For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of awkward, semi self-depreciating Halloween costumes. In elementary school, the other girls would dress up as princesses and pop stars while I would show up dressed in a banana suit that limited the movement of my arms and legs. Several photographs from my middle school and high school years show my friends dressed as mice, black cats and superheroes while I’m wearing mime outfits with my face painted like Gene Simmons in order to portray “French Kiss.” This was the norm for me and I fully intend to continue this pattern well into my early 80s.
The problem with this plan came to light when a group of friends was planning a Halloween outing. As we threw around costume ideas, I excitedly declared that I planned to be a deviled egg. I would wear a pair of devil horns and a large egg suit that restricted my movement, as was custom. The idea was poorly received. I was politely informed that if I dressed like that I should not plan on going out at all. Apparently, dressing as an egg is not considered sexy enough to make it by in today’s world. I know — I’m just as shocked as you are. What’s even more shocking to me is that I can’t dress how I want to without being belittled.
I remember that little girl who showed up to her dance class on “Princess Day” dressed as a hot dog and it nearly broke the internet. People of all ages admired this spunky kid who gracefully twirled around in that awkward costume next to girls wearing glittery colorful dresses.
Unfortunately, I have to wonder if she would have received the same positive reaction if she was a teenager. It seems as though once girls reach a certain age, they are just expected to select flattering and racy costumes. If she was older than 16 years old, would people still appreciate the hot dog princess’ pluck or would she be disparaged for not conforming to the social norm?
I am definitely not saying that every woman in the world should throw on a religious habit and scowl at every passerby who chooses to expose a bit of ankle. I believe quite the opposite. I love the feeling of boldness and the poise that accompanies the perfect outfit. There is nothing that brings on empowerment like a pair of high heels. A crop top and fitted skirt can create confidence more effectively than any motivational speaker can. And the bigger and higher your hair is, the closer you are to God. It only makes sense that if we want to show a little bit more skin without being shamed, we should offer the same respect to the people who want to cover up for the sake of a punny costume.
This Halloween, I encourage you to dress however you like. If that means slipping into an alligator garb that covers your whole face and limits your vision, please do so. Someone out there will appreciate your sense of humor. If you decide to wear a mini skirt and stilettos, go for it. It probably is nice to wear a costume that actually allows you to move your arms and legs without extreme difficulty. Whichever route you choose to go this Halloween, do not shame the people who go in the opposite direction. Give them the respect you wish to receive in return. More importantly, let me dress as a deviled egg.