Ah, Halloween, my favorite holiday; the only holiday where I don’t have to visit my family or go to church. I love almost everything about Halloween: candy, scary movies and ghost stories. Now, you may be asking yourself, “What about the costumes?” Like I said, I love almost everything about Halloween. Commercial Halloween costumes are plagued by a number of issues—racism, transphobia, sexism, sexualization and just plain grossness.
I could get into any number of these issues (as others have, shown in this Good Housekeeping article), but for brevity’s sake I’ll stick to the over-sexualization of women’s costumes. It feels like no matter where I go to shop for costumes, I’m assaulted by “sexy pirates,” “sexy witches,” “sexy zombies” and “sexy ghosts.” I’m not saying that if you want to be a sexy cat for Halloween you can’t out of fear for being sexualized. Chase your bliss. But when the only option for women is a “sexy” option, it’s a problem.
For instance, take the doctors and nurses section from the popular online Halloween store Spirit Halloween; there were no women doctor costumes but there were nurse costumes for women.
Adult Lab Coat Doctor Costume (left) and Adult Heart Stopping Nurse Costume (right) from spirithalloween.com
So what do you do if you want to dress up as something other than “sexy”? Have no fear, my festive friends, there are many resources on the internet you can use when making your Halloween costume. Take Back Halloween is a guide and directory of creative and empowering costumes. A Mighty Girl has a store with an adult costume page. If you have more of a DIY spirit Pinterest is your best friend in finding inspiration for your Halloween costume.
My favorite thing about Halloween is that it is all about fun. When deciding your Halloween costume you should have that in mind. If being a sexy Ronald McDonald sounds like fun to you, go for it! If being a historically accurate Marie Antoinette sounds fun for you, go for it! As long as you are making a conscious choice and feeling safe wearing your costume, you should feel free to have a happy Halloween in whatever you like.