Reclaiming Halloween

2 very different costumes - traditional and sexy

“In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

Remember when Lindsey Lohan’s character in Mean Girls walks into her school’s Halloween party dressed as zombie bride, complete with customised wedding dress and gross fake teeth?

She walks in super proud of her effort, only to discover that all the other womenfolk in the room are in their lingerie. All they have done is put on a pair of bunny ears or cat mask.

Since when did underwear constitute an adequate costume? I ask you.

I have nothing wrong with a girl if she wants to dress ‘sexily’. We are all adults and know how we want to present our bodies, and we should have the freedom to do so (that’s what the whole feminist movement was for after all), but it’s not even like there are a lot of options for young women out there. Nearly every outfit on sale is preceded by the ever-depressing adjective of ‘sexy’.

Soon as a girl hits an age when it’s acceptable to be sexually objectified, costumes decrease in size. For example, a full blown pirate outfit when your 7-13, suddenly becomes negligée and an eye-patch for 18+.

A young girls pirate costumeA sexy woman's pirate costume

Let’s look at the male options …

A man's pirate costume

WHAT, are you kidding me?! Where is the mankini? The leather cod-piece with a couple of medallions hanging off it? A strategically placed eye-patch? What, men don’t want to wear stuff like that?! Now that is surprising.

Halloween, it’s the end of October! It’s cold! I want to wear a coat and I’m bloody well tired of my female form being leered at. I want to put effort into my outfit and out-dress my male friends.

But worry not females out there; there is a new movement for lovers of a proper fancy dress costume. Take Back Halloween is a new website, which calls itself a “costume guide for women with imagination”, It offers step-by-step guides to decking yourself out as a truly kick-ass woman.

‘We love Halloween. We really love Halloween’. They say on their site, ‘We think it’s cool that there’s one day a year when people can dress up as anything they want. What we don’t think is cool is that increasingly women are only supposed to dress up as one thing: “Sexy”’

The site is a catalogue of distinguished women, complete with descriptions of their historical contexts and clothing, and suggestions for how to put together costumes.

The fairly diverse cast of role models are split into four categories: Glamour Girls (e.g. Diana Ross, Grace Kelly), Goddesses and legends (e.g. Pele, Persephone), Notable Women (e.g. Joan of Arc, Jane Austen), and Queens (e.g. Queen Victoria, Hatshepsut).

It’s also a site full of women that young girls of today should look up to (There are no sexy devil outfits here).

It’s certainly inspired me; I’m personally going to go as Joan of Arc or Frida Kahlo [below] this October night.

A couple of Frida Kahlo images for inspiration

ANYWAY, let’s look at the pile of crap that costume websites are trying to force down our throats …

Look, we have; SEXY Finding Nemo, SEXY Mr Potato Head, SEXY Sarah Palin, SEXY Unicorn and a SEXY Sponge Bob.

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Ouch, thanks for sexualizing some of my favourite childhood characters!

Oh and my fingers hurt, I don’t want to type ‘sexy’ for a while, so maybe this year try and be a bit creative with your trick-or-treating costumes.


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