If you have a middle schooler who still wants to trick-or-treat or who was invited to a Halloween party, you know the real trick of the season is finding a Halloween costume that’s appropriate and socially acceptable.
Which is why I am so disappointed in PBTeen this year. Believe it or not, I am officially less shocked by the Jr. Slut tween Halloween costumes found on every website hocking chintzy, over-priced, and unoriginal Halloween gear out there, than by the PBTeen Halloween costume line.
Obviously, there’s a huge market gap between costumes suitable for the smallest trick-or-treaters (say a cute “pea-in-the-pod” number or an adorable “plush dinosaur”) and what would be socially appropriate for a middle schooler. I’m sure we can all agree that the default hyper-sexualized costumes for teen girls and grotesquely gory costumes for teen guys are not the answer.
Wisely sensing this, you won’t believe what the well-paid creative staff of PBTeen came up with to meet the needs of the underserved tween and teen markets. This age group represents a huge void in the industry and PBTeen stands to make tons of money here because no one else is providing an alternative to the minxy/violent costumes available for older kids. OK, It’s really genius actually. They took costumes for pre-schoolers and made them in larger sizes so they would fit teens. Get it? See what they did there? Teens can fit into their costumes. Good job Creative. Let’s call it a day.
Where is Don Draper when you need him?
Here are a couple things tweens and teens like:
1) Looking like they aren’t trying too hard
2) Acting smarter than adults
Here is something they don’t like:
1) Looking like dorks
Remember the first person you knew who went out on Halloween dressed as a Cereal Killer?
I know. It’s played out now. But back in the day it was a showstopper. Funny, clever, cheap, and unexpected. I’d like to see a nod to that kind of costume creativity again.
A soft, brand-less ketchup bottle? All excitement has been neutered.
Wait! I just noticed something. The descriptor under the picture of the ketchup bottle costume says this:
“This ketchup bottle is marked organic with felt appliqué letters so you know it’s good for you.”
Wow, let the fun-fest begin! The PBTeen site boasts costumes made of “yarn dyed velour” and “felt appliqués”! These all-plush costumes with no hard edges will render you socially untouchable as you awkwardly dance three feet apart from your acquaintances at the well-lit Mormon Halloween party your parents are hosting in your rec room. (Of course I wrote that myself, but it’s implied.)
I don’t know the teen who would choose a “cool!” soft serve ice cream costume on the PBTeen site over the mini-skirted, bustier-topped Teen Devil costume on every other site out there. I’d like a company to come up with costume ideas that serve tweens with a sense of humor, intelligence, and creativity.
Having found no such thing out there, I did browse some chat rooms and came across some clever ideas for costumes your tween might like. They certainly fit the “I’m not trying too hard” and “I’m smarter than you” criteria.
Clever costume ideas for your tween:
The Babysitter: Dress like a stereotypical teenager and strap a doll to your rear end.
Deviled Egg: Wear all white with a yellow circle on your stomach. Wear devil horns and carry a pitchfork.
The Black Eyed Peas: Go with a group of friends. Everyone wears a giant cut out P taped to their chest and colors one eye black.
The Alternate Holiday: “I’m so counter culture!” Go as Santa, the Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, etc.
Gang Green: Go with friends, dress in all green, wear bandanas, and carry fake knives.
Ceiling Fan: Dress in sports gear, Paint “Go Ceilings!” on your shirt. Carry a sign that says “Go Ceilings!”.
Leaf Blower: Dress in flannel shirt and jeans. Tape leaves under your hat, falling over your eyes. Blow them when someone asks what you are.
I hope there is a company out there with a smart sense of humor that will come up with better ones. Middle schoolers, on the whole, have a great sense of humor, independence, and idealism. And that is just not something you can serve with an oversized bottle of organic ketchup.
Smarties, you can hang with Michelle every day at www.michelleinthemiddle.com!