Scary Or Sexy: A Hunt for a Halloween Costume


Ah, that time of year again. Gone are the “bikini-body” workouts being flaunted in every magazine, newspaper and bathroom stall scrawl, enter the confectionary-filled holiday season which begins at the end of October. Not that anyone has told the local Tesco, who have been stocking selection boxes since before schools went back last month. Yes kids, the one time of year where it is not only socially acceptable, but rubber stamped okay to ask strangers for sweets and accept them from them without feeling creeped out or violated in any way.

Unless you’re a woman.

I got looking at costumes last week, initially for the small man, as given my likely plans to stay in and hope the toddler doesn’t stay up all night are good to go mean I won’t need one for myself, but after a bit (and after seeing the perfect one for him five minutes into my search), I found it rather interesting to check out the selection of costumes available for women. Oh, they’re scary alright, but not in an intended way, one would be likely to think.

Slutty costumes aren’t exactly news when it comes to Halloween. Great quotable cinematic gem, “Mean Girls” summed it up in Cady’s monologue regarding the holiday with

In the real world, Halloween is when kids dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it.

I can’t hand on heart state that I’ve never embraced this part of the festivities; as a carefree college student there were some ill-judged costumes involving tutus and quite a lot of facepaint, while still managing to make myself look demure in comparison to some of the friends I was going out with. That was, I thought, my choice – I was young, confident in how I looked and had decided this was to be my costume for whatever theme night we were headed to. My choice. From my research for a potential follow up costume, in case the toddler decides he has other plans with cooler people, that choice seems to have been taken away from me (and every other woman) if she chooses to go down the store-bought costume route.

There are things that have been sexed up that I never thought could or would have been. Like Crayola crayons. Oompa Loompas (otherwise known as “Sexy Factory Worker”). Luigi (The plumber from Mario, after undertaking a sex change, also known as “Sexy Plumbers Mate”). Even a rather slutty looking Mummy. Not a scare in sight (apart from the prices).


I'm not sure this is what roald dahl had in mind...


Any genuinely scary costumes are made for male proportions, not ladies. Where ladies are given a short skirt, a tight top and some accessories to make it relatable to the intended costume, men are fully covered in trousers, long sleeves and accessories – apparently if you’re a man, it isn’t a sexy holiday.


nerdy & flirtyHallowe'en for menIncredibly, the costumes for the same “job role” differ quite a bit when you put the two options beside each other. Take SWAT cops – I managed to find both a female and a male version of the costume. There is quite a difference in the focus of the costume – the mens one is clearly intended to just be seen as a SWAT costume; the girls costume has quite another message altogether.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.53.18 p.m.


To make matters worse, this trend starts early. It isn’t just adult sizes that are erring towards the side of sexy; there are some eyebrow raising costumes in the “teens” section starting from 12-14. I’m not sure how many parents would allow their daughter out of the house in some of them given their likeness to the over sexualised costumes aimed at more mature women (or, in some cases, strippers) – just because it comes with tights, it doesn’t mean the costume is any less sexualised. With titles like “Cop Cutie” and “Miss Dee Meanour”, not to mention the rather questionable “Tin Heartthrob” (this one doesn’t even have the tights…) it’s obviously pushing towards a costume to make the wearer more attractive to others, not exactly inciting any form of terror – apart from that of their parents who are wondering what has happened to their 12 year old child that she’s wanting to wear this, and vowing to wrap her in big coats to block all view of skin.

cute or creepy?Tween_teen costumes

Are we so blind to our over sexualisation of teenage (and tween) girls that these things are considered acceptable? A holiday based around children dressing up to “scare” others into giving them a treat, in my opinion, shouldn’t have any interest in making a young girl “cute”, “sexy” or a “heartthrob”. Let kids be kids – and clothes be clothes. Why is it that men get to be warmer? As a girl who is 5ft 0, I can hand on heart say that its unlikely that I’ll find a male-fit costume that I’ll manage to get to fit, never mind look good. Yet in my more sober, more grown up mode, I’m unable to justify to myself the ridiculously short skirt and stockings. I leave the whole thing to the ladies of Mean Girls – they may be in Girl World, but at least I’m comfy. If alone, at home, with nothing to dress up for.

