Halloween haunted by risqué costumes

Kathleen Kennedy | The Daily Cougar

Kathleen Kennedy | The Daily Cougar

Halloween, once a Celtic holiday, has been redefined since its inception.

What started as a day for divinations brought by dressing in animal carcasses has become a day to drink and party while adorning just enough cloth to be legally considered clothing.

As the holiday progressed, so have the costumes, specifically within the last few decades. However, rather than becoming more intricate, the costumes have simply become less. Less interesting, less fun and made with less fabric.

This year’s version of the Big Bird costume, which “Sesame Street” may file a lawsuit against, illustrates this perfectly.

Regardless of what “Mean Girls” may dictate, Halloween is not a free pass for women to look like trollops. Daily standards still apply, which means people will still be judged according to their clothing — or lack thereof.

Today, women’s popular Halloween costumes boil down to one thing: character-themed lingerie with accessories.

Oct. 31 and the days leading up to it are a skin exposé that might even trump Spring Break. Women model colorful bras and booty shorts held up with suspenders and call themselves Ernie from “Sesame Street,” and they saunter around with costumes that lack so much fabric it defeats the purpose of dressing as something or someone.

Often, were it not for the accessories, recognizing what someone is supposed to be is nearly impossible.

That is not to say women should dress like nuns or wear a costume that covers them like a second skin, but it does mean moderation and balance should be used.

If women insist on showcasing their body, they should pick one body part to highlight. Have nice legs? Wear a miniskirt and not micro-miniskirt. Have a flat stomach? Show it off. Maybe cleavage is more your thing. Go for it, as long as it is not too much. But pick one — not all of the above and more.

Five out of six of the most popular Halloween costume websites on Google’s first page have a “sexy” category, with the sixth being named “sassy” instead, providing essentially the same get-ups.

This being said, stores offer what sells — the customer dictates the product. Why do women want to objectify themselves? Being sexy should not mean being nude.

Not only are women paying more for these costumes even though they are getting less, these get-ups also lessen the fun in Halloween.

As kids, the most exciting part — aside from the candy — was just how close one’s costume was to the real thing. A woman cannot pretend to look like Big Bird without a beak or the feathery legs because chicken feet slippers just do not have the same effect.

Ladies, although it is doubtful that any of the above will change your mind, if the reason you are dressing in that Kitana costume that consists of a bra top and booty shorts with a piece of fabric hanging from the front — or any other equally scanty costume — is to be “sexy” and impress some guy, at least keep this is mind: who wants to work for something they are getting for free?

Mónica Rojas is a journalism freshman and may be reached at [email protected].


  • Halloween, as I knew it growing up, was the only holiday specifically for children. Christmas and Easter have a focus on the kids but they are religious holidays for all Christians. Kids may love fireworks but the 4th of July and New Year’s are also mostly adult holidays.
    While I enjoyed Halloween as a kid I never understood why so many adults get so into it. An adult can have a costume party anytime, but only on halloween do kids get to dress up in costume, go to school in costume, and trick or treat in their neighborhoods.
    It was and is a bit pathetic when you see 16-18 year old kids, with barely a costume on, trying to trick or treat so they can get free candy. It seems just as pathetic when adults treat Halloween as if it is their chance to skank it up.
    Halloween is about fear, death, monsters, and the children’s view of such things. Once an adult, you leave those irrational fears behind (hopefully), but people seem more obsessed with having a sexy adult party than making sure their kids have a great Halloween.

  • Are you really just blaming the women on this? It’s not entirly our fault. I will pay the first person to show me a Halloween store that sells women costumes that are not A: Hooker Uniforms, B: Joke costumes, or C: Insanely priced. Here’s another way to put it:
    I like Comic Book characters. So last year for Halloween I wanted to dress up while I took my sister out to trick or treat. So I decided that I wanted to be Loki or even Robin. There were straight up no Loki Costumes for women at all so I checked on Robin: the costume was so low cut that it would have exposed every thing on me and the SKIRT stopped at the thighs. Men Sizes don’t fit right when it comes to costumes so what’s a girl like me supposed to do? Either no costume or a hooker costume.
    You can’t blame the women completely for what the market sells.

  • It looks as though this article and its subject are two sides of the same coin. On the one hand you have this very obvious pattern of sexualization in women’s Halloween costumes (and in “Halloween culture” in general, if such a thing can be said to exist), but on the other there is this equally obvious backlash against said sexualization, which is the side this article falls on. Journalistically, I think you’re missing the point. Rather than slut-shaming from your side of the bleachers wouldn’t it be more productive (and interesting) to try and get at what’s actually driving these patterns? Why has Halloween become so sexualized? And if not that, then at least acknowledge that the problem isn’t so much the sexualization as it is the objectification that accompanies it. The perceptual transformation of a sexy woman into a sexy THING, aided by the sexy costume trend, is definitely troubling and both men and women as groups are guilty of it. Reducing a woman in a sexy outfit to a setback on the road to equality does as much damage as treating her like a potential REDACTED cozy. What sexy outfit lady does with her outfits is her business; your business is articulating an appropriate response. Also, some sexy outfit ladies enjoy the company of other ladies. Also also, mind the implication that dudes are just lazy sex trolls. That’s kind of rude too but not systemically awful like your article’s slut-shaming.

    As far it being only a kids holiday…? The first line of this article was an admission that Halloween has been constantly changing. So what if it used to be? Doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Frankly I don’t think it ever was. Adults in my life have been having costume Halloween parties as far back as I can remember. Big whoop. Some of them dressed sexy. Also big whoop. Sex is cool. Being a jerk about sex is not cool. Seems pretty simple.

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