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"