The 5 Best (and 5 Worst) Pop Culture-Inspired Halloween Costumes of 2015
From gratuitously gory to super sexy, mass-marketed Halloween costumes offer some questionable choices for kids. Sure, a big part of Halloween is trying on new identities. But media-inspired costumes that push the extremes send confusing, scary, and dated messages to kids.
Among the head-scratching costume choices for 2015 are sexy versions of characters from kids' movies and TV shows, as well as costumes based on major media moments that are age-inappropriate (hello, dead Cecil the lion). Use the opportunity to talk about gender stereotypes, what's too scary, and the line between funny and cruel. Consider helping your kids make their own costumes inspired by characters that promote positive (or at least age-appropriate) messages instead.
5 Worst Pop Culture-Inspired Costumes
Sexy Minion from Minions
The lovable little critters from the Despicable Me franchise starred in a film of their own this summer, and they will no doubt be a popular costume on the trick-or-treat circuit -- and apparently, for adults too. When denim overalls and work goggles get sexed up, you know the sexy-character shtick has gone too far.
Dr. Palmer and dead Cecil the lion
The media storm that dominated international news outlets, Facebook, and late-night television in the wake of Cecil the lion's death by a trophy hunter earlier this year incited global outrage over the practice of poaching. But at least one vendor saw an opportunity to capitalize on the killing. We're horrified, to say the least.
Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover
She's one of 2015's most talked-about celebrities and today's most public face of the transgender community; her already-iconic Vanity Fair cover heralded a new era of LGBTQ acceptance. We'd hate to see kids confuse the message, and set back the moment, through misguided costuming.
Navy Seal with gun and grenades
American Sniper is a powerful portrait of a Navy Seal hero, and as one of the most successful box office movies of all time it exposed the gritty and complex realities of war to families all over America. This kid-targeted Navy Seal costume is packaged with an arsenal of weapons (grenades, an assault rifle, and a knife), a gratuitous display of weaponry for a kids' costume even for a member of the armed forces.
Frilly, pink Supergirl from Supergirl
We've loved watching Supergirl emerge as a kick-butt heroine making her own dent in the boy-dominated superhero space. So for a character who already struggles to transcend gender stereotypes, it's a bummer to see that this super frilled-up "girly" version even exists.
5 Pop Culture-Inspired Costumes We'd Like to See Instead
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Why we love it: What's not to love about Bill Nye? An enduring television presence, he's turned countless kids and teens onto science over the years by making learning fun -- and funny.
How to pull it off: Wear a loose-fitting light blue blazer or lab coat, sculpt a cowlick into your hair, and definitely don a bow tie. Tote around a beaker filled with liquid, and spew science facts from the Bill Nye app!
Why we love it: This cartoon cutie is a terrific role model on a show that sends excellent messages to kids about gender roles, imaginative play, caring for others, and problem solving.
How to pull it off: A white doctor’s coat, a headband, colorful clothes, and a stethoscope around the neck. Bonus points for a doctor's bag.
Miss O from Odd Squad
Why we love it: Educational and entertaining, Odd Squad has awesome math-minded characters who solve problems to save the day. Miss O is the lively lady in charge of the whole gang.
How to pull it off: A navy blue blazer or fitted jacket adorned with a shiny gold badge over a purple T-shirt. A lavender beaded necklace (and a juice box) complete her signature no-nonsense look.
How to pull it off: From cheerleader to glamour girl to polished prepster, there are plenty of ways to pull off Ms. Swift without going too far into sexy territory. Try high-waisted shorts and a tucked-in shirt, or a glittery one-piece with performance-ready hair and bright red lipstick. Want more ideas? Here are 17 Taylor Swift costume looks.
Miles from Miles from Tomorrowland
Why we love it: This terrific TV show for tots encourages kids to look to the sky with a new sense of wonder. Miles is eager and enthusiastic and always looking for ways to help on his family's missions.
How to pull it off: Wear a long-sleeved blue jacket or pullover, green pants or tights, and blue rainboots. Make your own space helmet for an awesome intergalactic accessory!