Wondering What to Wear for Halloween?

By Hannah Gross on October 9, 2012

10:01 AM. I am nine minutes early to class. Rather than entering the awkwardly silent classroom where the thermostat is set to “ad nauseam” degrees Fahrenheit—as if the student body cannot adapt to a ten-degree temperature drop outside (it is autumn, people)—I stand outside the building doors and pretend to text on my phone to avoid useless small talk with vaguely familiar faces.

As if a fairy godmother of the sort hears my inner pangs of ennui, in walks a girl chatting feverishly on her cell phone (she is actually involved in a conversation, unlike myself). Her piercing voice reverberates my caffeinated head. I force myself not to direct my gaze at her, giving the illusion that I am wholeheartedly engulfed in my wild texting conversation and not—no, never!—eavesdropping.

“Oh em GEE, what are you going to wear for Halloween?”

Wait, am I really hearing this? Keep your head down, Hannah.

“I mean, I need to lose five pounds before I put on my costume. I’m going for either a ‘slutty Snow White’ or ‘slutty Cop’.”

Slut, say what? Oh, and it’s October 9th. 

There are so many things wrong with what has been just blatantly muttered in public that I simply do not know where to begin. Sadly, the truth of the matter is that for many girls on campus, “dressing up” for Halloween is known as the time to be, well, dressing down. As the infamous Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) in the film Mean Girls enlightens us,

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

It is no fluke as to why this movie is sensationalized by the masses and why the aforementioned line is shamelessly comical: it is so damn accurate. What is this Halloween costume phenomenon throughout college campuses where girls feel the strong urge, pressure even, to dress scantily as if their ultimate goal is to channel Christina Aguilera circa “Dirrty” phase (the assless chaps and filthy hair is forever seared in my mind)? Of course there are young women who do not partake in this ritual. However, a significant number of young women on campus can attest to the Mean Girls’ rule of thumb: last Halloween I saw a girl who shall remain nameless in a costume that consisted of a black bra and a tutu with a smudgy black circle on her nose–she told me she was a kitty cat. Pardon my imagination, but she looked as if she just ran frantically out of her apartment midway getting dressed because the fire alarm went off from a burnt piece of toast, hence the soot residue on the nose. Did i just go too far? I think not.

We can safely assume there are goals and purposes as to why girls dress promiscuously on Halloween, but I am going to embarrass myself and state one anyway: to attract male attention. To support my claim, I nonchalantly dropped the bomb in conversations with various college girls (Anonymous Girl: “What did you think of that Statistics test?” Me: “More importantly, why do college girls dress like sluts on Halloween?”). After momentarily feeling flustered by my awkwardly abrasive and random statement, they gave me the very answer I was expecting: to attract male attention.

Now, before I continue, I cannot write this and pretend like I am taking the high road by casually donning a fat suit at Halloween festivities. I am simply pointing out the fine line between sporting a sexy and flattering costume and a costume that is just plain wrong.

To get to the root of the issue, I asked a few of my closest guy friends this question: you see two girls walk into a party. Girl number one enters confidently in her modest ballerina costume, and girl number two walks in a slutty ballerina costume with her eyes wondering and shoulders slouched. Which one is hotter? The answer was unanimous: girl number one. Confident girls obtain a great deal of self-respect—and that is hot.

To all the single ladies (channeling my inner Beyonce): dressing promiscuously does not make you feel more secure or empowering. If anything, it is highly degrading, attracts the wrong crowd of people and gives all the wrong signals. Put on an outfit that makes you feel good about yourself. If you still feel insecure, even after countless wardrobe changes, fake it till you make it, sister.

Here are some guidelines to help you make the right choice on your costume. If you are (1) freezing because you are wearing less than the minimum required to retain heat, (2) not receiving direct eye contact by more than five boys at the party because they are too busy looking somewhere else on your body, or (3) too embarrassed to post any FaceBook pictures in your getup in fear of a future boss or nosy parents stumbling upon it, you might want to cover up just a tad.

Regardless of how “hot” your costume is, confidence is what makes you most appealing. Also if you are dressing as an animal of the sort for Halloween, try and at least wear a costume that actually resembles the animal you are meant to emulate.

Gretchen (Lacey Chabert) arrives at Karen’s (Amanda Seyfried) house, dressed in a cat suit with cat ears. Karen’s in a skimpy short dress.

Gretchen: What are you supposed to be?

Karen: I’m a MOUSE. DUH.


Hannah is majoring in English Literature and Language at the University of Michigan with a minor in Judaic Studies. She works as a indoor cycling instructor at RealRyder Revolution, but she weirdly hates bikers as they ride--and potentially run her over--on her way to class. Hannah's greatest passion is her love of singing, and often performs around campus and surrounding cities. Be sure to check her out on YouTube! And lastly, she currently feels slightly awkward writing about herself in third person. That is all, folks.

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