“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."
Anyone who has seen the 2004 cult classic “Mean Girls” knows this Cady Heron quote. Cady is typically unaware of many social constructs in American high schools and struggles to figure them out throughout the film's run time.
One can say that Cady is unaware that people will have something to say regardless of a woman’s costume choice on Halloween. This is shown when her new friends judge her for her choice of going as an “ex-wife” for a costume party.
Halloween should not be the one day a year women are allowed to dress like “total sluts” without judgment. Yet for some, Halloween is the only time where they can step out of their comfort zones and wear something they wouldn’t typically wear in their everyday lives.
Picking your Halloween costume is supposed to be fun. Whether it’s making a costume from scratch and spending hours on your make-up or doing something simple like wearing animal ears and drawing whiskers on your cheeks, it’s all up to you.
No one should fear being ridiculed for their costume choice. The only time this is acceptable is if the person is dressing in an offensive costume, like wearing a Native American headdress or wearing blackface.
It is so frustrating and tiring to see women’s costume choices as the butt of the joke every Halloween. It's always the same recycled "Thots on Halloween" memes with pictures of girls dressed in cat ears, Harley Quinn costumes, Purge girls, or sexy versions of popular horror icons like Chucky and Freddy Krueger.
In an opinion piece, Tabitha Barr, a columnist for “The Sunflower,” wrote, "Halloween is fun and empowering. To be able to show my body and not feel guilty about it makes life so much better. I feel as though I am worthy of being myself."
Dressing sexy isn't empowering to all, and that's ok. At the same time, there are also pressure on women to dress cute and/or sexy for Halloween. There is a twisted “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” attitude towards them when it comes to their costume choices.
Slut-shaming aside, there is still pressure on women to be something sexy for Halloween. Especially when it comes to sexualizing women's careers like the typical sexy teacher or firefighter costume.
I, too, feel pressure when I go to a costume store and almost every costume marketed to women is extremely short, tight, and low cut. Dressing sexy isn't my style, but that's me, and to another woman that just might be hers.
That’s the power of choice that all women deserve, and no one should be shaming a woman for what makes them feel confident and empowered.