Sexy doesn’t equal slutty Thoughts on Halloween costumes

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Happy Halloween, everyone! Remember how much fun it was as a kid? My mom used to ask me what I wanted to be, and help me craft a great costume. One year I was a Stanley Cup winning Canadians hockey player; another year an elaborate pirate. My friends and I would scramble across the neighbourhood greedily collecting as much candy as possible.

Now I’m older, as we all are, and going house to house is something reserved for the very young. Yet people of all ages still get excited about Halloween. Why? Why does a night of mischief and dressing up appeal so much? I think it is because Halloween offers a chance to cut loose and break free of propriety. Remember the Halloween party in Mean Girls? “In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” We can dress up as anything and get away with it, what a wonderful feeling!

Well, it should be a wonderful feeling. Instead, there is a current trend to judge people harshly based on their costumes. And in this case, I pretty much mean women. Sexy costumes are everywhere, many are quite absurd! Imagine, sexy Brian (from family guy), sexy sea turtle, or even sexy Ernie and Bert (Sesame Street classics gone wrong!). Costume makers know where the money is, and apparently sexy is a cash cow! (Yes, you CAN get a sexy cow costume).

You can guess that there is a huge backlash against the ridiculous, but it doesn’t focus on how stupid a sexy “ear of corn” costume is in theory, but instead dwells on calling anything deemed sexy as slutty. Slutty Brian from Family Guy. Slutty sea turtle. Slutty Ernie and Bert. Instead of judging them on their absurdity level, they take the easy way out and label the girls who wear these costumes “sluts,” assigning a negative connotation to her sexiness level.

For some people, especially women, there are very few opportunities to feel free enough to act sexy. Lots of people do not feel confident enough to express their sexuality: Halloween is like magic that way. What is usually unacceptable becomes titillating and acceptable─except, as it now seems, women getting sexy. This year there is a huge backlash the other way. Blog posts, Tumblr accounts, Reddit posts and comments have all been dedicated to calling out slutty costumes and the ladies who choose to wear them. And we shouldn’t be standing for it.

Don’t get me wrong─I love the idea of ladies choosing costumes because they are excited about the character, joke or icon; not allowing themselves to feel pressured by society to fill a specific, sexy role. I love the idea of anyone, male or female, being in control of their own choices and being proud of who they are, whether that means being part of a costumed group from Rocky Horror Picture Show (sexy) or the team from Ghostbusters (not overtly sexy, although Peter Venkmen-MEOW).

What this means is instead of getting upset that the girl by the window is barely wearing anything but super short, short overalls and a hard hat (there are Bob the Builder “sexy” costumes for adults), just don’t give her the attention. Instead, go compliment the cool “Carmen Sandiago” costume. Otherwise, who cares! Sexy and non-sexy can all live side by side. No one, no matter how much they like sex, no matter how much sex they have, no matter what their outfit, needs or deserves to be called slut. You have no idea whether the woman in the sexy bunny costume normally puts herself last when taking care of her family and was counting on getting out and having fun this All Hallow’s Eve. You don’t know that the sexy nurse recently lost over 75 pounds and feels good about showing herself off for the first time in years. And you don’t know that the girl in the T-Rex costume (non-sexy, unless you have a dino fetish-hey we, don’t judge!) actually shows cleavage in her everyday wardrobe on a regular basis. So STOP JUDGING. Enjoy Halloween. Have fun in your costume, whether it is sexy, not sexy, intricate, authentic, thrown together at the last minute or just plain non-existent.

If I can call on Mean Girls again, I want to leave you with this quote from Tina Fey: “You all have got to stop calling yourselves sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.”


Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.


  1. Well said!! It’s all gotten a little out of hand lately. btw, whatever happened to the term “sassy”, why does everything have to be based on how your physically look and not on how you feel?

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