Wal-Mart pulls 'naughty' toddler Halloween costume

Outfits for the fall holiday are increasingly pushing the envelope, leading to apologies and yanked merchandise.

By Aimee Picchi Sep 26, 2013 5:22PM

Walmart 'Naughty Leopard' Halloween costume (© Danita Harris – WEWS via Facebook)Exactly when Halloween transformed into an excuse for adults to wear "sexy pirate" outfits may never be known, but Wal-Mart (WMT) is now finding out that pushing "naughty" costumes for toddlers is going over as well as slipping razor blades into apples. 

After complaints from parents, the retailer is pulling a costume called "Naughty Leopard" from its shelves, reports the Houston Chronicle. Some worried the outfit tapped into a "sex sells" strategy that sexualizes children. 

Proving that tasteless Halloween costumes know no boundaries, Britain has its own scandals. 

Two British supermarket chains are backing down after offering "mental patient" costumes. Asda, which is owned by Wal-Mart, apologized for its costume, which featured a meat cleaver and a blood-covered straightjacket, and said it would make a donation to a mental health charity, the BBC notes. 

Tesco, not to be outdone, apologized for its orange "psycho ward" jumpsuit costume, which featured a plastic jaw restraint and machete. Both retailers are pulling the costumes. 

Still, the leopard costume was more a victim of its description than the clothing itself, since the dress features a fairly traditional girl's frock, with a set of cat ears to add a feline dimension. It's hardly titillating or shocking, but the negative reaction may be due to the strange dichotomy of Halloween. 

Once the purview of elementary-age trick-or-treaters, the holiday now is an excuse for grownups to don "sexy" costumes, ranging from a "sassy" Ursula the Witch get-up to a "sexy" Bert or Ernie ensemble (yes, as in "Sesame Street").


How did this all come about? Maybe it was Elvira's sexy vampire look back in the 1980s, or the notoriously line-crossing Greenwich Village Halloween parade, as Slate notes. And of course, the holiday has always been about pushing boundaries, given that it was once believed to be the day when the spirits of the dead revisited their homes. 

Still, it shouldn't require a psychic to know that sexy toddler costumes and outfits equating mental illness with violence are going to fly as well as the Great Pumpkin. 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi

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Sep 26, 2013 6:28PM

The only ting naughty about that costume is the word naughty.


Sep 26, 2013 6:36PM
That costume is probably the best looking thing in the store. Have you seen the people that shop there?? It's like Halloween every day!
Sep 26, 2013 6:36PM
When did the word "naughty" become synonymous with the word "sexy".  The formal definition of naughty is "disobedient; badly behaved" although the informal definition is "mildly rude or indecent, typically because related to sex".  Why is the world getting so politically correct that we live by informal meanings instead of true meanings?
Sep 26, 2013 6:35PM
WOW...this costume doesn't look naughty..it's actually kinda cute...and the name...really??? I probably wouldn't have noticed it and I m some whatof a prude when it comes to kids. Some people have overactive imaginations.
It's a shame that WALMART doesn't have the balls to stand up to the old kvetches who complain about the costume.  There's always someone who's 'unhappy' about something....give them a pill and tell them to shut up.
Sep 26, 2013 6:38PM
this is another example of insane everybody is, to many people complain about to much crap, if you don't like it, don't buy it,  no one is making you wear it. this country and this world have enough actual problems, maybe we should just ban the holiday to shut everybody up.
Sep 26, 2013 6:42PM
Have we forgotten the true definition of naughty?  Pulling this costume and the complaints are just silly.  
Sep 26, 2013 6:48PM
People need to worry about things that really matter and not look for and find problems where they do not exist.
Sep 26, 2013 6:50PM
I'm kind of looking at that costume wondering if the intent of the word 'naughty' was really a sexual naughty, or just a kiddie kind of naughty like a kid being bad on Halloween naughty.  I think the weird thinking people might have had their heads in the gutter on this one.
Sep 26, 2013 7:03PM

It's a shame the way Halloween has been turned around. When I was young we didn't buy costumes because they did not have them to sell. The fun of the day was making up your own costume with what we had at home. we would use cork that our dad would  char for us moms old make up talc powder and presto we were a hobo or a clown. using dads old jacket and pants with a hat we were a scarecrow. We had fun making our costumes and then parading down Main St. Trying for a prize. What fun we had





Sep 26, 2013 6:32PM

haha Just talking about this on FB. This is stupid to pull because some people sexualized a non-sexual word. I understand that some heavy brow people equate the word naughty to the naughty nurse or naughty nun in Halloween costumes, however, the word naughty just means bad. The outfit itself is perfectly chaste as it should be for a baby or toddler or child. I will agree though, what the hell is a naughty leopard anyway? Is it because it's a purple leopard?


The mental patient one was plain idiotic and should NEVER have been released.


The sexy thing came about when women figured it was the one night a year they could dress like a hooker (figuratively and literally) and not be judged for it. Fantasies abound with Halloween afterall. It's my fave and I love costumes, but never felt the need to get naked about it.

Sep 26, 2013 6:53PM
Why didn't they just call it Little Leopard instead Naughty Leopard.  Stupid, it's just a costume and nothing naughty about it,it's descent,fully dressed with headband,so what the big deal.   GEEEEEEEEEE  stupid people give me a break.   A person had to have a sick,sexual proverted mind to think this cute little outfit costume is sexual imposing on a child.  PLease !!!!!!!!!!!!!!   give me a F#*King break.
Sep 26, 2013 6:30PM
I always go as a homicidal maniac since they look like anybody else. It makes this holiday so much cheaper and less complicated.
Sep 26, 2013 6:55PM
When is someone in corporate America going to stand up and tell the politically correct idiots of the world to just shut up and shop somewhere else?  I would be more likely to shop at a store that had a backbone and refused to be bullied.
Sep 26, 2013 6:49PM
This is all people have to complain about?
Sep 26, 2013 6:40PM
Just pull the "naughty" out?
That's like naming something "Terrible Chocolate Cookies" when the cookies are good.
Kids wouldn't really care about the naughty cause they aren't perverted.... yet..... thankfully.

Sep 26, 2013 6:35PM

Who ARE these complainers?  It's Halloween, for goodness sake.  There was nothing "naughty" at all about kid's outfit.  Just the name.  They should change it to "Sexy Leopard". 

Sep 26, 2013 6:47PM
This whole thing is ridiculous.  If you don't like the costume for your tot then don't buy it.  As for the mental patient...how many movies are out there like that?  C'mon.  Halloween is not just for kids.  That's a ridiculous idea...but home made costumes are the best anyway.
Sep 26, 2013 6:43PM
That isn't naughty.. however the word can be offending to people. That doesn't even look like a leopard anyway. The thing that should be scrutinized is the horrible costume, I mean it looks like a toddler in a black tutu with a pair of cat ears! Way to go "Mean Girls" on Halloween Wal-Mart.  
Sep 26, 2013 7:07PM

Give it a break! If it was called little cat it would be ok???

How about rainbow costume? Amazing how stupid people can be, following someone's

thoughts instead of their own." Naughty" , you mean like lil devil, mischievous?????

I remember when gay meant happy!!!!!.............................

And we wonder why I kids are so out of control today..................... 

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