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  • Lance Mannion
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Kevin Wolf

I'm sure I'm not the first to say it, but the other thing about scolds - in addition to all the psychological motives you elucidate - is that they hate to see other people having fun. And what's fun to them is to complain about and (maybe, maybe, please please please) stop fun from happening at all.

It's tiresome.


You know, Little Red Riding Hood is a story with a strong theme of sexual menace. Maybe my kid should go as Little Sex-Positive Empowered Red Riding Hood, and dress like a tart.

I'll run it past her when she gets home from indoctrination at the government school.


My 10 yr-old originally wanted to be a Revolutionary War woman. Now how is that for a strumpet-in-training???

The thing I find ironic in my area is that the most uptight mothers who don't want their daughters to know anything about normal changes and aspects of the body (even when age-appropriate) are the very ones who had their girls dressing up like Britney at age 6,7 and 8.

blue girl

Yeah, all you guys just have all your big old fun with your 10 year olds.

I don't have time to have fun like that this year. I'm too busy installing outside locks on my son's bedroom door.


Still, their aim is totally off, but, at least here in New York City, women (real adult women, not nine year olds) do often use Halloween as an excuse to get extra trampy.

Personally, I like it. But I'm a guy in his late 20s who likes it when there are a lot of "Sexy Nurses," "Sexy Zombies," and "Sexy Walmart Clerks" walking around.

This is not, as a rule, limited to women. In Chelsea, I overheard two gay men talking about going as "Sexy Aerobic Instructors" this year.

This is what Halloween is when you're an adult. Charen just seems to blame the holiday for, well, people being people who are proud/interested in the human body.


Protestants simply do not understand. real religions have both serious holidays (Good Friday, Ash Wednesday, Yom Kippur) and "dress up and get crazy" holidays where you get to drink wildly and masquerade (Halloween, Fat Tuesday, Purim). The world needs more play, not more Bible study.


So anyone who questions the appopriateness of a costume for teens is a scold. And the reason they are scolds is that they are jealous. What a clever line of reasoning! I'll bet that simplistic analysis can be applied to all sorts of issues. Let's see, are you opposed to tax cuts for the rich? You must be a scold, and jealous of people who make more money than you do. Gee, that was easy. And it didn't take me thirty paragraphs to make my vapid point.

Ken Muldrew

It's too cold around here for kids to go out trick-or-treating without lots of clothing (they may go to school in a Britney costume, shivering uncontrollably, but they don't get to wear a mask to school; halloween lets them be practical).

But sort of on the topic, I saw an interview with Terry Gilliam recently about his upcoming movie release. Apparently they were looking for an innocent 12 year old girl for the lead but all the 12 year old girls they interviewed were oozing sexuality, without a trace of innocence, so they had to use a 9 year old for the part. The interviewer cut him off and changed the subject with gusto, not wanting to discuss 12 year old sexuality with the candour that Terry Gilliam appeared to be bringing to the subject. This despite being a hip and extremely cool host (according to my 13 year old daughter who claimed not to notice the subject change).


Hmm. We've averaged about 8 trick-or-treaters per year for the past 10 years (it's a neighborhood which has grown too pricey for young families unless they're dot-com millionaires -- stupid Honolulu real estate market), and I can't remember a single sexy costume. You'd think we'd have the perfect climate for it, too. I'd relish seeing a few 16-year-olds wearing clothing best suited for the beach at Copacabana.

Nope. What we do get these days is the 15-16 year-olds who are embarrassed about still collecting candy, but not embarrassed enough to give it up.

Matt T.

Maybe if you'd have read those thirty paragraphs, you'd have seen the point Mr. Mannion was making wasn't so "vapid" as as all that. For one, comparing the question of distribution of wealth, progressive/fair taxation and economic-based class issues with uptight, moralizing busybodies not only sticking their noses into other people's innocent business, but totally misunderstanding what they're yowling about is, well, just plain silly. Charen not only misunderstood what the original article was all about, apparently, she laid the blame on a totally unrelated criminal, much like saying anyone who supports increased taxes for the very rich is merely "jealous". A vapid point, indeed.

