By Alanna Anderson
If you’ve decided to go trick or treating this year you may’ve been bombarded with questions on how you’ll go about it. Will you go with a younger sibling to have a more plausible excuse? Will you go with a group of friends to have company? Or will you take the journey alone? There’s also the tedious decision of buying or making a costume.
If you’re like a lot of other people then you either don’t know how to sew, don’t want to take the time to learn how to sew, or don’t have time to sew–this leaves the Halloween Store.
It’s a building full of easily broken props, dramatic masks, and other things that you may never pick up again. It’s also full of costumes that are quirky, disturbing, and slightly childish. Not just those but also the female costumes; the female costumes that get shorter and flashier by the year. Despite the constant pressure for girls to not show skin, but also not be a prude, Halloween seems to be one of the biggest days where girls are supposed to show more than their male counterparts. After a quick journey through Google Images I can say one thing for sure: I’m a bit offended.
For starters, the male and female bacon costume. A choice for those who believe that bacon flavored toothpaste isn’t enough to meet their daily requirement of bacon exposure. Or bacon flavored floss, bacon patterned sandals, or bacon sunglasses and phone cases. The guy is in a full black outfit, everything covered except for his hands, feet, and face. The bacon part of it comes into play with a long strip of bacon like cloth covering the front of his body. And I can’t forget to include his smile, he sure seems to be enjoying looking like bacon. The girl is wearing a dress version of bacon. It’s a single strap dress that looks like bacon where one side ends on a pointed angle at her knee, and the other ends above mid-thigh. She pairs this off with light beige heels and a Miss America smile.
The next costumes that I compared were the male and female mouse costumes. The costume for people who are a mouse, duh. The man is completely covered in a grey onesie, except for the white oval-shaped patch on his stomach, and the mouse face and ears on the hood. He is posed with his hands bent at the wrist and his face partially covered by the hood. The female has on a tight, strapless dress that is all grey except for the white patch that extends from the start of the dress under her cleavage, to the beginning of her waist. If you look closely you can see a slight hood on her head where the mouse ears are. The dress ends above mid-thigh and she poses with her hands on her hips and her legs apart on her all black wedge heels.
The last, and most…intriguing, costume was the Ernie costume. In case you need a reminder, he is the orange monster on Sesame Street who annoys Bert and sings about his rubber ducky. The man dons a complete costume. His pants are blue, and connected to it is a striped yellow, red, and white shirt. Resting on his face is a big Ernie mask, and in one hand he holds a rubber duckie. The woman is wearing blue booty shorts and a long sleeved shirt that is striped yellow, blue, white, and red, but only covers 2/3 of her breasts because the front ends in a bikini fashion. Blue suspenders connect the shorts and shirt together and on her head is a small hat in the shape of the upper half of Ernie’s face.
This article wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the other costumes that also stole my attention (along with fabric from women’s clothing). These honorable costume mentions go to the great white shark, Oscar from Sesame Street, Bert from Sesame Street, a half blue/black and half gold/white dress, Nemo, Scooby-Doo, and corn.
The first and foremost thought in my mind: is fall not cold where they live? I can’t imagine walking outside in something that revealing with how cold it gets in Hagerstown. Second, why walk around in heels that high if you have to go from door to door all night? And third, and most importantly, why do the girls have to show more skin?
Overall, it is a person’s choice of how much skin they want to show (in the correct setting), but to mass produce only revealing costumes seems to remove that choice. How are girls supposed to gain confidence in an appearance fueled culture if they go from Tinkerbell to ‘sexy’ Ernie straight away with no lapse for confidence in between? As a society how are we supposed to empower girls to have self-worth when they’re constantly being told what is appropriate and what isn’t — only to be told that on a holiday meant for fun they have to dress a certain way. That’s almost like someone telling a pre-schooler that they have to learn the alphabet to succeed — then handing them the letters out of order.
In a society where the sexualization of females is becoming more and more apparent, how are we doing our part to overcome it? How will we ensure that girls aren’t attacked just for replicating the things they see all around them? In this society, where is the balance between a woman’s self-confidence and self-worth and what society expects of her? How much more self-esteem has to be destroyed before the balance is finally found?
Alanna Anderson is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts