Sexy Costumes for Little Girls May Be Wrong — But They’re Also Sold Out

by Sarah Knight on October 25, 2012

My eight-year-old daughter decided that she wanted to be a police officer for Halloween.

<—This is the only costume we could find in a girls size 8.

This is the creepy, S&M-style description next to the costume:

“Lay down the law in this official looking Police Girl girl’s costume and take charge of the party. Call out any troublemakers and decide what their punishment will be when you enforce the rules in this fun costume.”

I’m pretty sure there is nowhere on earth (outside of a strip joint) where this would qualify as an “official looking police girl’s costume.”

However, there is a much bigger problem here.


That’s right: this sexy, S&M police vixen costume is officially sold out in child small (sizes 4-6), child medium (sizes 8-10), and child large (sizes 12-14). And this same costume is sold out on most of the other sites I checked (however, a few sites did still have it available in TODDLER SIZE).

So no matter how many articles and blogs are out there protesting against sexy costumes for girls, it doesn’t matter. As long as costumes like these sell out, companies will never stop making them.

Because that’s just how companies are.

Nothing will change until parents stop buying it.

I had a talk with my eight year old about the costume and why we weren’t going to buy it. She agreed that real police women don’t wear skirts.

I didn’t use the word “sexy” because she doesn’t know that word. I said I thought it was too grown up.

It would be awesome if I could make her a costume, but I’m not crafty, I’m exhausted, and I’m realistic. It’s not going to happen.

So we finally found a costume that we both thought was OK. It’s a 19th century girl costume with petticoats and hoops.

It wasn’t until after I ordered it that I realized:

Women fought against having to wear restrictive outfits like this over a hundred years ago.

This week it was the most appropriate costume available for a little girl in the 21st century.

It’s time to move forward – not backward – for our girls.

Sarah Knight is co-founder of Mamas Against Drama and the mother of two little girls who will not be wearing this outfit ever. You can follow her on Twitter @sarahsknight.



{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

BrookeB October 25, 2012 at 8:02 am

This topic is so deep and complicated… I guess that’s why there are entire books and websites dedicated to it. I think the problem is found on so many levels of our society — even parents “accidentally” showing and telling girls what is expected of them. The other day I saw a mom standing behind her 3 year old-ish daughter as the daughter chose some stickers. The daughter picked basketballs. The mom said, ‘Oh, you don’t want basketballs. How about this teddy bear or princess?” She made her put the basketballs back. REALLY? Once you start looking around for the gender messages we’re sending our boys and girls, you can easily start to freak out! We tell our girls they can be anything and do anything — but everywhere they look the message they’re truly receiving is that they’ll ultimately be judged for their beauty and sexuality and that they have very specific roles they are meant to fill. Sad. I think like everything else, parents get lazy and simply don’t stop to think. I have to deal with getting food dye out of the food supply, Sarah. I’ll leave this one to you, but I lend my full support!


Sarah Knight October 25, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Thanks, Brooke. You’re right it IS complicated and the more you look the more you notice. The only good thing is that the more I notice, the more I point it out to my daughter and the more she notices too. It’s kind of like reading the food labels — the first step is just becoming aware of what’s healthy and what’s not healthy.


When I Blink October 25, 2012 at 8:30 am


I posited a theory on my site the other day — in jest, but I kind of mean it — that eventually this sexy costume trend is going to die down. (And I’m talking about costumes that don’t make sense being sexy… like sexy cop, sexy bumblebee, sexy coffee cup, sexy bandaid… not the ones that make sense being sexy, like sexy zebra. Everyone knows zebras are naturally sexy.)

I’m wondering if maybe it’ll just go out of fashion. Like, the get-ups will get skimpier and skimpier until skimpy’s not cool anymore, and then the pendulum will just swing the other way, as it does in fashion/trends. I don’t know. Maybe that theory applies to adults (I don’t like to go to a party dressed the same as everyone else); but I suppose it’s trickier for children, because their parents are the ones buying the outfits for them.

Let’s teach our kids to value creativity. This costume is sold out? That means lots of other people bought it, and tons of people will be wearing it. Wouldn’t it be cool to come up with something not everyone else will be wearing, and be a real original?

I realize the rub there is that kids often *want* to be just like everyone else and not stand out. So… I don’t know. But I agree with you.


Laura H. October 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm

i heart ML (and Eleanor Roosevelt).


Sarah Knight October 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Thanks! And, yes, of course zebras are sexy. (I also keep thinking of Nigel from Spinal Tap, “What’s wrong with being sexy?!?”) I agree about creativity. When I was a kid, no one bought costumes and we made our own. Yes, I had some pretty lame costumes (one year I wore my footie pjs and went as a “child in pajamas”), but making them was really fun. I hate to admit I was just too tired as a parent this year to pull that off with the kids — but maybe next year we’ll make costumes. Or I’ll send them out in their pajamas.


Ginger Kay October 25, 2012 at 10:08 am

It’s disturbing, isn’t it? It doesn’t seem that long ago that girls were looking for “cute” or “pretty” clothes. Now I routinely hear little girl voices exclaiming, “Ooohh, Mommy, I like this one! It’s so sexy!” when they’re looking at clothing in the children’s department. And the mom agrees and buys it!


Sarah Knight October 25, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Eeek! I haven’t heard that yet. Fortunately, my girls still don’t know that word. They mainly ask for clothes that are “sparkly” 🙂 And sparkly is way better than sexy! Thanks for reading!


Mommy Unmuted October 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

This is why my daughter will be wearing boys costumes! Either that, or she’ll be the strange girl that still wears Disney princess costumes until she’s 16. She was Belle last year and asked to be Belle this year again. We recycled the same costume. Think she’ll still want to be belle at 8? Here’s to wishing and hoping… 🙂


Sarah Knight October 26, 2012 at 11:38 am

The only problem is fitting her into the Belle costume. 🙂 They grow so fast! Wearing a boys costume is actually a good idea! Except I think the boys start getting too scary (graphic zombies, etc.) instead of sexy. Weird. Thanks for your comment!


Laura H. October 25, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Here’s my theory, based on my Halloween experiences in college (no one dressed up as anything remotely trashy in little ole Vidalia–a tiny town on the jugular vein of the Bible Belt– where I grew up). The tramps already dress like tramps, but this is the one day they feel vindicated to take it up a notch and dress even trampier. The young ladies who are not tramps per se but long to be in that group as they see it as the popular group, feel like they get a hall pass to test-drive the slutpuppy look. Their lack of self-confidence is the scariest part of the outfit. And then the nerdy, creative types dress up as things like A Cloud (yep–white trash bags filled with crumpled paper tied all around oneself and then draped with that gossamer spider web mess. Noah was smiling down, I assure you.). And in the end, folks talk about the funny, creative, unique, G-rated costumes. No one remembers the sexy turtle or the sexy lunchlady or whatever…just like no one remembers them on a day-to-day basis.
We have to move away from believing that appearances make one stand out. Intelligence makes one stand out.
Great post, Sarah. Scary, but great! 🙂


SH October 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

I totally agree. We can complain about the available costume selection as much as we want, but as long as people keep buying them, companies will keep making them. Companies may share in the blame here, but we as consumers are driving the bus.


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