The Slutty Halloween Costume Test

Let’s be honest, it takes a whole lot of creativity to avoid the societal (or Ricky’s) pressure to be a slutty nurse, slutty fairy, slutty cop, slutty flapper, or slutty Freddy Krueger on Halloween.

You only think I’m joking.

slutty costume, ho!
Because when I think sexy, I think serial killer. Rowr.

My non-blogging friend Jennifer (there are a few left) just had a hilarious Facebook thread about the proliferation of slutty costumes for women and it reminded me of my Halloween Test – The theory that the quality of any given school is directly correlated with how unwhore-like the female students are dolled up for Halloween.

I’m proud to say that the nearest private school to my apartment, the one I’d dream to send my kids to (but I’d be able to afford, um, never) scores very high on the list.

While most teenage girls use trick or treating as an opportunity to crack open the fishnets and experiment with pushup bras that they most certainly do not need, these students will come knocking at our door on Saturday night showing off only their creativity. No doubt we’ll see a some political humor, an Octomom, the cast of The Office, and a Balloon Boy or two. It makes me want to call each of their parents and say, you did good!

I don’t remember ever being too provocative for Halloween myself. I recall being Bucky Dent in fifth grade, a punk rocker back in 1980 (I was ahead of my time), and right out of college I went as type. Helvetica reverse, to be specific. Christina will tell you about the time I was Kriss Kross at work and wore all my clothes backwards. Not a proud moment. And if I’m to date myself, I can say that that same year, my boyfriend and I went as Woody Allen and Soon-Yi going to the prom.

Although there was one year I went as a white trash Jerry Springer talk show guest. That was pretty slutty I guess. In fact, the guy who asked me out at that party seemed disappointed the following week at dinner when I didn’t actually have big blonde hair and wear acid washed denim skirts with white pleather go-go boots.

Uh, it was a costume?

As for my own girls, I’m kind of hoping the whole slutty Halloween costume thing jumps the shark by the time they’re old enough to think about it because for now, they are sadly, hopeless ordinary in the Halloween creativity department.

I had visions of a Frieda Kahlo and Salvatore Dali – both of whom share my girls’ birthdays. I imagined the women of Mad Men. Last year, Sage was the Naked Chef.

Their choices this year? Princesses.

Go figure.


43 thoughts on “The Slutty Halloween Costume Test”

  1. I just wrote about costumes… I HATE the slutty costumes that are everywhere and yes they have made an impression on Big Sis – sadly….

  2. “I recall being Bucky Dent in fifth grade”

    You just alienated many of your New England readers. 🙂

  3. I don't remember ever wanting to be sexy growing up. I was a clown, a gypsy (not a sexy one — an authentic-looking one), a scarecrow, a witch (again, not a sexy one) and my favorite was the Mad Hatter, except I was just his hat — a giant hat made out of poster board. Nothing sexy about that.

    I'll admit in college, though, that I was a little more attracted to the sexy costume — a disco girl my freshman year and, sadly, a French maid my sophomore year. The second two years my future husband and I were dating, so I toned it down: a nurse (with actual scrubs) and I can't remember my senior year. Maybe we just went to the bar. LOL!

    Okay, this was a long way to say that I think it's sad women feel the need to be overtly sexy on Halloween. I don't think it's creative at all.

    Great post!

  4. I am not really certain when the costume choices for women and little girls transitioned into the “sexy” ones that I see in stores these days. I do not remember seeing anything quite that risque around when I was trick or treating. I admit I did the sexy costume (I hand made a really nice Wonder Woman costume) a few times as an adult for a major Halloween party held in Portland every year but do not find most of the costumes out appropriate for the young girls they are marketing them to. I hope that my daughter does not go that route when she is old enough to pick her own costumes. This year she is going to be a ladybug because I wanted her to.

  5. Yes, I am very bothered by the slutty costume thing (and not as in “Hot And”) and can only hope that my daughter will follow in my footsteps and mostly choose pun-related costumes. Not slutty puns, either (no “horticulture,” ahem, Ms. Parker).

  6. Again, another reason to be thankful that God gave me boys, even if they do gravitate toward every mud puddle between our car and wherever we are going. It wasn't this tough when we were girls…my sisters and I never would have been allowed to dress that way and honestly I don't remember we ever wanting to either.

    I do fear it's my last year to “suggest” my boys costumes to them, so I went all out and tried to be creative mom this year, and after a long frustrating struggle with yellow felt, fabric glue and staples we will have:

    Duke- 2yrs Curious George (bought monkey costume at Target)
    Jack- 3yrs The Man in the Yellow Hat

    Pics on my blog- sorry for the shameless self promotion, but I need some “they are so cute!” support to make up for all my cussing when I made that damn hat!!!

