Halloween to the Extreme

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A photo emerged on Instagram of a child wearing a Ray Rice costume and dragging a doll. (Photo: Instagram via Twitter)

A photo emerged on Instagram of a child wearing a Ray Rice costume and dragging a doll. (Photo: Instagram via Twitter)

Do you remember your first Halloween costume? Quick: how much time and effort did you put into your costume so you could get the most candy out of your neighbors? The first time I went trick or treating was in the 4th grade (an international upbringing disrupted this amazing event!) and for a number of years, I ONLY wanted to be a princess, accompanied by a crown with a trailing piece of sheer fabric and a wand. There had to be a wand.

Fast forward to when I became a mother and I was so excited to dress up my sons in animal costumes: a lion, a bat, a cheetah.  Until they reached the age where they could rip off their bat wings, rebel and insist on wearing sports uniforms as their outfits, every year. So I paraded my football, basketball and baseball players out most every Halloween, surrounded by many similarly dressed kids.

That was then. Kids dressed as sports players are so passé. Unless there’s a sick twist.

A photo emerged on Instagram of a child wearing a Ray Rice costume and dragging a doll. (Photo: Instagram via Twitter)

The instagram image of this disturbing costume is only one of a series that was released over the weekend… it’s a boy wearing a Ray Rice costume dragging a doll, that appears to be a likeness of his now-wife Janay Rice by the hair.  Most of those who reacted to the images were appalled.  And Mrs. Rice even tweeted “@TMZ it’s sad, that my suffering amuses others.”

That costume, in such poor taste, reminded me of last Halloween and the inordinate number of ‘bloodied’ kids who knocked on my door.  These kids’ parents were walking them up the steps, laughing hilariously. I remember thinking Halloween was not what it used to be, and it seemed much more extreme, leaving nothing to the imagination.

If you think this might just be hype, go ahead and check out the internet for Halloween ideas where I found a range of disturbing costumes for kids that take it much farther than I ever imagined.

Problem is it’s not the kids making most of these choices. In fact the images of some of the most inappropriate costumes I found are on children too young to object to what their parents (I’m presuming) have decided would be funny for them to wear to trick or treat.

When did this shift, taking it to the extreme, happen?

If you go online to one of the premier costume sites, www.brandsonsale.com, you get an idea of the trending outfits for this year. Think Ebola is deadly? How about a men’s EbolaContainment Costume, sold with breathing mask, face shield and goggles.

The outfit is complete when paired with a women’s sexy Ebola Containment Suit, of course.  Those yellow boots not included.

If mom and dad are going to the extreme in Ebola containment suits, why not parade your kid out as a homeless person pushing a grocery cart?

I know this is the one time every year where it’s OK to shock and scare people, where the more wild you are, the better.  It seems mandatory for a ‘sexy’ label to be attached to every outfit for women and girls, and somehow we feel we have permission to be as outlandish, or sometimes just plain disrespectful, as possible. This is Halloween!

Consider the haunted houses, for goodness sake, which usually require a person to be a certain age to enter. There you expect to see headless bodies, ghoulish creatures, body parts flying through the air and blood (fake) spurting everywhere. But now we’ve taken those macabre costumes and the blood (fake) outside the confines of the haunted house, and decided it’s fine to dress our infants and toddlers in outfits generally reserved for much older people.

If you’re a parent or an aunt or uncle or a grandparent living through Halloween this year, what message do you want for those in your circle of trust? No, I’m not calling for rules for costumes.  But let’s be real, some common sense, please?

Ask these questions:  is your, or your child’s, costume:

1.  Extremely disgusting?

2.  Extremely distasteful?

3.  Extremely disrespectful?

4.  Extremely disturbing?

If so, don’t put that thing on anyone, not even your dog.

I believe it does say something about us when a dad thinks it’s funny to dress up as a bottle of Jim Beam and bring his pack of cigarettes (a la toddler son) to a Halloween party.

Still, I love Halloween and I’ve loaded up on the candy and, yes, you’ll get my candy even if you fail the “extremely d-___” test. (See above.)  It’s not that I’m totally squeamish, in fact I watch “The Strain,”a horror-drama series on FX, so I’m well aware of vomiting vampire/aliens who kill without discretion.

I just like to limit that kind of viewing to my television screen, I don’t choose to witness that extreme behavior live. So, please, don’t show up at my door with one of those slimy snake things coming out of your mouth. There is only one solution for that behavior, and I’d have to get the entire “Strain” cast to come out and deal with you!  Oh, and, Happy Halloween!

Lois’ Living Through It blogs are posted on Mondays and Thursdays.  Join her Monday mornings at 8:45am on Good Day Colorado.

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