As a college woman, I, along with my female peers, have an unspoken expectation placed upon us on Halloween: look like a â€œho fo sho.â€
Growing up, I couldnâ€™t have cared less about how â€œcuteâ€ I looked on Halloween. I never even planned my costumes â€“â€“ one year, I think sixth grade, I threw a lampshade on my head, called myself a â€œcrazy old womanâ€ and shamelessly scorned the neighborhood, filling a pillowcase with candy that should have been going to kids of a more acceptable trick-or-treating age.
As kids, we cared about how much candy we got â€“â€“ not how much â€œeye-candyâ€ we were.
But starting in high school, as Halloween house parties started appearing, and we began being interested in things, well, that werenâ€™t candy, and the â€œSexy___â€ costumes started becoming a â€œthing.â€
â€œWhat are you dressing up as?â€ I asked my friend the day before a Halloween party my senior year of high school.
â€œA sexy nun! You?â€
I was embarrassed to tell her what I had been planning: Santa. Non-sexy Santa. I wore a full Santa suit, equipped with a white beard and pillow for a belly.
I not only wasnâ€™t â€œsexy,â€ but you couldnâ€™t tell I was a woman. Suffice to say, sexy-nun-girl got most of the male attention.
And when I got to college, that idea has made itself even more ubiquitous: if a womanâ€™s Halloween costume isnâ€™t worthy of an indecent exposure arrest, she probably wonâ€™t snag herself a man.
While itâ€™s easy to assume women our age dress like sexy nurses, or sexy superheroes or sexy… prostitutes because theyâ€™re trying to impress the pimp standing on the other side of the room, I wanted to ask some women why they actually wear so little on Halloween, or, if theyâ€™d even thought about it.
One friend from class who was planning on dressing as the Black Swan â€“â€“ which she said consisted of a black tutu and bra â€“â€“ likes the sense of lost inhibition that comes with a college Halloween.
â€œItâ€™s the one weekend we can dress like hoes and get away with it,â€ she said. â€œNo one judges you, so you can really do whatever you want. Itâ€™s just reckless fun. And everyone wants to look hot sometimes, you know?â€
I talked to other girls who said things along the same line â€“â€“ it seems some college women donâ€™t dress provocatively on Halloween with male interest in mind, but rather for the fun of â€œletting goâ€ without the usual judgment and stigma.
As someone who has more experience dressing like a â€œho ho hoâ€ than a â€œhoâ€ for Halloween, Iâ€™ve just recently started to understand the notion of looking somewhat attractive â€“â€“ or at least like a woman â€“â€“ during the weekend of celebration.
And us much as Iâ€™d like to take an Oprah-like stance and condemn the naughty-Halloween-culture as sexist and demeaning of modern women, the truth is, if sheâ€™s doing it for the right reasons, why shouldnâ€™t an adult woman be able to escape her usual classiness and let go for a few nights a year?
But yes, it should only be adult women sexing it up â€“â€“ not underage high school girls dressing in lingerie just to impress boys at a party.
Itâ€™s definitely disconcerting to see Halloween stores selling â€œtweenâ€ girl costumes that are far too revealing. I recently saw a Pippy Long Stocking costume made for girls in their early teens, but the revealing mini-skirt said â€œsexy,â€ instead of what a girl that ageâ€™s costume should be saying: â€œI still like candy more than I like boys.â€
But as adult college women, we should be allowed to step outside of our skin-coverage comfort zone for a couple nights of the year â€“â€“ if weâ€™re doing it for the right reasons.
While I personally still prefer wearing warm costumes like Santa and sweater-clad Batman, I wouldnâ€™t be entirely opposed to actually looking â€œcuteâ€ for an upcoming Halloween (Donâ€™t worry, Mom. â€œNaughty Nunâ€ will never be in my repertoire).
Could it be fun to chuck my usual grandma sweater and be, oh, I donâ€™t know, â€˜sexy grandma?â€™
No? Well maybe I should just stick to Santa.
But if you are going to â€œskankâ€ things up a little on this Halloween night, try to wear at least a little more than lingerie.
And mostly, just because itâ€™s okay to look like a â€œho fo shoâ€ tonight, doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s okay to act like one.
_Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major who would still go trick-or-treating if wouldnâ€™t get her arrested. Her column usually appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. _