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Halloween Costumes Are Cruel to Babies

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Is dressing tiny defenseless babies in costumes cruel and unusual punishment? I think so.

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Momlogic's Momstrosity: The thought of cruelty towards an innocent child is something mothers can't even get their heads around. Babies are helpless, defenseless, adorable creatures. Yet every Halloween, hapless parents force infants to wear ridiculous costumes for their own amusement.

Several years ago, Martha Stewart featured a segment showcasing multiple babies dressed as a Thanksgiving dinner -- including a turkey and various pies. Each entree looked barely four or five months old. One little baby was fast asleep in her "apple pie" getup when Martha, unfazed, exclaimed, "She just loves her costume!!" Actually, I believe that kid was exercising her first defense mechanism. "Maybe this is all a terrible dream, and if I go to sleep, it will all just go away -- and this woman's voice is grating on my last nerve."


Most of my friends did and do dress up their infants in Halloween costumes, and were appalled that I didn't -- as if I'm some sort of holiday killjoy because I didn't bend my baby into a form- fitting pea-pod number just for my own selfish photo op. When the photos inevitably show up in my e-mail, I always feel sorry for the babies. They usually look so beaten down or pissed off or both.

But hey, if a baby ASKS to be in a costume, it's totally different. If your 2-month-old says, "Please Mom, I'd like to be shoved into a felt taco shell for Halloween!" then by all means go for it. (BTW, if your newborn is talking to you, your kid's a raving genius and you can ditch Halloween altogether -- and immediately get on the talk show circuit.)

I made a deal with my baby. Until she understood exactly what a costume is and requests to be in one, I would never force her into playing dress-up. My daughter is now almost four and she WANTS to be a princess for Halloween -- and by gum, that's what she's going to be. It's her choice and I honor it.

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Whose idea was this Halloween trend of dressing up kids fresh from the womb? The blame, I surmise, falls upon Anne Geddes, the Queen of Cruelty to Babies. For years, Ms. Geddes has been using babies for fun and tons of profit. Geddes' website has the curious tagline: "Protect Nurture and Love." Really? How is it nurturing to shove a newborn into a fake flowerpot and stick a cloth flower on her head? How is it any different from dressing up a senile grandparent as a clown without their consent? Babies can't answer for themselves, and we didn't bring them into the world as dress-up dolls. At least I didn't.

Want a truly adorable costume for a baby? Dress them up as ... a baby. It's easy and soooooo cheap. Plus, there's nothing cuter.


next: Pink October Comes to an End
16 comments so far | Post a comment now
littlepeapie October 31, 2009, 5:15 AM

Personally, I think if the outfit is too hot, too breezy or restrictive, then yes it is cruel..otherwise, their first Halloween is their first Halloween….and when you think about that “pea in a pod” costume, how torturous does that really look? Every child I’ve ever see is sleeping in it…

chris October 31, 2009, 6:20 AM

Man, so many of the bloggers for this site are soooo negative! There is nothing wrong with dressing your baby in a halloween custome. I dressed both my babies in customes and in no way did I harm them. If you sit back and wait for your child to okay everything you do for them, you are going to miss out on a lot of childhood memories. Last time I checked, babies who can’t talk also can’t agree to getting hugs and kisses from family or friends, can’t ask for play dates or to go to the park or even what toys they get to play with.
Also, by sitting back and letting your child make all of their own decisions, aren’t you setting them up to one day run all over you and your decisions? As parents, we are the ones who should be making decisions for them not the other way around. No wonder so many kids these days are self centered and think the world should revolve around them. Stand up as a parent and make a decision!

Robin October 31, 2009, 6:46 AM

My 8mo is a pumpkin for Halloween. She loves the costume because it’s warm and snuggly and basically amounts to a pair of PJs with a hood. She just grins and giggle the entire time. When my now 4yo went for his first Halloween at 7mo he was Roo from Winnie the Pooh and the costume was the same deal, snuggly PJs with a hood. I don’t think it’s mean as long as they are comfy. I think sometimes it’s meaner to shove these little babies into dresses, tights and little shoes (that they can’t even walk in yet!)!

Matt Bramanti October 31, 2009, 7:30 AM

“It’s her choice and I honor it.”

Way to show ‘em who’s boss.

m October 31, 2009, 7:44 AM

Way to create controversy! What a stupid article.

Funny Mommy October 31, 2009, 10:07 AM

Hilarious! And yeah Anne Geddess pix creeps me out.

cm October 31, 2009, 12:22 PM

Sissy mom…your kids are going to walk all over you one day.

Stephanie October 31, 2009, 1:31 PM

To say that putting a costume on a child is cruel is a huge leap. Unless the costume is somehow physically harming them, there’s nothing cruel about it. I don’t want my kids feeling like I left them out of their first Halloweens just because they weren’t old enough to ask me to dress them up. I have yet to hear of an older child feeling hurt, angry nor traumatized in any way because they were dressed in a costume in their infancy. Costumes are fun for kids of all ages and I think my kids will get a kick out of seeing what I dressed them as when they were babies.

PB October 31, 2009, 3:52 PM

This article goes to show that people have seriously taken all the joy out of life. Stop using serious topics of cruelty to describe infants in costumes when there are ‘REAL’ cruelty going on in the world.

T. October 31, 2009, 4:02 PM

My advice—you should have a little fun in life. If it’s not bothering the baby, then what’s the harm?

T. October 31, 2009, 4:05 PM

Have some fun in life…if it’s not hurting them, what’s the problem?

A Truly Abusive Parent (apparently) October 31, 2009, 6:54 PM

You’re absolutely right. Of all the horrible cruelty babies endure all over the world HALLOWEEN COSTUMES are right up there.
Grow up.

Dara November 2, 2009, 2:25 AM

really? seriously? get over it. thats part of the joy of celebrating baby’s first halloween or christmas. hope your kids won’t be as miserable and looking to fight like you are.

B! November 2, 2009, 12:36 PM

you’ve got to be kidding me!!? CRUEL to dress your baby up for a HOLIDAY that all other chilren are dressed up for as well… wtf is wrong with you?!?!?!

Abbey November 3, 2009, 10:45 AM

Oh, yes, putting your infant in a Halloween Costume is so cruel. It’s comparable to locking your child up in a basement for hours with nothing to eat or drink. I certainly would rather take all the fun out of my enjoyment for holidays just to make an infant, who doesn’t realize what is happening, continue to not realize what is going on around him or her. I mean, how dare people want to take silly pictures of their infants. And then the babies don’t even have the capacity to request a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! The Horror! And, forget putting little dresses and suites on them for holidays, because they can’t ask to be dressed up and they don’t even understand what special occasions are anyway. Come to think of it, why dress them at all? If they can’t ask to be dressed, why should I dress them?

Come on, give me a flippin’ break. Creating controversy just to see yourself type, are we? It’s a holiday. It’s creating traditions. It’s creating memories. That’s what is important, not being judgemental about people dressing their kids up. If you don’t want to, don’t do it and shut up about it.

And, watch the words you use. Cruel is an awfully heavy word to use on such a minor issue.

KD November 3, 2009, 11:04 PM

Is this article supposed to be some kind of joke? Good grief!


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