Yet another Sexy Halloween

The Sexy [insert noun here] Halloween costumes just don’t go away. If anything, I think they’re getting even more ridiculous, or at least less recognizable as anything but a Victoria’s Secret Angel who’s the victim of a horrible prank–seriously, this is a macaw? Not to mention the Sexy Baseball Player costume that is literally just a baseball uniform without pants. (Sidenote: I think most professional sports would become more entertaining without pants.)

It almost, but doesn’t entirely, take the fun out of Halloween–the pressure to be Sexy, when all you really want to be is funny or clever or scary. And from a feminist perspective, it throws the entire movement back about 50 years, to a time when a Playboy Club-style Dirty Cop was more generally accepted than an actual female cop on the actual street.

So as a service to you, I’ve put together a list of feminist-friendly Halloween costumes to throw together before you head out partying this Samhain.

Fly that feminism flag high, and leave no question about who’s running the show tonight: Start with an off-the-rack hippie dress and add a long wig and sunglasses for Sexy Feminist Icon Gloria Steinem.

Sexy Feminist Icon Gloria Steinem

Sexy Feminist Icon Gloria Steinem

If you’re the more artsy type, consider paying tribute to a legend with the flirty cantina skirt, gold jewelry, and flowered hairpieces of Sexy Surrealist Folk Artist Frida Kahlo. Don’t forget that eyebrow pencil!

Sexy Surrealist Folk Artist Frida Kahlo

Sexy Surrealist Folk Artist Frida Kahlo

Set the standards, stand up for women’s health, and push for the changes that need to be made. You get a sassy navy uniform and a doctor’s bag as Sexy Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.

Sexy Surgeon General Regina Benjamin

Sexy Surgeon General Regina Benjamin

Environmentalism is for everyone, and humanitarianism isn’t just for humans. To be an animal-lover and a party animal, throw on the safari minidress, high-heeled boots, and gray coif of Sexy Renowned Primatologist Jane Goodall.

Sexy Renowned Primatologist Jane Goodall

Sexy Renowned Primatologist Jane Goodall

Most athletic apparel is skimpy enough as it is–tiny tennis skirts, short-short running shorts, pretty much everything Serena Williams designs. It’s easy enough to add thigh-high tube socks and stiletto trainers as Sexy Hall of Fame Tennis Player Billie Jean King or Sexy World-Champion Runner Caster Semenya. And even you can have abs like Semenya–it just takes a $12 can of spray makeup, or 150 bazillion hours in the gym.

Sexy Hall of Fame Tennis Player Billie Jean King and Sexy World-Champion Runner Caster Semenya

Sexy Hall of Fame Tennis Player Billie Jean King and Sexy World-Champion Runner Caster Semenya

Order in the court–but it will be disorder when you walk in looking Supreme. What starts out as a nun’s habit can, with the addition of a ruffly scarf and a stern gavel, turn into a sassy judge’s robe. Just add the wig of your choice and a touch of gold to become Sexy Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or Sandra Day O’Connor.

Sexy Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sandra Day O'Connor

Sexy Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sandra Day O'Connor

Ready for a fancy, frisky, fun, feminist Halloween? Guilty as charged!

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64 Responses to Yet another Sexy Halloween

  1. Lara Emily Foley says:

    This is some High quality entertaining snark. Love it!!!!!

  2. Athenia says:

    I love how you have earring suggestions for the justices! awesome!

  3. Véronique says:

    Love your suggestions!

  4. Jadey says:

    There are two Bee costumes on that site for women – one is just a “bumble bee” (but with heels) and then the “sexy” version is called the “honey bee”. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

    For some reason the sexy version of the slightly less sexy “ladybug” is a “daisy bug”. That is not even a thing.

  5. Widget lover says:

    My 4 year old is going to be Sleeping Beauty. Every girl in her class is set on being some sort of princess. Disgusts me.

    I, however, am going to be the best feminist cartoon character from modern TV: Widget from “Wow, Wow, Wubbzy!”

    Even better, I’m going to wear the well used tools I just used to build my own deck. Take that, Disney.

