Retailers criticised for selling ‘sickening’ Hallowe’en costumes

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Parents have criticised retailers for selling a sickening ‘Burnt Zombie Child’ Hallowe’en costume for young children in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

At least 18 children died in the horrifying inferno with experts warning tens of thousands of youngsters across the UK have been left traumatised by the disaster.

The £34.99 costume, sold by online retailer Escapade, is aimed at children aged just eight to ten years old.

Furious parents have criticised the firm for its insensitivity, with 99 per cent saying they would ban their child from wearing it.

And an outfit marketed as an ‘Anne Frank costume for girls’ has been withdrawn from sale following an online outcry.

The costume, sold on sites including Halloweencostumes.eu, consisted of a blue overcoat, green beret, brown satchel and brown paper name tag, and was also listed on Amazon as ‘World War II Evacuee Girl Costume”.

As retailers unveil their Hallowe’en costumes this week, the annual study from parenting site ChannelMum.com showed two-thirds of parents now claim some Hallowe’en costumes are ‘too frightening’ for young children, up from just 48 per cent last year.

One in five fear Hallowe’en is becoming more sinister every year and two in five (41 per cent) claim costumes no longer have a traditional Hallowe’en theme but are selected simply to terrify.

The study of 1,006 parents found 84 per cent of UK families celebrate Hallowe’en and of these, 94 per cent allow their kids to dress up.

But there is widespread worry about the direction the celebration is taking.

Other costumes highlighted by concerned parents include a Headless Horseman with a bloodied stump for a neck and no face, aimed at children aged just eight, alongside a ‘Killer Clown’ costume for eight to ten year olds which is marketed holding a bloodied meat cleaver - despite rising levels of knife crime.

At least 18 children died in the horrifying inferno with experts warning tens of thousands of youngsters across the UK have been left traumatised by the disaster.

The £34.99 costume, sold by online retailer Escapade, is aimed at children aged just eight to ten years old.

Furious parents have slammed the firm for its insensitivity, with 99 per cent saying they would ban their child from wearing it.

And an outfit marketed as an ‘Anne Frank costume for girls’ has been withdrawn from sale following an online outcry.

The costume, sold on sites including Halloweencostumes.eu, consisted of a blue overcoat, green beret, brown satchel and brown paper name tag, and was also listed on Amazon as ‘World War II Evacuee Girl Costume”.

As retailers unveil their Hallowe’en costumes this week, the annual study from parenting site ChannelMum.com showed two thirds of parents now claim some Halloween costumes are ‘too frightening’ for young children, up from just 48 per cent last year.

One in five fear Hallowe’en is becoming more sinister every year and two in five (41 per cent) claim costumes no longer have a traditional Hallowe’en theme but are selected simply to terrify.

The study of 1,006 parents found 84 per cent of UK families celebrate Hallowe’en and of these, 94 per cent allow their kids to dress up.

But there is widespread worry about the direction the celebration is taking.

Other costumes highlighted by concerned parents include a Headless Horseman with a bloodied stump for a neck and no face, aimed at children aged just eight, alongside a ‘Killer Clown’ costume for eight to ten year olds which is marketed holding a bloodied meat cleaver - despite rising levels of knife crime.

Disturbingly, there has been an in increase in the number of sexualised costumes for young girls, with 55 per cent of parents agreeing many are ‘too sexual’ for children, up from 43 per cent who felt this way last year.

Among the inappropriate costumes on offer is a provocatively-named ‘Midnight Mischief’.

The costume, for four to six year olds, is a ‘sexy witch’ with a corset and short mini skirt.

Retailer halloweencostumes.co.uk was also criticised by shocked parents for selling a XXS version of the skin-tight Sexy Feline Catsuit Costume, with a chest measurement of just 24 inches - the same as a typical six year old.

And even the traditional ghost outfit has been given a horror makeover, with ‘Scream’ style masks added to costumes for three-year-old toddlers.

As a result, nine in ten (89%) of parents now back age-appropriate ratings on costumes, up from just 68 per cent last year.

A further 92 per cent want retailers to take more responsibility for the outfits they sell, with 67 per cent claiming stores only care about profit.

One in five parents even admitted their child had had a negative experience wearing a Hallowe’en costume - with 16 per cent of children being so terrified by another child’s costume that they have left Hallowe’en celebrations.

ChannelMum.com founder Siobhan Freegard said: “Have retailers fallen under an evil Halloween spell? Looking spooky and scary is great fun and what Hallowe’en is all about - but some of these costumes have gone far too far.

“Stores have to be sensitive to the world around them. It’s time to realise it’s unacceptable to sell some of these outfits. Sexualising toddlers or pushing costumes which could traumatise simply for profit is the nastiest thing about Hallowe’en.”