Clip and save for next Halloween

RaggedyAnnAnyone who has paid close attention to Christian niche culture knows the drill. If the secular world catches a fever, the contemporary Christian subculture catches the cold about one or two years later. You could see this a few years ago with the "Christmas wars" story.

A trend developed in the real world. A few media outlets did stories at the local and regional levels and then, with the Internet and talk radio, the story spread. More people heard about it and reacted. Then more mainstream media were pushed -- by events -- to cover the story. Then there was a tipping point and we had ourselves a national story. (I focused on my own columns just to show the time range.)

Some people think the "Christmas Wars" are real and others disagree, almost always along a blue-zip-code v. red-zip-code divide. But the news story is now real and it should kick into gear soon, in large part because it has become a rallying point on the left as well as the right.

What does this have to do with the picture of the Sexy Raggedy Ann costume with this post?

Several GetReligion readers have written to ask why I think this slutty Halloween story is a "religion story."

Well, on one level it has to do with our post- or post-post-feminist culture (I get confused about that) and the loss of modesty. That has cultural and moral overtones. However, that was not my point in the original post in this thread. I was asking if and when people would rebel against this Halloween trend. I then asked if churches would have the sense to join, or lead, this cultural mini-rebellion.

So with that in mind, Godbeat reporters might want to clip and save the following USA Today story and blog item as a resource. The On Deadline blog item notes:

Costume pros say the list goes on and on: sexy pirates, sexy professionals, sexy Grim Reapers, etc. The costumes are mostly aimed at young adults, but teens appear to be joining the trend, today's story says. Covering the trend has become a bit of a trend itself this year.

UA83006Well, obviously. The blog then offers a handy list of mainstream news URLs to help readers follow coverage of the trend.

Like I said -- file it. Meanwhile, the news story offered this slice of information about the trend out in young, fit America.

The 18- to 24-year-old group is spending an average of $30.38 on costumes this year, a 38% increase over 2005, according to the National Retail Federation and BIGresearch. Those 25 to 34 will spend an average of $31.33, up 17%. National Costumers Association President Debbie Lyn Owens says college students suiting up for parties are fueling much of the costume growth.

"Halloween has turned into a fashion statement for young adults," says CEO Jalem Getz. "Sexy costumes have really increased in popularity."

Measurement firm Hitwise says the share of online searches for "sexy Halloween costume" was up 400% for the four weeks ended Oct. 21 vs. the period last year. ... While young women spend the most on sexy outfits, retailers also have seen an uptick in sales of suggestive male garb. is "doing well" with a "hot cop" outfit (complete with tight shorts and an accessory that allows consumers to add padding in the most ego-enhancing location) and a scantily-clad Santa, Getz says.

Whoa baby! That last image could carry us over to the Christmas Wars kickoff events!

I do not know if the Christian niche culture will go on a modest Halloween jag in the next year or two. Hey, it may take longer than that. Traditional churches may simply rebel by placing a renewed emphasis on All Saints rites and events. It could happen.

Also, this simply cannot be a "Christmas Wars" situation, because there is no comparison in the cultural power of the two seasons. Then again, side effects of the Sexual Revolution are always good for a few waves of headlines. How far can this trend go?

There may be a religion story here. Clip and save.

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