Party City Under Fire For Sexist Girls’ Halloween Costumes

Party City calls itself one of the places to get your Halloween costumes. But the store has come under fire for selling mostly sexist costumes geared towards little girls, pre-teens, and teenage girls.

Lin Kramer noticed the selection of Party City’s Halloween costumes for little girls while shopping with her 3-year-old daughter. She wrote an open letter on the company’s Facebook page expressing the frustration she felt when she noticed the difference in Halloween costumes for boys and girls. She noticed that when it comes to dressing up little girls as police officers, ninja turtles, pirates, and so forth, they have to wear a skirt instead of pants.

Party City Children's Costumes

“When you look around at the police officers in your city or neighborhood, the uniforms they wear are probably substantially similar to the costumes you have elected to offer for boys. However, the same cannot be said of the costume you market to girls. Generally speaking, real life uniformed female police officers do not wear short skirts and low cut shirts, but instead wear exactly the same slacks and shirts as their male counterparts.”

Experts have also noticed that gender stereotypes happen early in childhood. It can happen with the sexualizing of young girls’ costumes or saying what boys should wear and what little girls should wear. Parent Toolkit expert and psychologist Dr. Michele Borba said that if we tell children how to look and what to wear, we could be limiting them on what they want to be.

“There are so many other qualities than gender. The bottom line is we want to raise happy, healthy, strong kids. If we stereotype in gender, race, age, we really start to pigeon-hole them and it begins to set up bias that there are certain things they can’t be.”

Party City released a statement to NBC News explaining that the company “supplies a broad assortment of costumes suitable for all styles, tastes, and budgets. We believe parents are as involved in their children’s costumes choices as they are in selecting their everyday attire…”

Kramer isn’t the only parent who feels this way. Paul Henson shared a photo on Facebook of his son dressed up as Elsa from Disney’s Frozen.

'Frozen' Halloween Costume
(Credit: Paul Henson/Facebook)

“Anyone that knows us, knows we generally let Caiden make his own choices, to an extent. Well he has decided on a Halloween costume. He wants to be Elsa. He also wants me to be Anna. Game on. …Halloween is about children pretending to be their favorite characters. Just so happens, this week his is a princess.”

As for Party City, they stand by their choice to sell costumes for young boys and girls, even if it’s deemed sexist by parents. They also claim that “nothing we carry is meant to be offensive,” but they may have to retract that statement. As previously reported via the Inquisitr, the company has also come under fire for selling Native American costumes during the Halloween season.

The issue became the interest of social media when Jamie Beck-Finn checked out her local Party City to find a costume for Halloween. She noticed that there were many Native American costumes on display. She also took to Party City’s Facebook page to share her sentiments on the offensive costumes.

“Hey Party City, this is not okay! Educate yourselves and get this offensive stuff out of your stores!”

Unfortunately, issues such as this aren’t new. Halloween shops, costume stores, and party retailers have been selling Native American costumes for as long as they’re making them. But Native Americans aren’t fictional characters or mythical beings that you can turn into characters.

Party City also caused a massive uproar in 2012 when it sold a Hooters costume geared towards infants. A quick look at the retailer’s website shows that the company is no stranger to sexualizing both young girls and teen girls. It looks like controversy is nothing new for this retailer and similar retailers that sell Halloween costumes. The real question is: when will these retailers stop selling controversial costumes?

[Photo Courtesy of Katy Warner/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and Resized | CC BY-SA 2.0]

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