard time choosing between, I found super-short dresses that aren’t cute, they’re inappropriate for me. How does Snow White turn into a girl in a sports bra that’s blue and a yellow mini skirt and super high heels that are bright red? Tell me, how is that Snow White? I looked at a Little Red Riding Hood costume and it went up really high. I mean, the list goes on and on.

And you know, instead of just telling my mom, “So this year, I want to be a Ghoulish Girl,” and going to the costume store and picking it out in five minutes, we have to search for something and my mom has to inspect it! Can you imagine trying to decide what costume is sexy and which is not with your mom? Do you know how embarrassing that is? Well, believe it. I have to do that every Halloween. Now, it isn’t easy when my best friend and me had been planning to be something together and your mom tells you cant because it is too-something-gross. So this year, I’m borrowing my friend’s old pumpkin costume that her Mom sewed for her (yep, she’s got a Super-Mom) and it is perfect for me, a girl of 11 years old.

It is sad how for Halloween, girls have less and less options on what to wear, that they have to choose between ick and ickier. I used to love Halloween because you could dress up in public  like a fairy and not look weird! Now, when I look for a fairy costume, I look a little too weird. Why do costume-makers want girls looking like this? What is going to happen to the next generation? Maybe the GOOD costumes won’t even be here anymore, the only choice a 10-year-old girl will have is to be something with the word “vixen” or “sexy” in the costume title. Sigh. I can only hope for the best.

I have to search real hard for a good non-weird costume. And it shouldn’t be this hard. Really, the only thing we can do is hope that the costumes go back to the way they were when I was little, when you could be a Princess or a Baseball Player and not look like you were out to be anything else but that. And more appropriate. NOTE TO PEOPLE WHO MAKE THESE COUSTUMES: we are not 25. We are 11. Start making costumes like it. AND FAST.

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  1. Hi, Ruby! Thanks for writing this.
    I know this is too late for this year, but perhaps it may be of use for next year?
    http://takebackhalloween.org/
    Take Back Halloween is a site dedicated to good female costumes, mostly based on women from history and myths who rocked ;) It’s at least a starting point on the hunt for a good (& not icky) costume.
    Anyway, thanks for writing! Even those of us nearer to 25 than 11 can totally sympathize on the lack of decent costumes.

  2. Oh, you are fantastic, Ruby! I’m 20, and I’ve had the exact same problem. I ended up just buying realistic vampire teeth and wearing black pants, shirt, and boots because nothing was appropriate. You give me hope for kids these days. You, my dear, are fan-flippin-fastic.

  3. You are a gem, Miss Ruby! Keep standing up for your values, girl! You don’t have to reveal too much to be feminine or pretty – your beautiful soul shines out through your modesty and your good sense. :) Keep on keepin’ on.

  4. Ruby:
    My thoughts exactly! When did Halloween costumes have to start being so skimpy for females of any age? I am a 33 year old mother, and I don’t want to wear the things in stores now. I didn’t want to wear those costumes when I was 25! Anyway Ruby, good for you for realizing that those costumes are ridiculous!
    Tara

  5. Thank you for this, Ruby! You give me hope. My daughter is only 3 so she’ll be donning her fairy wings for a few more years. But I look at older kids and how they’re dressed and I worry about what will be ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ when she gets older. I just hope and pray that things change for the better. Reading the comments, I realize that you have articulated a common concern for girls of all ages. You have amazing insight and a wondeful gift for writing. And you’re only 11! I have no doubt you’ll grow up to change the world! Keep up the good work, Ruby!

  6. This is such an awesome post, thank you for putting this out there! I’m 22 now, but when I was your age I started making my own costumes (my mom taught me how to sew for my first costume – a 1950s poodle skirt girl). I grew to love making my costumes, but its an unfair situation – making your own costumes because the market just doesn’t know how to appeal to their audiences. And not everyone can learn how to make costumes (I wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for my mom, and not all people have access to sewing machines), so its terribly inconvenient for those who do not have the option to make their costume.

  7. Still feeling this… at 24.

  8. You are amazing Ruby. Keep up the excellent work. XO

  9. To true sadly. 19 & I have the same problem, great post you wise girl.

  10. I am proud to say that I’m 21 and I was the only chick rockin’ a penguin costume at the bars last night! Keep doing your own thing, Ruby. It’ll get you far.

  11. This is SO true! I couldn’t believe some of the costumes I saw kids trick or treating in last night. Also I am in my 20′s and I don’t even want to wear those barely there costumes. I end up piecing things together from thrift stores every year because of that. I think that the “little sexy” costumes should be labelled as adult costumes and any younger costumes should be age appropriate. I am so glad that their are girls out there with your view point still! It seems like 10 is the new 20 these days, and thats just not right.

  12. You are so right! I remember trying to find a pair of dressy shoes for my daughter to wear with a pretty sundress to a summer backyard wedding – she was 10, and had size 7 feet – nothing at all available in her size except Converse All Stars and shoes with stiletto heels. It took several stores and several days to find something even remotely appropriate.

  13. Ruby you are inspirational!! I have a 9-1/2 yr old daughter and I’m so sad to hear all this though I saw it coming because that’s the way stores are turning too When I take my daughter to buy clothes or bathing suits we see that alot of tween clothes that are too grownup. This seems to NE the trend.. Why?? I do not understand.. It makes me so mad! I like many other moms am trying to teach my daughter that showing your body and dressing inappropriately is not important. Being a strong girl/woman who is comfortable with herself and happy is soooo much more important! Keep up the good work Ruby!! You are amazing!!!!

  14. Thank you everybody for your supportive responses to this post.!!!!!
    —-ruby (from my moms Facebook)

  15. Preach it! I am 31 and pretty much the choices are do I want to be a slut for Halloween? Or do I want to be a mega slut for Halloween? What happened to all of the fun costumes? It starts to take the fun out of things :(

  16. you are a level headed young woman!! it seems to me… maybe some entrepreneur will start making costumes that don’t try to be “sexy” for girls and women… it’s an untapped market!!

  17. Hey Ruby! We love that at 11 you are already savvy to the one dimensional and inappropriate costumes that are being marketed to girls your age. That is, girls your age and younger, and older! At our high school we have a group called Woodland for Women Worldwide, and we have taken on this very topic. Check out this news article that explains our GET REAL Campaign. Keep it up, rock star! http://www.mycitizensnews.com/2011/10/woodland-womens-group-gets-real/

  18. I just came across this post and I have to tell you how proud I am to hear a young lady want to be modest and have fun! Thankfully I have a boy, so our costume choices are a whole lot easier, however, it’s not easy to know what he will see when his dad takes him trick or treating over the weekend. Kudos and big applause to you!

  19. Ruby, you are such an insightful young girl! Your mom is doing an awesome job raising you! You are right on! You have a bright and successful life ahead of you, keep up the great work, your values and integrity. You will raise yourself and your friends up above al the junk that is out there. I am very proud of you!!! SHINE ON! I am 52 and I love exclamation points too!!! :-)