    Widget (voiced by Lara Jill Miller) – Widget is one of Wubbzy’s friends. She is a pink rabbit, and she speaks with a southern accent. She is a mechanic whiz and loves to invent and build things, she can make a machine to solve any problem or do virtually any task. Many of her creations take the form of robots, and most of them have the number 3000 attached to the end of their names. Some of her inventions do not actually have any practical purpose, such as the Robo-Cluck 3000, a giant robotic chicken that lays one hundred eggs a minute. Her favorite tool is a wiggle-wrench, a tool designed to adjust large pentagonal bolts. When she sees a problem she can solve, she says “No problemo!” and either introduces her friends to a machine she designed for just such a situation, or sets to work building a new invention.

  6. Allison says:

    I was at a halloween store today and I saw a “sexy border patrol” costume today. the cover had the model with the costume in front of a picture of a watchtower and barbed wire.

  7. stonebiscuit says:

    How would you put together Sexy Smasher of the Dominant Patriarchal Paradigm? This is important.

  8. Shi_san says:

    I work at a store that sells only women’s costumes (normally a store for dancers and club wear), and I am seriously wearing a costume almost exactly like that baseball one right now. In my defense, it was five dollars.

    There are a ton of horribly named costumes. We have a sexy TSA agent, a sexy native american called “No Reservations”, sexy girl scout costumes, sexy tin man, sexy every animal under the sun, sexy chef etc. The weird part to me is more and more people aren’t actually wearing costumes. We have a cupcake dress – a dress with cupcakes on it, not a dress that looks like a cupcake – which is supposedly a costume instead of a dress. Also a ton of girls just grab corsets or other lingerie and make a costume depending on the color. I heard one lady say today that she was going to be someone from Toddlers and Tiaras.

  9. Brennan says:

    No Sexy Elena Kagan?

  10. Paloma says:

    Um, I like the idea that people should put more thought into their costumes but . . .
    random racist ‘spicy latina’ costumes + eyeliner unibrow =/= the badass Frida Kahlo. She was sexy the way she was.

  11. anonymous chicken says:

    What about the sexy leprosy patient, the sexy escaped axe murderer, or the sex mad scientist?

    Sexy unibomber, sexy terrorist, or sexy fraudulent mortgage lender?

    Or being pregnant and going to a largely pro-life family party, may be I should be the sexy baby killing abortionist?
    Sorry need to go wash my brain out with something.

    Hmm…TSA agent meets the female version of Dexter has potential

  12. chingona says:

    Paloma: She was sexy the way she was.

    So are all the other women.

  13. chingona says:

    The other night, Colbert had a bit making fun of this Christian alternative to Halloween – Jesus Ween. It ended with a “sexy Jesus” costume that was pretty awesome – still a dude, with a really short robe wide open at the top to show off his chest.

  14. librarygoose says:

    I saw a guy’s costume that was “Dr. Howie Feltersnatch”. My brother and I discussed what his specialty would be and settled on medical malpractice lawsuits.

  15. Opheelia says:

    My partner went to a costume shop today and i told him to get me something that didnt have “sexy” in the name. He texted “do you want to be a penguin?” I did, but it was fifty dollars.

    Sexy justice oconnor it is!

  16. Paloma says:

    : Soarealltheotherwomen.


  17. Richard says:

    So everyone here might have found this already but has gotten some coverage for being pretty awesome with the costume ideas for women. It appealed to the inner history geek in me.

  18. Arkady says:

    My flatmate works in a costume shop, and his (male) boss is at least trying to equalise the trend… last year during the halloween sales rush the boss dressed as ‘Sexy Policeman’, including fishnet tights!

    Heh, among my friends there’s a tendency towards laziness, can’t count the number of times more than 50% of us have turned up at fancy dress events wearing undergrad labcoats on top of normal clothes…

  19. zuzu says:

    stonebiscuit: How would you put together Sexy Smasher of the Dominant Patriarchal Paradigm? This is important.

    You need a big hammer.

  20. alynn says:

    I’d reeeeeeeally love to see someone try to run the bases in the sexy baseball player’s shoes.

  21. Rich says:

    There should be more costumes for men that include the word “sexy”: “Sexy Saddam Hussein”, or “Sexy Mubarak”, even “Sexy President Obama” but I’m not sure how these would look.

  22. Sean says:

    Check out this op ed that draws parallels between Halloween and the Slut Walk protests,0,6455906.story

  23. Brittany-Ann says:

    I tend to go to historical reenactment sites and get something there. Last year I was a Musketeer, this year I’m a 17th century Scottish woman. They take a bit more explanation, but I don’t have to walk around all night tugging at my costume.