Also, Mr. Mannion addresses the very real concern and anxiety almost every parent worthy of the name feels about their children growing up and becoming sexually aware. Charen misses that by a mile by yowling that 8- and 9-year-old-girls are slutting it up by the truckloads each and every Halloween, and it's all because them darned ol' liberals and feminists are FORCING THEM TO DO SO!!!! It's as silly, vapid argument that does no one any good, much less the children who Charen would probably claim to speak for.

Personally, I don't know how much I swallow the idea that the Charens of the world are jealous of young women and their beauty; I think she's merely a bitter little person who probably doesn't really care for anything beyond getting her next paycheck. I also think the vast majority of adults who "slut it up" for Halloween, male and female, are pretty damn silly, and would probably be happier individuals as a whole if they embraced those sexual desires that are paraded on Oct. 31 the rest of the year. There's also a bit of that "hey, pay attention to me" mentality that gets folks to do dumb stuff on "Fear Factor" involved.

That all being said, Charen's a boob. She made a vast, broad statement that had nothing to do with reality, and when called on it, she countered with another vast, broad statement that still had nothing to do with reality. Pre-adolescent girls aren't, for the most part, dressing as sluts for Halloween, teenage girls are moving in that direction as they mature, and adults can do whatever the hell they please. The scolds need to find something more important to worry about - funny, you never see 'em blast beauty pageants for 8-year-old girls or those creepy purity proms - and Charen needs to read closer before she yammers on.

Maybe there's a lesson in there for all of us.


I have a friend, her little girl is going as a monkey. No doubt Charen will interpret this as some kind of attack by Darwinists who dress up kids to walk the streets with a pillowcase full of candy and corrupt other youth.

I will say I look askance at the sexual jealousy hypothesis, Lance, though I normally prefer psychological explanations. While aware various Christians have genuine (if baffling) fears of witches and goblins, and hence a basis for their dislike of Halloween, Charen strikes me more as Mencken's Puritan, "somebody who was desperately afraid that somebody somewhere might be having a good time."

Amanda Marcotte

I really thought Goldberg's confusion was the funniest part---my daughter wants to be a cowgirl/vet/witch and that has nothing to do with feminism! He went to a women's college. Surely he knows that feminism is not about making little girls slutty.


Jane Fonda's book (I know - any right winger would already have stopped listening) said something I thought was so interesting. Paraphrasing - she said she came late to feminism - she was always about getting the approval of men and she didn't think there was any need for feminism - but, when she finally discovered it, it made such a huge difference because she realized she could say NO to having sex with a guy. She'd always felt like she had to please men sexually, that she didn't really have the right not to and it wasn't until she discovered feminism, she realized her body was her own. Just a different way to look at feminism and how it affects women.

Lance, I am with those that don't think it's about jealousy. I actually think that's a pretty strange take on women.


Halloween was/is an enchanting children's holiday in America, filled with costume and danger and play and (yes) sublimated sexiness, and it's been sad to see how it's been taken over by adults since the 1970s when urban gays used the holiday as an excuse for a Walpurgisnacht. And yes, I was one of them, and the sexiest evening I ever had was in 1975 on Polk Street in San Francisco dressed as a Girl Scout with a beard, which made me look like a Green Beret with a skirt.

But where we? Margaret O'Brien in "Meet Me in St. Louis" has the greatest Halloween experience ever recorded and it's what the holiday is about. Death, knowledge, resurrection and how to absorb it as a child.

And to be prudish about any of that is the height of absurdity.

Kate Marie

sfmike, I actually agree with you on this one.

Oh, and by the way. . .

I'm the most horrible! I'm the most horrible!


the only thing I question is, WHO CARES! Let the kids go out as who ever the they want on hallowe'en, it's basicaly thier holiday so let them live and ENJOY IT.


