Are Some Halloween Kid Costumes Too Risque or Too Gory?

Parents are divided over what costumes are appropriate for kids.

ByABC News
October 24, 2011, 2:33 PM

Oct. 25, 2011 -- Forget the ghosts and goblins of Halloweens past.

This Halloween season, the scariest thing for parents may be the costumes your children are wearing.

The pumpkin and princess costumes once deemed as "cute" are today sexy and salacious, complete with halter tops, miniskirts and bare midriffs, and are perhaps the scariest thing parents have to contend with.

One item on the aisles of costume stores this year is a chamber maid costume -- for a 6-year-old.

"Good Morning America" showed bloggers from the website Moms & the City some of the costumes we found marketed to tweens and little girls this year to see what they thought.

As with manyparenting topics, their opinions were divided.

"I have two little girls, ages 6 and 2, and my little girls would never walk around in that costume," mom blogger Melissa Gerstein said of a "Wonder Woman" costume that included tights and a leotard. "That's an adult costume being marketed to children. I have a problem with that."

"Oh please," countered Gerstein's fellow mom blogger, Denise Albert. "It's Halloween. This is the time that our kids get to play dress up and put on these amazing costumes."

One of this year's strongest-selling costumes, the "Monster High" costume from toy maker Mattel, sparked a similar disagreement between the two moms.

"I don't love it," said Gerstein. "I think it's too risque. Let them dress as Dora. Let them dress as Mickey Mouse."

"This gives them options," countered Albert, who said that kids should be allowed to be different. "I think we are now programmed to overthink and overanalyze all these things. It's a cute costume."

This year's Halloween costumes have parents debating not just whether they're too revealing for young girls but also wondering whether they've become too gory, with kids taking a cues from horror movies like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

Joel Schwartzberg, the father of a 12-year-old boy and twin 9-year-old girls, was so incredulous at the terrifying looks of costumes meant for kids that he created a website called

"With this mask in the movie, the character took the skin off his victims and created his own mask," Schwartzberg said of the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" costume. "So you have kids wearing a mask that depicts human skin."

"It's really desensitizing them to violence," he said,explaining why he believes children too young to see horror movies should not be allowed to wear the costumes either. "I believe they come to a place where they believe such things are normal, and their standard for what's right and wrong, their values, starts to dip."

Pointing to a zombie doctor costume in particular, Scwhartzberg argued there is no way gory costumes do not have an effect on kids.

"Dressing yourself up in that costume, becoming that character and assuming that role of someone who kills, who mames, who tortures, I have to think it has an effect," he said.

Standing up for the new breed of Halloween costumes are, unsurprisingly, the merchants who sell them, and the companies that put them on the market to begin with.

Jason Sandlofer is director of operations for Ricky's, a costume shop in New York City.

"It's harmless," he told "GMA" of the scary costumes on his store's shelves. "When I was a child I wanted to be a ghost or a monster or Frankenstein. It's something they don't get to do every day and it's a time for them to express themselves, to be their alter ego."

Mattel, the maker of the "Monster High" costume issued this statement to "GMA":

"Adults bring a different lens of mature notions and experiences that children simply do not possess. Girls see the Monster High characters for who they are – fun, funny and relatable characters whose monster features and heritage speak to a universal truth – everyone has days when they feel like a monster and that they do not fit in. The brand's message to celebrate your unique differences has made the Monster High characters and their costumes popular with tween girls."

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" website.