Much has been made of Halloween's gradual transformation from a holiday that exists as a way to commemorate our ancient superstitions about ghosts into a holiday that exists as a way to get hepatitis from a sexy nurse costume that came in a clear plastic bag and cost $65. But quibbling over whether it's okay to go Full-On Strumpet or better for a lady to use Halloween as an opportunity to show the world her wits is a debate with no clear consensus. Here's what we should all agree upon and work toward instead: not being a fucking asshole.
I see both sides of the ~*sExY*~ vs non-sexy Halloween costume debate. Like Suzanne Scoggins, whose brainchild Take Back Halloween offers women DIY non-slutty, historical, kickass, feminist (or, shorter: Grown Up Lisa Simpson-y) costume alternatives to the prefab Made In China messes you can get in a pop up store. Here's Scoggins, from her interview with Women in the World,
I always say there’s nothing wrong with being sexy. There’s nothing wrong with that. What’s happened though is that everything else has been crowded out. What really pushed me over the edge was, in 2009, my friends were always complaining about not being able to find a costume they could just wear to go trick-or-treating with their kids. Everything was like something you wear for a film shoot with Charlie Sheen! Younger girls, and college-aged women were also complaining. I was reading online forums where girls said that they were afraid to wear something that wasn’t sexy.
Agreed, Suzanne Scoggins! There's nothing wrong with dressing in a completely weather-inappropriate costume and freezing your frilly pantied ass off because HALLOWEEN. Dress how you wanna, all you post-feminist post-shame post-creativity paragons! But it's also important that women have options. I love options!
But I also can't get mad at Leandra Medine, aka Man Repeller, whose GQ piece In Defense of the Slutty Halloween Costume outlines why girls shouldn't necessarily eschew the cliche — it helped her meet a guy. In the piece, Medine recounts her first and only experience dressed like a lady of the night, which happened when she was 17. Which happened to be the night she met her future husband. So, you know, dressing in a revealing outfit is a good way to get Leandra Medine's future husband to talk to you, I guess.
Ladies, men, mateys, whatever — dress at whatever sluttiness level you want on Halloween. I really have given all the fucks I can about this. Here's the thing that we should all unite against — Halloween assholery.
Don't be a drunken jerk. Don't puke on people. Don't be racist. Don't touch people who don't want to be touched, and don't steal things from house parties or bars. Don't knock people's shit over. Don't take a coat that isn't yours. Don't throw up in the back of a cab. Don't throw drinks at people. Don't pee in the gardens of strangers. Don't dress like a "sexy (other race)." Don't pee in the gardens of friends. Don't smash people's jack-o-lanterns. Don't trick-or-treat if you're an adult because that shit is for kids. Don't wake your neighbors up by doing the Thriller dance. If you have a dick, don't take it out and wave it at people. Don't frighten children. Don't stiff the bartenders. Don't shoplift. Don't destroy public property. Don't have sex in a public place where kids might see you. If you do have sex in a public place, don't throw your condom on the ground. For the fuck of shit, don't wear blackface. Don't ditch your friends. Don't get so drunk someone else has to end the night early to escort you home. Don't take advantage of another drunk person. Don't get into a bar fight. Don't hit on one half of a couple sitting together on a train. Don't be homophobic. Don't stand by and allow another person to be victimized. Don't throw your undergarments on the ground. Don't punch anyone. Don't throw glass bottles onto sidewalks. Don't run out into traffic. Don't ignore bicyclists. If you're on a bicycle, don't run over pedestrians. Don't drink so much that you're no longer in control of your behavior. Don't use alcohol as an excuse for acting like a fuckstick. Don't get into a political debate with your friend's libertarian boyfriend. Don't breakdance in the subway. Don't destroy bodega displays. Don't be a jerk to late night diner employees. Don't erase anything Halloween-themed on the DVR without checking to make sure it's been watched. Don't wake your landlord up at 3 am crying because you lost your keys. Don't loudly make fun of other people's costumes. Don't be loud in places where people have a reasonable expectation of quiet. Don't shit on the steps of the library. Don't shit anywhere that isn't a bathroom. We're all on Team Halloween Success; don't be the person who hits into a double play.
At the end of the day (or night), it doesn't matter if you're dressed like a slutty barmaid or Hulk Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it's all the same to me if you're outside of my bedroom window having a screaming cell phone fight with a guy named BRAD at 3 am. Human vomit is still a very difficult smell to remove from leather boots whether the person from which it emanated is dressed as Batboy as made famous by the Weekly World News or a naughty schoolgirl as made famous by porn.
So wear as skimpy an outfit as your delicate summer skin can stand, revelers. All I ask is you refrain from being an asshole.
Image by Sam Woolley, photos via Shutterstock