31 Days of Halloween — Day 29 – Guest Post “Slutoween”

Fabulous romance author Zoe Archer keeps an equally fabulous blog. Her post on ‘Slutoween’ seemed like a perfect fit for our extended Halloween series. — Slay

It’s been a trend over the last few years (a decade? more?) that Halloween has become a holiday targeted at adults as much as children. Which means that adults now have a huge selection of ready-made costumes available for them at their local party store or pop-up Halloween shop. And I don’t think it’s escaped anybody’s notice that the costumes for women have grown sexier and sexier every year. It’s harder to find a “non-sexy” costume than one that shows some leg or cleavage or just about everything on a woman’s body.

Woman in a yellow corsetted mini-dress, black thigh-highs, and monarch butterfly wingsWoman in a white mini-dress with blue piping and anchors adorning the skirt, with a sailor hat and high heelsWoman in a crop-top football jersey with the number 69, short-shirts, and holding a football

It’s actually absurd, the lengths (or shorts) costume manufacturers will go to make something “sexy.”

Woman in a mini-dress printed to look like a watermelon, with a "bite" taken out of the side to expose one hipWoman in a short fuzzy red dress with red wings, an "Angry Bird" hood, and fuzzy red legwarmersWoman in a mini-dress version of Freddy Kruger's costume, with a hat, ankle boots, and one hand with claws

Since women’s Halloween costumes have grown more and more sexual, Halloween had been dubbed by many as “Slutoween.” And I just can’t get on board with that.

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that women’s Halloween costumes have become extremely revealing, and the designers will find any profession, any object, any popular culture figure and find a way to make them “sexy.” It’s verging on absurd. But what I will not do, what I refuse to do, is ridicule or shame the women who decide to wear them. We’ve developed a culture of “slut shaming,” where we heap insults and derogatory remarks on women who are sexual, enjoy their sexuality, or even just like to dress in sexy clothing, whether or not it’s Halloween.

It’s a woman’s absolute prerogative to dress however she wants, whenever she wants. If Halloween is the time that she can feel free enough to wear sexy clothes, then, by God, that is her right. Just as it’s her right to not be pawed, hooted at, or assaulted for wearing said costume. I know that in the past, I’ve tweeted and posted images of sexy costumes and ridiculed them. But what I wasn’t ridiculing were the women who opt to wear these costumes. I simply find the “sexification” process to be absurd, so that beloved childhood characters or inanimate pieces of food become suddenly “sexy.”

So no, I don’t believe in “Slutoween.” Let women wear the costumes they want to wear. It’s their choice, and now of all times, we need to respect women’s choices.


I do have a problem with the sexualization of Halloween costumes for teenage girls. To wit:

Teen girl wearing a white mini-dress with a green corset, a brown hood, and knee-high boots, Teen girl wearing a short witch dress, witch hat, armbands, and knee-high boots, holding a broom

What concerns me about these costumes is that teen girls are feeling pressured to act or dress sexy before they themselves feel comfortable doing so. The teen years can be confusing and uncomfortable, especially when it comes to figuring out your place within the gendered roles of our society. It’s not wrong for a teenage girl to have sexual feelings or even act on them, but it’s not right if they feel pressured to behave a certain way before they are ready to. Again–it’s a matter of choice.

What I really, truly cannot stand in Halloween costumes are costumes that utilize racial and cultural stereotypes. That is offensive to me.

Light-skinned woman in a fringed dress with a beaded collar, leather fringed high-heel knee-high boots, and a headband with a featherLight-skinned woman wearing a purple mini-skirted kimono print dress, white thigh-highs, high heels, and carrying a rice-paper parasollight-skinned man in a costume of a poncho-clad man riding a burro, with a sombrero and a long fake moustache.

There’s simply no excuse for this kind of insensitivity. Some might say, “Come on, it’s all in fun! I’m not racist! I don’t mean any harm by it!” But every time a cultural or racial stereotype is perpetuated, it’s hurtful and cruel, and ignores centuries of oppression, marginalization, violence and prejudice. I will never take issue with a woman who wants to dress sexily for Halloween, but I will always be offended if someone opts to wear a costume that mocks or stereotypes another race or culture. That is inappropriate.

So this Halloween, wear what you want to wear, but remember to be sensitive toward others. I wish everyone a safe, happy and fun Halloween! Save me some candy!

3 replies on “31 Days of Halloween — Day 29 – Guest Post “Slutoween””

Late to the party, but chiming in on the post-love here.

The “sexy” Freddy Krueger costume is prominently displayed in a shop window in my neighborhood. I just…don’t understand how a character with a frightening face who kills people in their sleep could ever be considered “sexy”. I agree with Zoe, it’s bordering on absurd. And the sexualized costumes for teenage girls? That’s sad.

But yeah, what offends me more is the judgment. Yesterday, a friend showed me her coworker’s FB post that began with “Dear women” and basically instructed female human beings how to dress for Halloween. Oh thank you, 22-year-old straight white man. Whatever would I do without you?

But one of the stupidest things about judging ‘Slutoween’ is that it is much harder to find a ‘not-slutty’ costume. Halloween isn’t really a thing here but we have carnival in the South and yes- a lot of flesh for the women, a lot of flesh coloured stuff for the men. Gee, now where did that go wrong.

I love this. It annoys me that it’s almost impossible to buy a women’s costume that isn’t a sexy version of something. But at the same time, I get pissed off at my “morally superior” friends on facebook who are chastising women and telling them not to use Halloween as an excuse to wear “skanky” costumes. If you want to wear a sexy costume, great! If not, there really ought to be options for that too. (Obviously people can make their own, but it’s annoying that you pretty much have to DIY it if you don’t want to wear a miniskirt.)

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