Can I be anti-slut shaming and anti-sexy Halloween costumes too? I think so. A lot of smart, awesome, feminist-y people have been defending sexy Halloween and I get that. Calling women sluts for doing one thing while calling them ugly for doing anything else isn’t fair, isn’t cool, and isn’t right. And I’m not here to do that. I’m here to say: you have another option!
Yes. This. Halloween is my absolute favorite night of the year. If you wanna show your stuff off, that’s cool, but the way I see it, there’s only one day of the year when I can bust out an amazing homemade costume (see the post below this one for this year’s example). If there’s one day a year that I can dress like Batman, I’m gonna do it. You can wear a revealing outfit any day. Sure, you can be a super sexy pirate or whatever and take a thing out of a bag and put it on and be done. But you can also be BATMAN.
I really like this initial post from Emily and the response from Jessica. I’m personally always a little torn on the sexy Halloween costume thing, and I like the mentality here that it’s not so much about judging people who want to dress sexy as it is about judging people for being a little lazy by just grabbing what is essentially a bag of overpriced, cheaply-made, pre-decorated lingerie and calling it a costume.
Amongst crossdressers, Halloween is sort of a big deal. When we’re closeted, it’s the one time a year when we can dress however we want and it’s totally fine. Most people write it off as a joke (unless you’re just a little too good at it,) and you can kind of let out some of the tension of the secret you keep behind closed doors the rest of the time. Now that I am open about how I dress, that “Finally I can do this!” mentality isn’t still there, but I do still find myself always picking costumes that involve crossdressing in some way. I think now though it’s more out of fun nostalgia and tradition. I feel almost obligated to crossdress in my Halloween costumes out of a loyalty to the concept.
And the thing is, I sort of always kind of want to dress in a sexy costume on Halloween. I don’t really dress “sexy” the rest of the year. It’s not really the reason I dress, and I know that as a 6’1” 175lb male, it doesn’t really work. I’m not Andrej Pejic, and I have to be realistic about what works on my body and with my lifestyle, and within my own personal bounds of taste.
But there is that tiny voice in my head that longs to occasionally feel sexy and in a feminine context. The voice of the boy who when growing up did often wish he’d been born a girl so he could wear the fun flirty clothes he was seeing all around him but was so cruelly denied by the fact of his biological sex. And while I’ve long since reached the point where the girl and the boy in my head stopped arguing and became one nice well rounded person, there is this slight desire to feel like the sexy supermodels that I grew up being both wanting to be and be with.
So for the first few Halloweens after coming out, I sort of made it a game to dress up in the traditional “sexy” costume examples, such as a french maid or a schoolgirl:
And that was fun for a couple of years, although it should be pointed out that the schoolgirl outfit was a DIY costume, and even the french maid outfit was assembled from parts. But every year when Halloween time rolls around and I start thinking of costume ideas, my first instinct is to go into the costume stores that pop up everywhere and start browsing through the sexy costumes hoping one will jump out at me. This year for example I was putting very serious consideration into being “Sexy Alice in Wonderland” because I saw a dress that I really liked and also got excited at the idea of pairing it with some white tights and Mary Janes.
(Photo originally from SpiritHalloween.com)
And yesterday when I went to the costume store, I was still very much considering this idea, but even then I knew that my heart wasn’t into it as much as it might have been a couple of years ago. It was very much becoming the “Well if I don’t see anything else I want, I’ll just be Alice as a default. The truth was that the costume I really wanted to do this year didn’t involve crossdressing at all. I wanted to be David Tennant’s Doctor. But since I had been unable to find a decent suit, coat, nor even a Sonic Screwdriver. And I knew that while I might get an immediate rush from the feeling of being “Sexy Alice,” once I was out and about I would be disappointed in just picking such a lazy costume. I would get the laughs of guy in sexy costume, but that’s not really what I’m after. I ultimately bought just a beard, and went to Target to buy a slip, and I went as “Freud in a Slip.” And while I was in line for the beard, I was chatting up a girl who was buying the same Alice dress I’d considered, and she told me she was going to wrap herself in chains and be “Alice in Chains,” which I thought was awesome.
When all is said and done, as much as I want to be a sexy supermodel, there’s a much bigger portion of me that likes to get creative and do something clever and fun. And every costume I’ve ever truly loved has been one that I put together myself, and even if I did buy some pre-bagged stuff, I made it my own. The best example of that is my costume from last year. I started with a pre-packaged “sexy bee” costume, and I added a pair of black tights, and also cut up a pair of girls’ yellow and black tights to make a skullcap and sleeves, and I went as the costume I’ve been thinking about for years. The Blind Melon bee girl.
This ranks up there in my all time favorite costumes, maybe even my favorite, but definitely somewhere alongside Shaun from Shaun of the Dead, and Jerith (Bowie) from Labyrinth.
Now, at one point last year, after I’d worn the bee costume twice, once to parties and once to work, I got to wondering if I could pull it off as the actual “Sexy bee” look that was intended by its creators. I had to do a show on Halloween and was considering changing up the look to have some variety for my costumes. I ultimately chose to do my Jerith costume again for the show but I did do a quick photo shoot in my “sexy bee” look before changing out of it. This is one of those photos:
And the truth is, looking at it then and looking at it now, I do think I kind of work it. I think if I’d gone out in this costume, I would have “gotten away with it” and all that. But I also think ultimately it would’ve been a fleeting memory of “Oh yeah, that guy was a sexy bee” at best. But whenever I tell someone I was the bee girl or show them the pictures, they love it. And when I was out dressed up, I still got the “sexy bee” response from people who didn’t get the reference but saw the costume, but when people *did* get it, the glee and excitement of their reactions made it awesome. And that’s why for me, when it comes to costumes, clever will always trump sexy.