This isn’t a new epidemic, it’s been one I’ve seen over the last few years but never really paid too much attention to. I just find it such a shame that the choice is taken away. By all means, if you want to wear a costume that shows off your assets and makes you attractive towards the object of your affections, go right ahead, I won’t be stopping you. I’d just like the option to try something else as a woman, and such options are few and far between. For the moment, I think my toddler companion may be a better option for this year.

This drawing by the awesome Twisted Doodles (click on the pic to go to her Facebook page!) sums it up in a nutshell!
This drawing by the awesome Twisted Doodles (click on the pic to go to her Facebook page!) sums it up in a nutshell!

What do you think about costumes available for women? Do you think the tween/teen costumes are appropriate for the age group? Am I over-reacting or do I have a point? Let me know in the comments!



  1. I think the costumes for women these days are too sexy and show a lot of skin which I don’t like. My daughter pointed at a nurse last week saying I should get it but my god was it short. Never in a million year. Women’s costumes need a revamp imo.

    Completely agree with everything you’ve said!

    1. Some of them are ridiculous. The old lady in me thinks “Do you not know its basically November, you’ll die of pneumonia if you go out in that!”. It’s the tween ones which really irk me – just because they have tights doesn’t mean they’re any less “enticing” which shouldn’t be a thing when they’re that age!! Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂 Have a really nice week 🙂

  2. I actually can’t deal with all the shop bought sexy halloween costumes for women! I think you’re much better off picking a character/monster and buying your own pieces to put a costume together! It takes more time of course, but it’s also more fun x

    1. Exactly – surely that is half the fun of it? A friend of mine went all out with a comic hero theme and made incredible stuff – and the costume is all the better because you know YOU made it. And the cost of the shop bought ones! 60 quid for some of them! :O

  3. I wish our UK Halloween culture was more like our American cousins… I’ve been lucky enough to attend ‘Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party’ at Walt Disney World Resort which is filled with families dressed up in their Halloween costumes & with not one slutty or inappropriately dressed princess in sight.

    1. That sounds really lovely – yes here we seem to be veering the other way, it isn’t about the kids which it really should be! Thanks for reading!

  4. We do special effects make up in work, so Halloween is always crazy busy. Been taking appointments all week for ‘sexy zombie’s’…. I don’t even know how that works!?

    1. I’m assuming theres lots of eyeliner involved… not too sure what else – The Walking Dead has a lot to answer to I think!

  5. As a mum to a 15 yr old girl I see this time and time again. It is just on fair, it is advertising doing this and then the media portray our kids like this. Most kids just want to have fun. Bring back home made costumes I say!

    1. What’s so wrong with a black bag and a witches hat?? I am actually so relieved I have a boy because he won’t have these things when he gets to that age. If I had a daughter she would be under lock and key if that’s what she was being encouraged to wear out of pure fear!!

  6. I really don’t like those sort of sexy costumes. I really don’t think they are suitable for teens either. Time for some alternatives I think.

  7. This is a total bugbear of mine – both as a feminist and a mum to two girls. I think sexualisation of young girls is horrific and inappropriate and contributes to a societal view that women are primarily sex objects. I find the ‘sexy’ halloween costumes really irritating. It would be fine if there were lots of choices but as you say, the options for men give a totally different message!

    1. Yeah it’s ridiculous – whatever about if they want to dress that way but even the non-traditional costumes are still bloody sexed up! The camo girl one definitely wouldn’t pass an army uniform check for sure!!!

  8. There is no way if I had a teenage daughter that I would let her out of the house dressed like that! I agree it is definitely time to get some alternatives in place. After all some of those do not look that different to the dress up outfits available in a well know high street underwear shop! We will not be going out trick or treating this year as our towns fireworks night is on the 31st so thankfully I don’t need to worry xx

    1. Same – I’m sure my dad would have asked me did I get it for half price since some of it was missing and order me back inside to put some clothes on!! The Ann Summers ones potentially cover more which is mental!! Fireworks night sounds lovely, I must check if we have anything like that.

