Hypersexuality of Halloween costumes: hot or not?


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In Mean Girls, Lindsay Lohan’s character Cady is invited to her first American Halloween party.

“In the normal world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy,” she said, as she put her zombie bride costume together, complete with gruesome makeup and a Victorian wedding gown.

“In girl world, Halloween is the one night a year a girl can dress like a total slut, and no other girl is going to say anything about it.”

Cady learns this the hard way as she arrives at the party the only girl in an actual creative and gory costume. Cady’s attire is anything but sexy.

More than a decade later, this “slutty rule” memo Cady apparently missed is still upheld, especially on college campuses where women are at the peak of exploring their sexualities. Although I am all for women dressing as they choose — I myself have described my sense of style as “slutty”  — when it comes to Halloween, I tend to take Cady’s stance on the matter.

As a kid, my Halloween costume was something I planned for months in advance: Not only did I attend a Catholic school where I was forced to wear the same thing every day, Halloween was an outlet for me to channel my nerdy, fashionista side and really get creative.

Being born in October, I’d typically spend all of my birthday money on pieces for my costume, and I’d regularly place first, second or third in costume contests.

Fast forward to my college years, and I’ve felt that same creativity be compromised by the social pressures to be sexy on Halloween.

As a pop culture junkie, I naturally am drawn towards dressing as a celebrity or character.

Last year, I was set on being internet sensation Joanne the Scammer, one regular guy’s alter ego that became so popular she was even featured in Nick Jonas’s VMA performance that September.

While I had the blonde wig and the fur coat that made the look, I ended up ditching the idea simply because in order to truly embody Joanne, I had to wear facial hair, and I just couldn’t bring myself to be the only girl in the party with a beard. (A true Cady moment, indeed.)

Instead, I settled for a slip from Victoria’s Secret, thigh high socks and an eye mask and labeled the look “Sleeping Beauty.”

While I gave myself props for pulling off such a last-minute, easy idea, I could have let my creativity shine if I had just gotten over that pre-existing social pressure.

At first, I couldn’t help but resent this social expectation planted in my mind for limiting my creativity, making sense of why I ever heard adults say they hated Halloween in the past.

On the other hand, sexy costumes really can be fun: every girl can admit it feels good to look hot, and it can be a fun challenge to attempt to make any character, say, Sandy Cheeks from Spongebob, look sexy somehow.

Who says slutty can’t be creative, too?

This year, I’ve decided to not let the pressure of making my Halloween costume sexy ruin the very holiday I used to call my favorite, and I’ve taken the outlook that maybe there isn’t a pressure at all.

In fact, the costumes that go viral on Twitter and end up on Pinterest for inspiration are rarely ever sexy but cool and creative costumes that everyone will appreciate.

Dressing for Halloween is truly a personal choice. If you want to be a sexy nun, go for it. If you want to be a man dressed as a woman, like I did, do it.

Chances are, the same girls dressed in lingerie will appreciate your funny costume, too.


Clarissa Gordon


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