Fall is one of my favorite seasons of the year. The weather starts to get colder (at least at night), and sweaters and bonfires become more common. One of my favorite parts about fall, though, is Halloween. Halloween has always been an exciting holiday for me. My family would always have cool costumes; one of my favorite memories is of one of my cousins continuously adding “Jedi” to every one of her costumes (Jedi-Sheep, Jedi-Laundry Basket) by merely adding a lightsaber.
As we get older, though, I’ve come to the realization that Halloween is also a time for some people to dress even more promiscuously than usual. Although my costume this year is of Stephanie from “Lazytown”, I made the costume myself. If I chose to buy my costume from the store, though, I knew I would only have a small amount of choices.
I’ve recently noticed a double standard with women and Halloween costumes. The costumes for women offered by big Halloween stores are too provocative, too promiscuous. At the same time, though, those are generally our only options. Big Halloween stores make costumes that are appropriate for children and usually funny men’s costumes, but when it comes to outfits for women, there’s always a lot of cleavage and a lot of short skirts and tight clothing. Granted, sometimes these costumes are cute, but not all women woman want to wear those types of outfits. Whatever a woman wears is typically called “slutty [insert costume],” like “Slutty Alien” or “Slutty Dog” or “Slutty Cop,” and that’s due to those types of costumes being the most common costumes made available for us.
Spirit Halloween is one of the big-name costume stores, and among their options for costumes for women, they have a few costumes that are actually appropriate for women. Most of these costumes, though, are characters from TV shows and movies that are not meant to be anything but that. The rest of them, however, are examples of sexy costumes. Please note the “Adult Bad Habit Nun Costume.” And why? Why would anyone want to wear that when it looks nothing like an actual nun? Halloween stores are playing up these stereotypes to make money. Not every costume we wear has to be inappropriate, but we tend to have to make costumes ourselves if we want something different, especially if we want them to be funny.
Luckily, though, some stores are catching on to this dilemma and selling other costumes. Target, for example, has costumes that are actually accurate of what they should look like, and Target doesn’t make them look sexy or any different just because they’re women’s costumes. This is what I like to see when I go into costume stores: costumes that are funny and actually look like characters. Although some women love it, and I think that’s great, at the same time I don’t want to wear a costume that I’ll feel uncomfortable in. If I go into a store like Party City looking for a pirate costume, I want to see an actual pirate costume in the women’s section, and not whatever this is!
A classic example of this comes from one of my favorite television series, “How I Met Your Mother.” In Season 1, character Ted Mosby goes to a Halloween party on top of his roof in search of the “Slutty Pumpkin,” who he believes to be the love of his life. Although I was in no way offended by the episode itself, it did make me think about the stigma placed on women and their choice of costume at Halloween. The Slutty Pumpkin was literally wearing a pumpkin costume, which is not promiscuous in the least; it’s maybe the exact opposite. But they still call her that in the show.
I think that big Halloween stores should offer more outfits for women to choose from other than costumes that are revealing. People say that Halloween is a time for women to dress sluttier than usual because that’s the stereotype that has been placed on us, especially by costume stores (and *cough cough* men) who mainly just offer those kinds of costumes, and I think that that makes women have the preconceived notion of wanting to be sexy for Halloween even before looking at these costumes. I think this turn to skimpier costumes also comes from a shift in pop culture, and Mic has an article that further looks into the reasoning behind this.
I don’t know how to reverse this shift in sexier Halloween costumes, but Halloween stores could at least make the men’s outfits more promiscuous as well (please don’t though).