On dark streets aglow with only halos of streetlight stumble throngs of veiled figures, possessed by the Halloween spirit to strangle themselves in costumes
that end closer to their necks than their knees.
No longer carrying sacks of candy, these high-heeled women instead seem to be headed for the sack instead of the monster mash that awaits them. Wearing costumes that could be mistaken for large Band-Aids, females adopt a mantra for their movement: “We are women, hear us purr!”
For one night – just one night.
While men tend to stray toward something
“cool” like a costume of Wolverine, a pirate or one of the Blues Brothers, women have been notably wearing less and less clothing on the holiday. Apparently, there is something about the last day of October that convinces even the meekest of females to come close to baring it all. The opinions on this issue vary from person
to person, but it becomes clear when the costumes are actually worn, who wears what they want and who goes all out.
“It’s the one day a year that we can be slutty and not be called a slut,” said Ellen Ksiaskiewicz, a sophomore biology major and an apparent subscriber of “Mean Girls” philosophy.
While the avoidance of being labeled a slut is a reasonable excuse, some may argue that using this logic, every girl wants to be a slut.
“On some level, yes,” Ksiaskiewicz continues. “A very deep one for most girls. No one wants to be a slut all the time but its fun to just let loose and wear whatever you want for one night.”
But how suggestive is too suggestive? Ksiaskiewicz decided to rate her mermaid costume.
“On a scale of one to 10, one being not slutty and 10 being super slutty, I’d give my costume a seven,” she said.
Sophomore Anna Danielson said she was an exception to the racy rule.
“Rain boots, flowers, leg warmers, teal spandex, a jean jumper, put-on patches and a hanger in my hair,” said Danielson, an education major.
“Not sexy. It was straight-up Pippy Long Stockings.”
Danielson said femmes fatales spoil an opportunity that comes only once a year.
“They have no imagination,” said Anna Danielson, a sophomore education major.
“You can do what you want to do but its more fun if you actually make an effort to be something other than generic.”
However, there are some that find adorning
oneself in a revealing costume not only degrades themselves but women altogether.
Some view Halloween as another link in the chain of female objectification.
“It’s an example of girls being prepared to be used as sexual objects,” said Mary Stricker, professor of sociology. “The idea that we value women for their minds and not their bodies is a myth.”
“Halloween is an excuse for girls to dress up like whores anymore, pretty much,” said Andy Boyd, senior education major. “I don’t wish every day was Halloween but I think it’s pretty cool. I approve of the chicks dressing up; it’s nice to look at.”
It is no secret that in recent years, girls’ Halloween costumes have had a pretty noticeable theme. Costume stores are reporting that many of the sexually suggestive costumes, some with price tags upward of $100, are popular, but the style itself is what is selling so well.
“There is no one costume selling much more than others. But ‘Sexy Egyptian,’ Roman toga-type things, as well as pirates have been very big,” said Rich Williamson, a manager of Pierre’s Costumes, located at 211 N. 3rd St. Other popular costume ideas include storybook characters, bumblebees, ladybugs, police officers, referees and nurses; all with sexual innuendos included. “‘Candy Corn Witch’ is also very popular,” Williamson continued.
“Honestly, let’s face it; the ladies are wearing those to attract the guys, or to make themselves feel attractive or to attract other ladies,” Williamson went on.
“It doesn’t take a marketing genius to know that sex sells.”Sex must be selling very well. In the last year the costume-retail industry raked in between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, according to projections from the National Retail Federation.
The trend spawned a popular Internet video entitled “Girls’s Costume Warehouse,” which masquerades as a store in Hackensack, N.J.
In it a salesman showcases his collection of girls’ costumes, all of which are referred to as “sexy” (except for the “Frog” costume). While it is meant to be funny, it still conveys the stereotype that all Halloween costumes for girls are meant to be flirtatious in some way. In the end, it is apparent that most Halloween costumes are, in fact, just that – costumes, which are used to illustrate what someone
However, for others, Halloween marks the day where the masks come off.
Justin Klugh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Steve Wood contributed to this report.