Sexy Halloween costumes - boo!

So dressing up for Halloween has come to this: sexualizing little girls.

I know. Same old, same old. We talk about this every year, don’t we?

I vaguely remember a petition a few years ago against an ad for a girls’ doll costume that included a tagline that went something like this: “Why not find out if big boys like to play with dolls!”

Aggressive marketing of “sexy” Halloween costumes for women and girls, most of which are a twist on a low-cut short dress, may be obnoxious but they’re certainly not new.

Yes, I know that the origins of this pagan homage to the dead are long gone, buried in a tomb of jack-0-lanterns and Skittles. But do we have to abandon our more modern version, too? Can’t we still have children parade around the neighborhood for candy looking like some version of Big Bird or a Bumble Bee, rather than a, well, a slut?

Women, you do what you want, but I hope parents won’t be following suit when they make purchases over the next couple of weeks. Instead of the strip-club look, how about sticking to the storybook.

Trust me, there will come a time when you wished you had. Just follow fashion trends in general. It’s nearly impossible for women of a certain age, those of us who want them, to find a dress that falls at or below the knee or doesn’t expose our boobs — but that’s another column.

This trend toward sexy Halloween costumes began at least 10 to 15 years ago, when the entertainment and fashion media solidified the idea that it is impossible to look 'good' (in any context), if you don't also look 'hot', said Amanda Hallay, a professor of fashion and cultural history at New York City's LIM College.

"It interested me that when Caitlyn Jenner made her first appearance as a woman on the cover of Vanity Fair, she was wearing a thigh-revealing, strapless satin basque," Hallay said. "Such is the power of this current mindset, with everyone from news anchors to elementary school teachers believing that to look 'good,' they must also look 'hot'."

And so it’s no surprise. She said Halloween costumes of recent years reflect the idea that it isn’t important that women look scary, all that counts is that they look sexy.

“This is one of the reasons, along with popular shows like ‘The Walking Dead’, that dressing as a zombie is a popular Halloween costume,” Hallay said. “Zombies traditionally don clothing that is rotting off or ripped away, perfect for showing off shapely thighs or heaving bosoms.”

Oh, brother. The gods cheated me out of both but even if they hadn’t I think some things just ought to be private. And if I still had little girls, which I no longer do, I’d spend my last breath covering them, not exposing or exploiting them like salivating pimps.

Remember, we get to choose, and just because they make them doesn’t mean we have to buy them. There’s something to be said about poking a bed sheet with holes and turning your little monster into Casper.

And there’s no denying we created this dreary mess. There just isn’t.

The cheap and cheerful mass costume market realized long ago that sex sells as much at Halloween as at any other time of the year, Hallay said. The ‘sexy French maid’ has long been a Halloween staple, but now it’s practically impossible to buy a ready-made costume that isn’t a ‘sexy’ version of itself: ‘sexy’ witches with black micro-mini dresses and suspendered stockings; ‘sexy’ vampires in plunging bustiers.

You get the picture.

“Long gone are the days when women would enjoy making themselves look as horrible and fiendish as possible on this scariest night of the year,” Hallay said. “Now, Halloween is just another excuse to wear too little, but because it’s a costume, it’s sanctioned. This is fine if you’re an adult, but what’s disturbing are the number of pre-teens and teens who are allowed to sport such sultry looks.”

Men may be the only ones having fun with their Halloween costumes. Because the pressure is rarely on them to look hot or sexy, they can enjoy the one night of the year when we're supposed to look terrible.

Maybe Halloween IS still scary after all.