Oct 302011
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

As a college woman, I, along with my female peers, have an unspoken expectation placed upon us on Halloween: look like a “ho fo sho.”

Growing up, I couldn’t have cared less about how “cute” I looked on Halloween. I never even planned my costumes –– one year, I think sixth grade, I threw a lampshade on my head, called myself a “crazy old woman” 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 –– not how much “eye-candy” we were.

But starting in high school, as Halloween house parties started appearing, and we began being interested in things, well, that weren’t candy, and the “Sexy___” costumes started becoming a “thing.”

“What are you dressing up as?” I asked my friend the day before a Halloween party my senior year of high school.

“A sexy nun! You?”

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 wasn’t “sexy,” but you couldn’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 woman’s Halloween costume isn’t worthy of an indecent exposure arrest, she probably won’t snag herself a man.

While it’s easy to assume women our age dress like sexy nurses, or sexy superheroes or sexy… prostitutes because they’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 they’d even thought about it.

One friend from class who was planning on dressing as the Black Swan –– which she said consisted of a black tutu and bra –– likes the sense of lost inhibition that comes with a college Halloween.

“It’s the one weekend we can dress like hoes and get away with it,” she said. “No one judges you, so you can really do whatever you want. It’s just reckless fun. And everyone wants to look hot sometimes, you know?”

I talked to other girls who said things along the same line –– it seems some college women don’t dress provocatively on Halloween with male interest in mind, but rather for the fun of “letting go” without the usual judgment and stigma.

As someone who has more experience dressing like a “ho ho ho” than a “ho” for Halloween, I’ve just recently started to understand the notion of looking somewhat attractive –– or at least like a woman –– during the weekend of celebration.

And us much as I’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 she’s doing it for the right reasons, why shouldn’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 –– not underage high school girls dressing in lingerie just to impress boys at a party.

It’s definitely disconcerting to see Halloween stores selling “tween” 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 “sexy,” instead of what a girl that age’s costume should be saying: “I still like candy more than I like boys.”

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 –– if we’re doing it for the right reasons.

While I personally still prefer wearing warm costumes like Santa and sweater-clad Batman, I wouldn’t be entirely opposed to actually looking “cute” for an upcoming Halloween (Don’t worry, Mom. “Naughty Nun” will never be in my repertoire).

Could it be fun to chuck my usual grandma sweater and be, oh, I don’t know, ‘sexy grandma?’

No? Well maybe I should just stick to Santa.

But if you are going to “skank” things up a little on this Halloween night, try to wear at least a little more than lingerie.

And mostly, just because it’s okay to look like a “ho fo sho” tonight, doesn’t mean it’s okay to act like one.

_Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major who would still go trick-or-treating if wouldn’t get her arrested. Her column usually appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com. _

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