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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? Andrea of "Bedtimes Are for Suckers" thinks so.


Andrea of "Bedtimes Are for Suckers": 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 4 or 5 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 formfitting 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 was and requested to be in one, I would never force her into playing dress-up. My daughter is now almost 4 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.


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.

Read more from Andrea at "Bedtimes Are for Suckers"

next: Must-See Tonight: 'School Pride' on NBC
216 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kristen October 29, 2010, 5:57 AM

You know I think your article should be about stupid parents who give their toddlers cups of milk and then let them carry it around all day till it becomes warm and rancid. Or how about getting mad at the parents who don’t put shoes on their babies in the freezing winter or who allow their child to run around in nasty diapers and no clothing. Really, your mad about a parent dressing their baby up????? Anne Geddes??? Seriously, I think Anne Geddes is great at least the children are in appropriate poses and not dressed as hookers or other horrible things. Good grief find something really awful to be upset about.

Jennifer L October 29, 2010, 6:06 AM

Ditto to Kristen’s entire comment. Clearly some people- as in, the writer- just need something to complain about.

Ummm October 29, 2010, 6:27 AM

I’m pretty sure this article is meant as a joke. IF there was someone who really did think this way, I doubt they’d put it into a rant-based article on momlogic. That being said, even though this is probably meant to be funny, it falls short of even that.

What Ummm said October 29, 2010, 7:17 AM

I totally agree with Ummm that this was meant to be a joke, but the tone is all off and it really isn’t funny.

Anonymous October 29, 2010, 7:53 AM

There’s too much bitterness in this for it to be a joke. I don’t really like seeing dressed-up babies, but, at least, if the costume looks comfortable - a shaped quilt or something - then it’s not really an issue. Quite frankly I feel a lot more sorry for animals that have been dressed up than babies. Besides, babies cry and scream all the time. This author could view halloween as payback time.

Shelly V October 29, 2010, 7:56 AM

Actually, I agree. My daughter got a cow costume from an aunt when she was 7 months old. It was a footie pajama with cow print and a bonnet in the same print with little ears. So, essentially, the same thing she wore otherwise. I don’t feel bad about that. She was comfortable and it made everyone who looked at her smile. I did have to keep refusing candy for her, though (no, I did not take her trick-or-treating, but I’ve seen that!)

The next year, I put her in black sweatpants and a sweatshirt with pumpkins and black kittens on it. She, again, was comfortable, it was a familiar type of outfit, and it was festive. We went to the WDW party and she had fun!

The following year, she was obsessed with Buzz Lightyear, so I got her a Buzz Lightyear costume to wear around the house. “I save your life!” happened about seventeen times a day. On Halloween, she wore the same costume.

It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. The constrictive, unfamiliar costumes do seem cruel to someone too young to understand why it’s happening.

mlf895 October 29, 2010, 10:11 AM

Really? I mean Really? What a joke of an article. I can’t even believe somebody had the nerve to even write this. Hope that works out for you there lady! Geeez!!!

India October 29, 2010, 10:19 AM

I’m one of those parents that’s going to be torturing my 3mo old, tonight he’s gona be the cutest lil pea in a pod anyone has ever seen!:o) btw I totally think the baby bunting costumes look super comfy & he seems to enjoy his

ss October 29, 2010, 11:41 AM

Are you kidding me? If this is supposed to be a joke it’s poorly done because it doesn’t come across that way at all. A baby has no idea if the clothes he’s wearing are footie pajamas or a pumpkin costume. They don’t know and they don’t care. Unless the costume is physically hurting them there’s no harm done. It’s just another form of clothing. This article is ridiculous.

KS October 29, 2010, 5:27 PM

Well I’ll just consider it pay back for all the sleepless nights, puke stained shirts, diaper blow outs, cracked nipples and ear piercing screams in the car.

