It’s that time of year again! Time to break out the sweaters, sip pumpkin spice lattes, and carve pumpkins. And time to celebrate Halloween! Everyone who celebrates this holiday knows that wearing a costume is a hugely fun part of the day. Women’s costumes, however, tell a tale all their own.
It’s hard these days to find women’s Halloween costumes that don’t have the word “sexy” implied in the title. Even the most obscure things can be made into risqué outfits. The display pictures on Spirit Halloween’s website almost all feature a short dress, high heels, and a low neckline. So what message do these costumes send, both to women and to younger girls?
For one thing, these costumes reinforce the idea that women are sexual objects. Rather than strive for accuracy (a female police officer would not wear a skirt; it’s simply not practical), the point of these costumes is to accentuate the female body and make it pleasurable to look at. Though an article of clothing is never an invitation, women are left with very limited options when it comes to coverage. I’ve seen girls get catcalled on Halloween first hand and been told to ignore it because “of course that’s going to happen if you wear that.” This mindset is harmful to all ages. Girls grow up seeing their bodies as something to be ashamed of, and women have their autonomy taken away.
That being said, women should not be shamed if they choose to go with a sexy costume. There is a raging double standard for women on Halloween. If a woman chooses to dress in a traditional, modest costume, then she just doesn’t like to have fun. But if a woman chooses to wear one of these risqué outfits, she is immediately branded as promiscuous. Much of this is internalized misogyny and is actually perpetuated by other women. Remember on Halloween that everyone has a right to dress as they choose.
For those of you who are uncomfortable with most of the store-bought costumes available but still want to dress up for Halloween, here are some good alternatives.
Daleks from Dr. Who
This costume is perfect for the girl who wants to release her inner nerd. You can buy them online, or create your own by super-gluing plastic Christmas ornaments onto a skirt. If the skirt still feels too short, try some metallic legging
The pin-up styles of the 50s still remain highly popular. Wear a poodle skirt and blouse to imitate this pin-up style while still maintaining the length you are comfortable with.
Superhero: Most women’s superhero costumes will provide a miniskirt, crop top, and small cape. Instead, wear pants and a shirt with the logo of your chosen superhero on them. Much more practical for crime fighting!
Remember that Halloween is supposed to be fun for everyone. Whatever you choose to wear, respect the choice of those around you. The sexy witch has as much a right to an enjoyable holiday as the dead bride (Mean Girls, anyone?).
Have fun trick-or-treating, and be safe. Happy Halloween!