Halloween costumes are a cherished part of autumn. Children's spirits soar as they experiment with make-believe and the assumption of new identities. It's a way of making real a small and friendly magic. And who hasn't oohed and aahed over little ones dressed for the season as teddy bears or tigers or kitty cats? (For our first Halloween, so many long, tedious years ago, we were a humble, brown mouse.)
But these are not that kind of costume. No, when you dress your child in these costumes, the magic quickly curdles. You are pretending for your baby, imagining she is food, meat, a dead and cooked animal.
It won't escape your attention that these costumes—featured on Martha Stewart's television show and website—are specifically not depictions of living beings. That livid red lobster is fresh from the boil. And the plucked turkey is wearing those paper shoes, the dead-turkey equivalent of heavy rouge on a corpse. The babies are even posed on platters, swaddled in garnish!
In that modest, unassuming way of ours, we refer to this as Ironic Aggressor Sublimation, and we've discussed it before (here, for instance). It's the supposedly hilarious identification with animals classified as victims, inferiors who could never threaten our status. It is never less than a laugh riot!
"It's a morbid thing."
Addendum (2/12/08): Another one. So cute! Hey, it's not like they feel pain or anything. (Image source.)
Addendum 2 (5/03/08) Of course, some people don't need to imagine their food babies as animals at all. For them, it's enough that they simply be identified as human chefs. No, wait. This is making less and less sense. (Photo courtesy of Dr. William.)
Addendum 3 (3/02/09): You may also choose to eat your child in sandwich form.
Addendum 4 (9/12/09): Or just cut out the middleman and eat a baby made from meat. Can you remember a time before you had ever seen this? Neither can we.
Addendum 5 (2/21/10): Children are edible in many, many forms.
Addendum 6 (12/26/10): Another example of the Grandmother Effect in action?