    Great post!

  24. LG says:

    Or we could just dress in costumes that don’t have “sexy” in the name…

  25. But you left off Hillary Clinton. Shame, shame.

  26. Chataya says:

    I’ve already assembled my costume for tonight (Fionna from the genderswap episode of Adventure Time with Finn and Jake), but that Jane Goodall costume is sooo tempting.

  27. Sid says:

    What’s funny is that the vast majority of women costumes on the Party City website not listed as specifically sexy for women are in fact, sexy. So there’s really not much of a choice.

  28. rae says:

    Sean, that article is awful. The author’s inability to parse different social and cultural contexts was apparent from the second paragraph, which claimed the only distinction between the slut walk protestors and women in sexy Halloween costumes was that the former carried political signs. The signs should have been a clue that SlutWalk is a political protest against blaming the victims of rape; the clothing worn by the protestors reflected a range of fashions and was a prop to demonstrate that rape victims will be slut-shamed whether they were wearing baggy sweatpants or lingerie.

    The more interesting comparison between Slutwalk and sexy Halloween costumes requires a bit more nuance. The ideology of Slutwalk affirms the right of women to wear sexy Halloween costumes and would back up any woman who got raped while wearing one. The critique of sexy Halloween costumes is that they are functionally compulsory; try finding a costume that’s not a sexy version of something in the typical stores where people go Halloween costume shopping.

    Put these things together and there is an obvious conclusion: The bottom line of both is that women should have a *choice* about how they dress and how they display (or conceal) their sexuality and should not be penalized for our inability to fit the impossible standards set for us. Both critiques are necessary because of the double-bind women are in, where we are expected to be both madonna and whore, and punished for being sexy, being sexy in the wrong way, and not being sexy simultaneously.

  29. andie says:

    This year I stole an idea I saw on the Hairpin and went as an un-ladybug. It was kind of fun playing with expectations of femininity to come up with what could be considered ‘unladylike’.

  30. My husband went to Target looking for costumes for our bunch and was disappointed and perplexed to see that while there was a whole bunch of kids’ costumes and a TON of women’s costumes, there was next to nothing for men. (He was hoping to pull together a classic Merlin/Gandalf kind of look.) He wondered aloud why that might be and I asked if all the women’s stuff was “sexy” and he said yes, mostly. Aha. So kids get to dress up to be cute and women get to dress up to be sexy but men don’t need to be cute or sexy so they don’t get to dress up at all. WTF. I miss the old Halloween, and do what I can to keep it alive.

  31. Devery says:

    On the off chance you haven’t seen the “Girls Costume Warehouse” bit: enjoy!

  32. Zack says:

    The Gloria Steinem costume needs to be paired with a Henry Kissinger costume for the lady’s male friend — but preferably one with the words “War Criminal” emblazoned across the torso. Actually it’s said that Kissinger ordered the assassination of a certain Italian prime minister (who was assassinated) so perhaps “Crime Boss” could be added.

  33. Karen says:

    The Cowardly Lion, in an alternate-tacky-universe Oz.

  34. stonebiscuit says:

    zuzu: You need a big hammer.

    I was thinking a sort of slutty Rosie the Riveter, so I think the big hammer will go nicely. With some squashed patriarchy on the bottom.

  35. blondegirl says:

    I have to wonder why it’s feminist to bash other women’s choices. I also wonder why it seems every feminist site thinks you can’t possibly be a feminist if you dress sexy on Halloween. I’ll wear what I like, thank you very much, and if you think I’m not a feminist because of my choice to wear fishnet stickings, all I can say is fvck you very much, and have a nice day!

  36. blondegirl says:

    If I may quite another article on this very site, “A lot of criticism of sex-positive feminism is really criticism of sexy women. It’s hard to find a piece that isn’t dripping with disgusted descriptions of women who wear high heels and shave their legs and then they giggle and they act all flirty and give blowjobs, oh my God. And it’s hard for me to see the difference between this and plain old slut-shaming. It always seems undercut with the implication that sexy women aren’t just unfeminist, they’re icky.

    If you treat sexy women with disgust and pity, you’re not protecting their rights; you’re just gleefully participating in their public humiliation. (You’re also often attacking them on a subject that’s highly intertwined with culture, class, age, and even body shape. Not everyone who looks “sexy” to you is doing it on purpose, much less doing it to serve the patriarchy.)”

