The thing is that Halloween these days has been watered down the same way Christmas has. There’s a war on Halloween! Trick or treating, once the staple of the holiday, is reserved for the newly bipedal crowd and their post-workday parents. Themed parties with an actual Halloween atmosphere are out. This generation’s moved on, man. To them, Halloween is: partying, drinking, beer pong, clubbing, MDMA, and posing for instagram pictures with your many drunk friends. So basically just another night, only now they’re covered with a bunch of plastic junk that’ll be in the garbage by the end of the night. Unless you’re a girl, in which case your costume can be slightly tweaked and it’ll be alright for any given Thursday night.
What that is supposed to mean is that the majority of costumer manufacturers and retailers seem to have this idea that if you are a lady, and you wear a costume, that costume must make it extraordinarily clear to the world that YOU ARE A LADY. In a catalogue with hundreds of options, 95% of the female options include a dress/skirt and/or some sort of suggestive undertone.
A few things should be noted here. Firstly, of course a girl can just walk over to the guy section and pick up one of those costumes. Nobody’s gonna chop her hand off for that. Secondly, a little body flattering outfit augmentation ain’t nothing to complain about- wear what you wanna wear, and if you really want to be a seductive stapler, then go for it.
The issue here is that costume retailers are perpetuating this dull, unimaginative notion that a female costume must simply be a variation on traditional feminine clothing. On a day where you can wear anything you can think of, girls are encouraged to wear something slightly more colourful than normal, and maybe a hat or plastic thing to hold. In order to make a more coherent point, here are the six most ridiculous examples from a flier that recently came in the mail.
6. Right from the womb, boys and girls are separated. Boys get the edgy, tough guy looks and girls are big puffy animals. It’s not so bad at this point, and to be honest they’re babies, who cares what they wear? They’ll probably take a dump in it halfway through the day anyway. Also the animal costumes remind me of those creepy Anne Geddes pictures where there’s a like a baby in a pack of frogs or growing out of the dirt or something. But then, as soon as they learn to stand…
BAM. The skirts are on. Girls can’t be dinosaurs because as you know there were no girl dinosaurs, that’s why they all died out.
5. Hey girls dontcha know you can only fight crime (or fight justice) in a skirt?! But if you’re a girl darth vader you don’t get a lightsaber you just have to accessorize with a cute belt! Dark side! Plus you can’t be a captain! Only boys are captains. You can be an American Dream.
4. This is pretty self explanatory and it’s a theme that runs through the whole catalogue. Guy costumes are “rebel”, “evil”, “menacing”, “scary”, “psycho”, while girls’ are “sassy”, “foxy”, “cutie”, “honey”, “sweetie”, “princess”. It’s funny that Pirate Man (cool name btw did ur parents name u that?) is complemented not by Pirate Woman but by Pirate Wench.
3. More in the cool vs. cute dichotomy. Boys get ninjas! And Harry Potter. But there’s no Hermione! There’s only…
MORE SKIRTS. The only thing that differentiates most of these costumes is the colour and whatever they’ve stuck on their head/back. Also, haha @ the Minaj/Perry knock offs in the middle.
2. Oh, the scary stuff! Now there’s gotta be some equality, because seriously, there’s no way you can make a zombie attractive, right? They’re dead, rotting flesh. We’re not gonna be appealing to the necro demographic, are….we?
YUP WE ARE. Girlz can’t be scary! They can only look like hot topic goths or crack addicts from under the freeway that try to sell you “delicious pillows” (plastic bag full of old pigeons). Plus: scary skirts! Scarts?
1. It’s a little unfair to compare the kids’ costumes with adult ones, but that’s only because the corresponding girls in that age range were too busy wearing skirts. There were no doctor, police, or military costumes for girls in the grade school range! This here is some straight up old school gender norm BS right there I tell you what. Once again, it is true that girls can basically just wear the boy costume, but just the fact that they’re needlessly segmented in the “boy page” is socially backwards. And then we get to the “professional” female costumes. Raunchy versions of costumes are old news; stiff-upper-lipped patricians have been hyperventilating about them for years. The problem here is that there is no alternative. There isn’t even a female doctor! Just three nurses, two of whom have names worthy of Gray’s Anatomy XXX (an erotic parody of Grey’s Anatomy).
Finally, here are some other silly things I found that aren’t necessarily related to this whole conundrum.
Is “deranged clown” copyrighted? I’m not sure why they had to awkwardly phrase it into a proper noun, especially since I’ve never heard of someone with the middle name Ranged. Call me Mr. U. Nimpressed!
At first I was like “that’s just a trendy Roots employee!” but then I saw her holding that feather and I was like “nope, definitely a tribal spirit”.
Don’t touch my cookies, tee hee hee! Unless you’ve earned the cookie touching badge. Also, looks like the old 90’s teen romcom adage is true- the only way a delinquent girl can become studious is to put on some glasses.
Haaaaa irony! The most demure looking woman in here is the mistress of seduction.
Come on, this isn’t even a costume. It’s an undergarment.
WAIT WHAT. Did I find some gender neutral costumes! That are only for couples! And two of them are literally attached to guys! PROGRESS. Ok, bye.