I will forever stand with parents who dress their children up in incredibly silly outfits that are outrageously adorable and take an inordinate amount of photos. I then will stuff your inbox full of said photos till you puke. HA take that.

dsdd October 29, 2010, 6:57 PM

Really? Really? This article hardly deserves a response. I’ve never seen a baby ‘crammed’ into a costume and none have ever complained about it as many as I’ve seen. There is nothing wrong with harmless, it is harmless tradition for a photo op. In fact, the children will enjoy looking at the photos when they’re teens and beyond. Good luck if you’re going to wait until your child makes their own choices - she’ll probably never choose to go to school, work, etc. What then?

Pamala October 30, 2010, 9:44 AM

My 4 month old is going out tomorrow night as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Her older sister 4 is going as Ariel. I have two princesses and they’re going to have tons of fun!

Mary October 30, 2010, 10:14 AM

Put whatever you want on your baby. Stop complaining about what everyone else put on THEIR baby.

Also, what’s with the whole “it’s her choice and I’ll honor it” thing. She’s a kid. Kids that young have way too many choices now. I see parents who spend so much time trying to get out of the house in the morning because they give their kid a choice on everything. Outfit, shoes, coat, sipee cup etc. You’re the parent, put clothes on your child and go.

Also, I’m still trying to figure out why people bring babies in costumes to my door. You know that 2 month old baby is not eating any candy.

Jodie November 3, 2010, 12:28 PM

Wow really, how about complaining about something more serious. My 3 month old baby girl was an amazingly cute ladybug and not only did it look cute it kept her warm as well. No tears were shed.

Selmada November 4, 2010, 3:43 PM

And remember the guilt you will be hit with when your child is older and asks “hey mom, what did I dress as for my first halloween?”
As long as the clothes are warm, clean and not causing pain, then go for it.
There are too many ways parents neglect and abuse kids. Dressing them up at halloween is not one of them. Next you’ll be saying having a ‘babies first christmas’ bib is cruel. Sheesh.

Charly December 1, 2010, 1:21 PM

well infants don’t have a choice about their normal every day clothes either….so what then?? I mean, a cozy costume in the cool Autumn can’t be any worse than a diaper wrapped to tightly constricting their poor little breathing bellies…

d taylor December 2, 2010, 9:36 AM

Seriously… my mom dressed me up when i was a baby and i don’t look mad or upset i look quite content. just because the baby is asleep does not mean its not happy it means hes tired its a baby that’s all they do is sleep. as a matter of fact my 2 month old baby slept the whole time we were trick or treating. and it was because she was so comfortable and warm. she was smiles when she woke up and she actually cried when we took it off of her. i mean its like saying you shouldn’t dress your baby in clothes because he or she cant tell you that’s what they want or not. but you dress them any way don’t you.. this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.. i know my baby will grow up proud knowing that i included her in the Halloween tradition.

Jae December 2, 2010, 2:13 PM

She must have a boring life being that she wasted all her time writing a bunch of BS.

Erica December 6, 2010, 6:24 PM

“The blame, I surmise, falls upon Anne Geddes, the Queen of Cruelty to Babies.”

I recently resigned from working at a residential treatment facility for abused and neglected child when I found out I was pregnant.

As babies, some of these children were beaten until bones were broken, locked in closets for hours on end, neglected, starved, and sexually molested.

I think this writer really needs a reality check if she is calling Anne Geddes “The Queen of Cruelty to Babies.” If the worst problem she can find with her friends is them dressing up their baby for halloween, then I’d say they’re probably damn good parents.

Maybe she should stop and think next time before she writes and article as ridiculous as this, and start figuring out what “Cruelty” really is…

Krystal  December 7, 2010, 4:00 PM

Last Halloween i dressed my then 3 month old baby as winnie the pooh, in a polar fleece little snowsuit! she was nice and cozy and didn’t make a peep. This halloween my 4 year old was Cinderella while my tiny one was a Ragamuffin. (like Raggedy Anne) she was adorable and had a blast walking door to door with Grammy and her big sister. I feel sorry for your daughter if she’s going to grow up and eventually wonder why there are no adorable photos of her as a baby all dressed up. Children LOVE that kind of thing. Also, as babies, they honestly don’t care what they wear as long as it’s not itchy or scratchy, or not warm enough, etc…. I say…. GET OVER YOURSELF.

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