    Go Pervocracy!!

  37. Juke says:

    @blondegirl: …Who’s bashing other women’s choices? I see plenty of people bemoaning the lack of selection for women’s costumes, and plenty of people mocking the tendency to make “sexy” Halloween costumes out of everything, but actually bashing the women who wear those clothes? Don’t see it.

  38. Caperton says:

    I’ll wear what I like, thank you very much, and if you think I’m not a feminist because of my choice to wear fishnet stickings, all I can say is fvck you very much, and have a nice day!

    Feminists can’t wear fishnets? Okay, Sexy Frida Kahlo up there is wearing fishnets, and it’s not your place to tell her she can’t. Sexy Frida chooses her choice. God, you’re judgmental.

  39. igglanova says:

    stonebiscuit: How would you put together Sexy Smasher of the Dominant Patriarchal Paradigm? This is important.

    I think Fannie’s ‘Leftist Gender Warrior’ would fit the bill pretty well.

  40. Florence says:

    When I took the new baby to the pediatrician, she mentioned that she was going to dress up for Halloween in the office on Monday and that for the first time ever she got a nurse to dress up with her.

    “So I’m going to be a pea pod and my nurse will be a carrot.”

    “OMG. Have you guys investigated the influx of sexy costumes for Halloween?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Well, you can’t just be a pea pod, you have to be a SEXY PEA POD.”


    “And your nurse will have to be a SEXY CARROT.”

    “Is there such a thing as a sexy pea pod?”*

    “Dude, someone out there is trying to capitalize on some kind of sexy vegetation every Halloween.”

    * I have not yet found evidence of either a sexy pea pod or a sexy carrot costume in existence, but someone has to be into those giant white cartoon hands.

  41. zuzu says:

    Sean: Check out this op ed that draws parallels between Halloween and the Slut Walk protests,0,6455906.story

    Oh, fucking Charlotte Allen.

  42. Bonn says:

    One site I looked at had just labeled everything “sassy” rather than “sexy.”

    Sassy Ninja Turtles. I just about died.

    I’m going to be a very un-sexy Hello Kitty. I saw some sexy Hello Kitty costumes and … felt confused. Some things just should not be made sassy/sexy.

  43. sprout says:

    I just have to pipe in to give props to an old (straight, cis male) college friend of mine who posted on facebook today that he wondered why there were so many sexy halloween costumes for women but not any for men. So he made his own. Fluffy little red man shorts, and a silver across the chest warrior thing, complete with knee high sexy socks, a sword, blonde wig and *lots* of skin showing. He admitted it wasn’t actually very sexy… but he got a lot of attention, from both men and women.
    If we’re (as a society) going to do “sexy halloween” it really ought to be equal-opportunity ridiculousness for men and women.

  44. Rufus says:

    Does the Steinem costume come with a Kissinger counterpart? I’d like to dress up as a war criminal alongside by babe.

  45. Rufus says:

    The Hillary costume has an accessory: A fake corpse of Gaddafi, who died before telling so many secrets about our lovely capitalist elites.

  46. sabrina says:

    we aren’t criticizing women when we complain about the costumes. Women can choose to wear whatever they want and the majority of us would support that decision. Hell I went out in a skirt so short last year I couldn’t dance without holding down the fabric or my ass would have been shown to everyone. What we are bemoaning is the fact that we can’t find anything that’s not sexy to wear unless we want to spend a ton of money or make our own costume. Sometimes we like going as sexy fill in the blank, hence the suggestions for some pretty fucking awesome and creative costumes. Sometimes though, we want to dress up as something not sexy, and the only thing we are left with is the giant blow up unisex costumes.

  47. Karen says:

    Blondegirl — I’m 48 years old, too damn old to be sexy. Please remember that some of us past age 25 would like to enjoy Halloween as well, and ‘sexy’ costumes mean we can’t. Enjoy your fishnets, but please remember that not everyone can wear sexy costumes, and those of us too old for sexy would like some options as well.

  48. historian says:

    Last year I went as a sexy whoopee cushion.