  9. This is something I’ve actually never thought about. I’m actually going out on Halloween this year, going out is a very rare occasion these days, so thought I’d go all out and dress up. I ordered an outfit and it arrived, and it’s much shorter than something I’d usually wear, so I’m not quite sure what to do now!

    1. Can you pair it with tights/leggings? It’s scary just how much they “sex up” things which really don’t need to be sexy! What’s wrong with a good old scary costume?

  10. It is actually almost laughable, if it wasn’t so serious. Just looking at the comparison between the male and female options, quite unbelievable in this day and age x

    1. It’s when you put them side by side that it becomes ridiculous – and you have to laugh or you get filled with rage and wind up ranting… Ahem.

    1. Thanks, I thought I might get some agreement about this one, it couldn’t just be me having turned conservative! Some of them are just bordering on ridiculous and distasteful!

  11. I love that quote from mean girls lol it really does sum up Halloween! It’s too bad there isn’t more variety for women & teenage girls to wear. The SWAT costumes really show the difference. I think you are right & I don’t like the idea of my little girl wearing one of those revealing costumes as a teenager. x

    1. It’s one of the things that makes me so glad I have a boy and not a girl – this isn’t something I will face for him in his teen years, I won’t have to worry about him being overly sexualised by costumes aimed at his young age group that are completely inappropriate – I would understand parents locking their daughters up out of fear of them growing up way too fast with that kind of culture (clearly not in a kidnap way, rather a protective kind of way).

  12. Gah! It’s just as gender specific costumes, girls and boys costumes should be just both.Halloween is about being gory and scared not sex.I guess if their is a market for them, the manufacturers will keep producing them.

    1. That’s true – and unfortunately when it’s the status quo to just buy these kind of costumes the cycle keeps repeating itself! Hopefully a change will come in that soon but I’m not holding my breath!

  13. I totally get your point but knowing that manufacturers only produce what sells, someone must be buying these things and creating a market for them I guess! I’m not sure who exactly would be buying the teen girl ones and I`ve certainly never seen anyone wearing them (thank fully!) but I guess it must be happening or they wouldn’t continue to be produced.

    I have seen quite a lot of decent, covered up options for women though – I’m going to a family Halloween party with my kids so I need a costume and there was loads of appropriate choice in my local home bargains – lots of long witch dresses, ghost costumes, etc…all very covered up and appropriate! x

    1. Ooh, I’ve not seen a witch one without a massive slit in the leg so I may look out for the more conservative costumes – I’ve never seen the teen ones but that said most of these would be worn for teen discos and the like, not trick or treating so they wouldn’t be seen by many apart from their peers who they all want to dress like! And so the cycle continues! Thanks for reading and joining the conversation!

  14. I personally don’t like the sexy type costumes, I’m a mum to a teenager. Imagine how embarrassed he would be seeing me in that

  15. With two teen daughters, I totally agree that everything for girls is over sexualised. And from a younger and younger age too. It is wrong and scary actually (excuse the pun). Kaz x

    1. That’s exactly it – the scare is for the parents, not anybody else! I’m hoping by the time my fella hits his teen years there will be a change but I’m not holding my breath…

  16. my daughter will not be wearing these teen costumes when she gets to that age. They’re so inappropriate!!! I best improve my needle and thread skills so I can make some more teen friendly costumes! X

  17. I don’t do fancy dress, but I’m always amazed by the state of the female outfits. I struggle for halloween for my son – he’s too big for cutey ones, and the boys ones are just too scary with masks that he just wouldn’t wear. Thankfully he doesn’t do trick or treating.

    But girls ones. Definitely not appropriate compared to the mens ones.

    1. I didn’t even think of the divide between cute and scary, thankfully we are still at the age where cute is okay – I think some imagination and pulling in favours from my more make and do talented friends might be in order!

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