  7. I never got into the sexy costume thing, but I don't think you can credit my parents too much. I just had tiny boobs and thought a sexy costume would highlight that there were 6 year olds with more cleavage.

  8. When I was a kid I said to my Mom that Halloween was my favorite holiday because it had two of my favorite things – dressing up and candy.

    Having a daughter- the slutty stuff scares me. But you are right, if you steer them in a good direction, creativity wins over slutty!

  9. Tony, in 1978 the WORLD was a Yankee fan.

    And JMMW: I said the same thing! In fact I told my mom once that she was so lucky she grew up in the 50s because “she got to wear a costume to school every day.”

  10. Halloween is to Madison as Mardi Gras is to New Orleans. It's huge. In college and beyond, all of the cosutmes are sexy versions of one thing or another. I admit, I've succumbed to the trend occasionally. But I've been pretty creative as well. One of my favorite costumes poked fun at the whole trend:

    I attached sponges everywhere on my body and went as “self-absorbed”

  11. I went into one of those pop-up Halloween stores looking for a wig (one that would mimic Betty White, incidentally—some friends and I are going to our work party as the Golden Girls) and I was appalled at the women's costumes. The hubs and I had this very discussion, that all you need to do is tack on “Slutty” at the beginning of every costume title to get a more accurate portrayal. Slutty Pirate, Slutty Cop, Slutty Convict, Slutty Fairy, etc.

  12. Um, that would be Bucky F*cking Dent.


    What? You thought I'd let that one slip by? 🙂

    As for Halloween costumes, it took me forever to find a girl pirate costume for my 4 yo that didn't make her look like a beer wench. I don't think I succeeded but I'll give her a fake sword and hope at the very least she'll look like a beer wench that would cut you if you pinched her butt.

  13. OMG, you got it so right. If you get a chance, check out this week's Target ad. My husband and I are still trying to figure out what the last brown one is supposed to be… a Fudgecicle?… Must be a reason it is on 30% off clearance…

  14. And while we're on the subject of costumes, can I just say that there are three categories that if my husband ever dressed up as I would never, ever, be able to have sex with him again: 1) Clown 2) Woman 3) A woman clown.

    Now, regarding your wardrobe waaay back when…Hammertime, that's all I'm saying.

  15. GM, I hate to say it but my dad and his wife once dressed as matching androgynous clown witches. It was hilarious.

    It was also the late 70s. I'm fairlly sure drugs were involved.

  16. This has turned into quite the hot topic to discuss lately! A few friends of mine were discussing this in the costume shop the other day. It appears no costume is complete w/out a slit up to the panty-line (if there are any) & fishnet stockings. They even seem to get racier every year (or is that just a sign of me growing up that I think they are racier??)

    I also hope that this trend is gone by the time my daughter is of age to attempt this. Halloween used to be about having fun and being creative. Now, just like everything else, it's about sex. It's no surprise, but it is disappointing.

  17. This year, I have a princess, too. But she's four and our youngest (only) girl, so well… go with what'ya know, right?

    The boys will be a pirate and a caveman. Also playing to type.

    Last check, no sluts in the bunch. (I'll have to work on hubby, though… there may be hope yet.)

    – Julia at Midwest Moms

  18. Yes! The Happy Slutty Halloween has jumped already. Please be done with it stores, I plead.

    Can I share a secret? In college I would determine how much of “gut” the class was based on the “Baseball Cap Quotient.” We were allowed to test classes for a week before registering for them. I would scan the auditorium and then decide.

  19. My mother once suggested that I be Mrs. Olsen the coffee lady (she was thinking cardigan, can o'coffee, powder in the hair, presto, a costume). Needless to say, I went as a gypsy with a big red shawl and jangly earrings. When I saw the ad for that Freddy Krueger outfit, it occurred tome that it may be the final indication that the apocolypse is nigh…what's next? Suicide bomber garter belts? The mind boggles.

  20. I still have no idea what everyone in my family will be dressing as for Halloween. I like the idea of dressing up in the Mad Men era but my husband would NOT be okay with wearing a suit. I never dressed sexy for Halloween even as an adult.

  21. must admit I spent most of my college years dressing slutty, but I only used clothes from my closet, so not as bad as those costumes. But honestly those years Halloween was more about getting drunk and wearing cool boots for me. I do not actually have a problem with adults in those costumes, it is the ones marketed to teens and below that make my stomach turn. Well at least I have a boy who this year is going as a rescue butterfly, not sure what that is but he put together his costume.

  22. ITA with you on the slutty costumes being an indication of the school. My undergrad school had some slutty outfits but not too many. My graduate school…well, I couldn't believe what I saw! It was like the main street had turned into the Red Light district.

    I never felt the urge to be particularly sexy for Halloween. I went as Sharon Osborne one year, but wore pants and a tight but not particularly low cut shirt, so that might have been the closest I came, haha.