  49. EG says:

    I’m in my mid-thirties, and it’s not that I feel I’m too old to be sexy, but I’m far too old to think it’s a good idea to run around at the end of October in some flimsy piece of crap that barely covers my ass, because it is damn cold outside. I bought into that when I was in my teens, but these days, I don’t feel I have to freeze to prove how sexy I am.

  50. Fat Steve says:

    zuzu: Oh, fucking Charlotte Allen.

    Not the way I’d like to spend Halloween even if I wasn’t married.
    Just happy to celebrate our first Halloween back in a NY apartment building where no one will be ringing our doorbell.

    Whenever Halloween (or New Years eve, St Patricks Day or any ‘enforced fun’ holidays) comes along, I always think of this Dead Kennedy’s song

    P.S. I totally get that people with kids want to take them out for fun and candy (I still love candy,) so this song is not directed at kids, or parents of said children. It’s aimed at the people who Caperton is indirectly poking fun at in this blog post. Which should be obvious from the lyrics.

  51. Q Grrl says:

    And pleeeze blondegirl — I’m a 44 year old dyke. I can rock the sexy, but I’m pretty damn sure it doesn’t look like the sexy that you want to own so badly. Go on with yer fishnets. I’ll come out with my hipwaders.

  52. Diana says:


    I’m not entirely sure, but Feminist Hulk might have some ideas…

  53. 1ceuponathyme says:

    I was particularly annoyed with the compulsory sexy costume last year, so a friend of mine went as Andy Warhol and I went as Valerie Solanas. I handed out copies of the SCUM manifesto and shot Andy every chance I got. I thoroughly enjoyed the looks I got from people who had no idea who Solonas was, especially when they read the manifesto.

  54. Glundank says:

    zuzu: Oh, fucking Charlotte Allen.

    I can’t stand her either. She’s a professional troll.

  55. Hershele Ostropoler says:

    (Sidenote: I think most professional sports would become more entertaining without pants.)

    I can appreciate a woman in a fencing jacket and nothing else. (Not epee. Epeeists do it all over.)

    A sexy woman in a blah costume > a blah woman in a soi-disant sexy costume.

    stonebiscuit: How would you put together Sexy Smasher of the Dominant Patriarchal Paradigm? This is important.

    Aren’t they all?

    (My girlfriend has been tossing around the idea of going as Rosie the Riveter. Not explicitly “sexy Rosie”, though)

    I think it was on here that I once read someone posting that they’d dressed as Sexy Bacon one year.

    Isn’t it all?

  56. Hershele Ostropoler says:

    Er, blah-looking women. There are few blah people of any gender.

  57. Jaime says:

    I know the “princess” trope is extremely problematic for many reasons, but I thought this was a great subversion of it and impossibly adorable, besides:

  58. PeggyLuWho says:

    I am Amelia Earhart this year. Knee high boots, aviator goggles, and a bomber jacket. Pretty damn hot, if I do say so myself. Last night was a zombie party, so I got to be brains eating Amelia Earhart.

  59. DianaH says:

    I made a Robin costume (the Young Justice version). I wore it out to my city’s Halloween festival on Saturday night and received some fun appreciation from various Bat-family members who were glad to see a reasonably accurate version of a Robin get-up instead of one more “sexy” version that looks nothing like the actual thing. Even a loner Nolanverse Batman liked it! I love how well this costume turned out; I think I’ll keep it around for cons.

    I like Halloween because it gives you an excuse to dress up like pretty much anything. Defaulting to animal ears and lingerie just seems boring.

  60. Sheelzebub says:

    Yes, I’m horribly oppressive for being tired of the defacto requirement that I be sexeee. Shit. We don’t see sexy firefighter, sexy cop, sexy construction worker, sexy vampire, sexy superhero for men. We don’t see dudes in short shorts or ultra lowriders and shirtless on Halloween. We don’t see ready-made costumes like this for men. I’m sure it’s just a fluke.

  61. Andie says:

    I found the only easy way to subvert the ‘sexy’ trope is to go with gory. Very very gory. Which is why I love zombie walks.

    The fun part is that you CAN do gory and sexy if you want to. Because choice, amirite?

  62. FashionablyEvil says:

    I can appreciate a woman in a fencing jacket and nothing else. (Not epee. Epeeists do it all over.)

    Including one of those charming plastic bra contraptions?

    (Have they made any major improvements to chest protectors in the 10 years since I last competed in fencing? I’m assuming it’s still plastic bras.)

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