A friend asked me for ideas for movies for his daughters who had worn their copies of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast to a nub and I told him about Meet Me in St. Louis. "One great song after another, beautiful costumes and colour and there's these two mischievous little girls ..."

His daughters loved it. Their parents were horrified. Agnes and Tootie, out and unsupervised on Halloween, got up to things that no right-thinking parent would ever allow today -- bonfires in the street! Throwing flour on people! Putting dummies on the streetcar tracks and making the streetcar screech to a halt! It got me to thinking about my dad's gleeful stories about buggies on top of barnpoles and even my own country Halloweens as a child and how strangely wild and reckless and even downright illegal they seem now. Halloween seems pretty tame these days.

I know when it all changed, too ... about 20 years ago when my local TV news showed a shocked suburban mom who had decorated her lawn with an elaborate Halloween display and had had it trashed. I didn't get it -- Vandalism? Of course! Vandalism was what Halloween was all about. Who would go to all the trouble and expense of setting up this stuff on their lawn when the night was alive with pranksters roaming the streets? Now of course every lawn and tree is covered with Halloween tat and it all reigns undisturbed. It's a shame, really.

Ken Muldrew

I thought it all changed about 25 years ago when some psychopath put cyanide in a bunch of bottles of tylenol shortly before Halloween.


Ken- I think it was that as well as the *razorblade in apple scare*. A child was indeed hurt or poisoned by Halloween candy, but it turned out that it was a parent who did it and who used Halloween as a cover.


If I'm remembering my childhood with any accuracy, my entire focus for Halloween was the size of the pillow sack I would use to collect the goods and mapping out which houses had the best candy and which houses sucked and how many times I could run home, dump the full sack, and run out again for more. Luckily, in my day, we Halloweenits travelled in little packs, sans concerned parents. We were all variations of witches, ghosts, superheroes. None of us wore sexy or looked sexy.


Safety-oids are almost as dangerous as the Halloween-Is-Satanic people. In my town this year, trick-or-treating has been scheduled from 2-6pm. On a Tuesday night, no less. (Are children even out of school at 2pm?) Growing up, little kids started around sunset (~5:30) with their parents and the older kids could come as late as 8:30 or 9 and without parents. But, in service of reducing someone's fuzzy, creeping paranoia about darkness and unsupervised children, and using mitigation of some ill-defined hazard as the excuse, some town board member decided to rob the holiday of one of it's core aspects--the "e'en" part. It's not called Hallownoon, people. If we are so fearful of our neighbors and so skeptical of the community's ability to protect its children one night a year, we are pretty much done for.


youre thing is good and its not that perfekt, sorry and you first need to go to the whashroom or you"ll pee or poo!


you know its good to go to the bumb hole when your hungry and good to go to the pee hole when your thirsty

I know things~ Elise

I'm a 20 year old woman with a 10 month old baby boy. (to make you aware of where I'm coming from here) when I see those sexy costumes, after I think "mass-produced garbage" I think on how I feel about the objectification of women. I'm kind of a feminist and it is because I know I don't have to be a tramp to get people to like me, and I hate the people(guys mostly) who say they will like me or love me if i sleep with them. I learned long ago that my body is mine and that feminism is not about mini skirts, but the opposite, rejecting the fashion industry's Image of 'beauty'. summed up that image is a 12 year old girl with the breasts of a 25 year old. also,I will get old and I don't care, I don't have to look 20 forever. I'm also an anarchist and am anti-authority. and while I want my boy to listen to me, it is out of my desire that he doesn't get hurt. I want him to be his own person. My husband and I love Halloween, He more so because it is his birthday :) and at heart we are geeks. we enjoy dressing up and chocolate. now while I like to look sexy for my man, I dress androgenic when I go out to avoid being seen as a piece of meat, despite all the suggestions from those close to me that I dress 'girly' because "I have a nice figure" I don't care. I am not a piece of meat with a vagoo, I am a person!

this year for Halloween, I'm going as a Vampire, but a scary one not sexy. last year for Halloween I was in the hospital.
Halo 3 RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!

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