  23. Oh the slutty costumes make me want to throw a big coat over them and drag them home to their mother. I can only hope that my daughter isn't like that.

  24. Oh, I KNOW! I was looking for a witch's hat for Phe the other day. The only one I could find was part of a “Naughty Witch” costume. Size 4T! Um Wha? I made one instead.

    I have been a zombie, mickey mouse, a haz mat disposal worker, a television set and Twiggy. I guess that explains why I never got laid on Halloween.

  25. Deborah Quinn – that's too weird. I used the exact term “the apocalypse is nigh” on my friend's facebook thread. Great minds…fear the same stupid costumes?

    Mrs Quinn hopefully at her age, naughty witch means she ate too much candy after her mom told her not to. (Right? Please say I'm right?)

  26. I am horrified (now as a mother) to remember being about 12 or 13 and telling my mom I was going as a 'punk', when in reality, my friend and I were going as hookers. HOOKERS!!! And this is why my husband is glad we have boys. 😉

  27. Umm, there are many people in this world who will never ever be Yankees fans. Hell will freeze over first.

    But some of us love you anyway.

    Thank god my son is now at the “costume from the closet” stage. This year he will be a ninja. Black sweat pants, sweat shirt and a black scarf.

  28. I'm dressing Jumby up as a slutty princess this year.

    It's my way of rebelling against the system. Plus his hair is long enough to put in pony tails.


  29. This year we are going as the Berenstain Bears, so my Momma Bear costume, made from an oversized blue nightshirt, more blue fabric sewn over a shower cap for a hat, brown tights, and tennis shoes covered in fake fur, is decidedly UN sexy.

  30. My daughters have asked to be Hula dancers this year, as a result of reading one of the depression-era memoirs that accompany their “American Dolls.” These books were the redeeming factor about these over-the-top dolls, but let's see how they dirty they dance in those hula skirts…

  31. Do you remember that great scene in Mean Girls, when Lindsay shows up in her Bride of Frankenstein costume?

    I guess it's a good thing there's no Halloween in NZ. And I've got a boy.

  32. I saw a slutty toddler costume last year. 4T. I threw up a little in my mouth.

    I love Halloween but this? This is just gross.

    My costumes have included Anne Boleyn and Death (from Sandman comics). 3 yo dd's choice this year? Hot Pink Witch. No clue how she came up with that one.

  33. I wanted a good bee costume for Mira this year. All I could find was the fuzzy bee costume for babies (too small) or the sexy bee costume for little girls with striped thigh high stockings. WHAAAAA?

    So she's a tree frog, and Cordy is Sleeping Beauty.

    I remember the year I went as a California Raisin. “I heard it through the grapevine…”

  34. I must say I've been increasingly annoyed by the whole slut theme of Halloween, especially this year as I was biking up my quiet, residential street at about 5 pm (sun still up) and saw a grown couple walking by, obviously on their way to a Halloween party, and the woman wearing little more than garters, stockings, and some tiny piece of fabric covering the essentials. I was embarrassed for a whole bunch of reasons. Then I read this article in “the Stranger” about how Halloween is basically the only time of year that heteros can put their full sexuality and all its attendant stereotypes, humor, and questionable taste on display and not be arrested for it. The gays, or course, have Gay Pride parades to go crazy. While I'm always going to wonder about this insane culture and the way we choose to express our sex and sensuality, reading the article made me lighten up on the whole “sexy” thing a little bit. For adults, that is.

    And if anyone wants to check out the Stranger article:

  35. We went out this year. I put fang marks on my husband's neck, smeared him with fake blood, dressed up a little, paled up the face and wore wicked little fangs with some blood drool. I was feeling pretty cute till' I realized I was the only chick out who was fully dressed.

    My 10 year old daughter went as a zombie clown, VERY gross. The 14 year old girl didn't dress up, (she went as a punk fairy last year, with mis-matched leggings and a hodge podge of striped pink clothing. Totally Un-slutty but eclectic. Of course her best friend was dressed as Sailor Moon, I thought it was a pun when I saw how short the skirt was.

    I am new to blogging. You guys are great.


  36. I haven’t done anything for Halloween for about four years, with my husband, because we just haven’t had a babysitter. This year, when I went costume hunting for the Halloween party we attended last night, everything was slutty-sexy. The difference between now and even four years ago is vast. When I was younger, the sexiest I went for was a gypsy. But most of the time I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, a clown, or a witch (the kind where I blacked out my teeth and painted on fake warts).

  37. Good luck on the slutty costume trend going away by the time Thalia is a tween. The tween costumes at the shops are HORRID. Put that together with the fact that I cannot sew, and we’re stuck. Thankfully, my daughter is not interested in going the slutty route (at least not yet, she’s 15) , so we find ways around it.

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