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Why Has Halloween Become a “Slutty” Holiday?


Ah, Halloween is upon us. While it used to be about the ghouls, ghosts and black cats, it seems to be more about women dressing slutty. I hate even using that word. Unfortunately, it has become a Halloween cliche that a majority of women will wear a “sexy” version of an otherwise benign costume (ie. angel, nurse, maid). What happened to clever or original costumes?

I remember my sister telling me that while shopping for a Halloween costume for her 10-year old daughter she was pretty creeped out by the ‘sexiness’ of young girls’ costumes. As she told me, “No one needs to see that much skin or midriff on my 10-year old.” And I agree. Actually, everyone should agree. In fact, it makes me mad to think anyone a) makes these sexy young girl costumes and b) parents buy them. When did Halloween become a ‘dress in a ridiculously provocative manner’ night? It seems in the last 10 years, scary or clever morphed into slutty. I think it says something about where things are going in terms of women in the media and their portrayals. I think this has been influenced by sex tapes and reality television girls running around in bikinis, fighting, drinking and just an over sexualization of women in general.

I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer, and normally, if grown women want to run around as a sexy angel or a sexy cowgirl, I don’t care. But when it’s marketed towards young, impressionable girls – that I’m related to – I care. When I was a kid and even into high school, girls wanted fun, clever costumes. I remember a girl being a rubix cube for Halloween, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. She’d made this huge box with all the colored cubes. Today, she’d be in a short, skintight, cleavage baring dress with the rubix cube image on the front. Not cool. They make a sexy Mr. Potato Head costume. Who wants to see or be a sexy Mr. Potato Head? Who thinks someone should be a sexy Mr. Potato Head? How about a sexy Burt and Ernie costume (it exists)? Seriously, what the fuck?

But I’m not the only one concerned. Filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom has written and directed the documentary  Miss Representation. This film exposes how women are being sold the myth that their worth lies in their beauty and sexuality, and also how this continued sexualization of women in media contributes to women being under-represented in positions of power and influence in America. All women and mothers should watch, well, men too – but I think it’s eye-opening and a call to action.

This Huffington Post article shows how children’s costumes have drastically become sexier over the last three decades.

“The costumes for sale show how far the meaning of Halloween has shifted. Instead of competing for the scariest or silliest costumes on the block, women… are vying for the sassiest and most risqué getups.”

And as for my niece, she decided to be Athena the Greek goddess for Halloween. Athena was the god of wisdom, courage, strength and inspiration. It’s still a cute long dress with a crown of leaves, but it’s a push in the right direction.




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