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SALEM, Mass. (CAP) - Halloween festivities in Salem, Mass. were marred this week when police arrested more than a dozen 11- and 12-year-old girls, mistaking them for prostitutes.
"Well, you can't tell me they didn't look like prostitutes," said Salem Police spokesman Howard Wieczorek, who noted that they were only incarcerated for "a few hours" before their parents were able to pick them up.
"It was a little confusing at first, because most of their parents looked like prostitutes too," said Wieczorek.
Similar arrests were reported around the nation this Halloween, as "sexy" Halloween costumes have become more prevalent for girls of younger ages. In Salem, the girls were dressed as Sexy Hello Kitty, Sexy American Girl and Sexy Dora the Explorer, along with more generic costumes like Sexy Witch, Sexy Princess and Sexy Preschooler.
"I don't see what the problem is," said Michelle Ruggiero, 38, of Peabody, Mass., mother of one of the girls accidentally arrested. Ruggiero, dressed in her Sexy Homemaker costume of short apron, feather duster and bustier, was buying popcorn from a cart during Salem's famed Halloween celebration when police picked up her daughter and her friends.
"These girls are cute and thin, and I don't see why they shouldn't be able to show that off a little bit," said Ruggiero. "Maybe if more people let their kids wear 'sexy' little costumes, the United States wouldn't be in the disgustingly fat shape it is now," she added as she stomped out her cigarette with her 6-inch stiletto heel.
"I agree with my wife," added Ruggiero's husband, Carl, who was also wearing a bustier and stiletto heels.
But costumes like those that caused a ruckus in Salem have drawn criticism in some quarters. Darlene Fortenski, president of MAE (Mothers Against Everything), says there are many better options for young girls on Halloween.
"For instance, how about a nice business suit and briefcase, with little wire-rim glasses and hair pulled up into a sensible bun," suggested Fortenski. "You could call it, Girl Who Made Good Choices."
Mark Reynolds, owner of the popular online costume distributor costumeclatch.com, says his company doesn't offer a Good Choices costume, but does offer a very similar one featuring the top of a business suit, a briefcase, and a frilly mesh miniskirt. "It's called Tarty Tort Lawyer," he said, apparently proudly.
"All I know is, costumes like these cause a problem for law enforcement," said Wieczorek. "These girls should be wearing more socially acceptable costumes, like the ones my little boys wore [Killer Death Ninja and Bloody Soldier of Fortune]."
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