A girl of about 6 stares up at a giant set of breasts hanging from the costume aisle at the Woodworm Party Store on Ocean Avenue in Santa Cruz.
"Mommy, what's that?" she asks.
Her mother grabs her hand and marches her on.
"I don't think this is the children's section."
No, that's way in the back, in a small area, cloistered from the lurid displays up front.
This store is no exception for a holiday that has been spirited away from the innocence of trick or treating and turned into a giant Exotic Erotic Ball.
Take all the costumes for women – pirate, witch, mermaid, angel, maid – and add the word sexy to them and that's what you get in the new Halloween shops.
The kids' section is tucked away in a separate room in the back – the kind of place they once put the X-rated stuff or the bongs – and even some of those once innocent styles look a little too salacious. No, a lot too salacious. (See the pics above.)
Parents used to fear evildoers giving away bad candy on Halloween. Now, in the downtowns of many of our cities, they have to shield their childrens' eyes from the sluttiness that passes for normal.
Has Halloween become too slutty, particularly for girls and women? You don't see these styles for men.
Are you offended by what you see in the shops and the costumes being worn by all ages out at night?
How do you keep your kids away from the overwhelming sexualization of the holiday? Is this an only-in-California phenomenon?