Pretty or promiscuous?

Halloween is a time for scary movies, candy, and costumes (which are my personal favorite part of the holiday). As kids, boys and girls typically dress up on Halloween for the purpose of trick-or-treating. However, when one hits a certain age in the state of Virginia, they cease to be able to trick-or-treat legally. So, when one hits this age, what becomes the point of dressing up? I argue that for many women, Halloween is used as an excuse to dress sensually without judgement.

Everybody who’s watched the movie Mean Girls likely remembers the scene where it’s explained that girls are supposed to dress slutty on Halloween. Karen is then shown dressed scandalously as a mouse in a tiny dress and Gretchen as a black cat wearing a skin-tight one-piece suit. Even though this is a scene from a fictional movie, it may well have some basis in reality.

In our American culture, costumes such as the sexy nurse have become motifs of the season. The aisles of Halloween stores are filled with sexualized costumes for females, including skimpy cat costumes, umpire costumes equipped with short-shorts and skin-tight blouses, and not to mention the plethora of police costumes that require no further description. As part of my research for this piece, I googled sexy costume ideas for females and the second result was a sexy nun costume. This begs the question, how far is our culture willing to go? Is there any costume idea our culture won’t think to sexualize?

Cosmopolitan magazine even had a whole feature this month on sexy Halloween costume ideas. Some of the more disturbing of Cosmopolitan’s ideas include the following: sexy baby, sexy Pokémon trainer, sexy weed dispensary worker, sexy Republican elephant, sexy zombie bunny, and sexy Prince.

The sad part is how early Halloween becomes less about fun and more about an opportunity to show off femininity. I remember the year when my friend/next-door neighbor turned 13, that Halloween she tried walking out of the house dressed as a sexy black cat and was immediately sent back into the house by her mother to change. Undoubtedly, she had extreme exception to this and vehemently refused. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but now realize how young this was to be exploiting oneself.

Another point I’d like to make about sexy Halloween costumes is that they’re highly impractical. Don’t any of these women get cold going back and forth from Halloween festivities? This is not the time of year to be bringing out the short-shorts and thin shirts.

Ultimately, it is my opinion that Halloween should be kept a family holiday. We as a society have forgotten the true meaning of Halloween in our culture. It is a holiday for children and young adults to take a pause from daily life and be something else for a night. It is a chance for people to spread love and joy to children by handing out candy. It is not a day for showing off with promiscuous outfits. Why have we poisoned a holiday primarily for children with sexuality? Is nothing sacred anymore?

Ashley Kline