A scene in the movie Apollo 13 portrays an astronaut’s wife arguing with her teenage daughter over her Halloween costume. The girl wanted to go trick-or-treating dressed as a hippie, over her mother’s dead body. Even considering the time period of 1969, and from a standpoint of modesty, I for one could find nothing objectionable about the costume, despite the loudmouthed kid sister’s exaggerated observation that, “She’s not even wearing a bra, you can see EVERYTHING!”
I wish that mother could’ve seen what knocked on my door this last Saturday night: Two girls who couldn’t have been more than twelve years old, thirteen tops, identically dressed as sexy barmaids. They wore white, low cut blouses with puffy sleeves off the shoulder, tightly laced bodices, and ruffled mini-skirts that stuck out like open umbrellas. The only things missing were fistfuls of foaming beer steins and some accordion-playing Chippendales in lederhosen.
I waited for them to chorus, “We’re from the escort service,” at which point I would’ve told them they had the wrong house, or demanded an explanation from my twenty-one year old son who stood next to me enjoying the sights. Instead, they chimed, “Trick or treat!”
But even that could’ve been taken the wrong way with the wrong person.
I don’t have the sort of confrontational personality that might have spurred me to ask, “Do your mothers know you’re dressed like that, or did you start out wearing these under the Mrs. Danvers and second Mrs. De Winter costumes that you doffed and ditched as soon as you got to the next block?”
I looked up the barmaid costumes online. I found many remarkably similar to what these girls wore, all very expensive, and sold alongside a wide variety of other adult costumes that—call me an old-fashioned stick in the you-know-where—do not belong on the bodies of young teenage girls. Especially after dark. Let alone on the street.
I’d rather see my daughter go out as a hippie. But only on Halloween.