Next Halloween, go naked
“Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”
That quote is from the 2004 movie “Mean Girls” directed by Mark Waters and written in part by comedian Tina Fey. “Mean Girls” had many gems of truth about girl-to-girl interactions. For instance, it described girls’ wild and animal-like need to prey on their gender’s emotional health by pointing out other girls’ physical flaws.
The quote about Halloween seemed to nail itself into my brain because it highlights how much girls need an excuse to not be judged. For the past few Halloweens, since the release of the movie, I thought most girls would agree that it is better to have costumes that don’t make them look like they work corners near gas stations around 2 a.m. when the bars let out.
Yet again this Halloween, female students had costumes that were, well, more skin than costume.
That made me wonder why, on Halloween when a girl can be just about anything she can possibly dream of being, a girl would want to look like a scantily clad version of a (insert vampire, witch, gypsy, doctor, whatever, here).
Then I thought, maybe it’s a form of empowerment for many girls who don’t spend all their time running around naked.
For example, when Mary Phelps Jacob invented the modern bra in 1910 because corsets were making it difficult for her to wear a lower cut dress, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader suggests that she liked the way it allowed her to move more freely than the old corsets did. Later on in life, Phelps Jacob supposedly gallivanted through Paris in her naked glory perched on top of an elephant.
So why tell this little story? Think for a second. If you never did anything crazy in your entire life, wouldn’t you want to know that you could? But then there’s that problem of being judged by others.
But wait. Then, the American college world just presents this night to you where you have a complete excuse to go wild? It’s perfect timing. It’s like being as invincible as Mario when he hits that superstar power-up – a girl is untouchable to a lot of criticism on Halloween because almost all the girls around her have made that kind of look Halloween’s social norm.
This social norm has been instilled so deeply that commercial outlets have responded with vigor. It’s impossible to find an outfit that isn’t a tad showy if you’re a girl. Even at generally wholesome stores like iParty (it’s not like it’s Spencer’s), the only costumes available are choices between “Pocha-Hottie!” or a so-short-its-riding-up-my-butt gypsy getup.
There might be a type of freedom associated with doing things that people don’t normally approve of. It isn’t the case that all Halloween costumes are a form of rebellion for each girl. But maybe for some meeker girls, having an excuse to be outrageously dressed without anyone passing harsh judgments feels deserving.
Please understand that by using the word “outrageously,” I am not trying to sound prude. I just figure that it is what a mother might say about Saturday’s costumes, and what girls who tend to dress more conservatively might use to describe a “head nurse” outfit complete with fishnet leggings, miniskirt and a low-cut, fire-cracker red, tank top.
Despite it being an empowering moment, there are still some factors girls should think about when choosing a Halloween costume.
For one, if it’s freezing outside, wear more clothes as opposed to less. This year, girls were lucky. It was a decently warm October night.
Secondly, walking across campus in eight-inch heels just about always turns into walking across campus barefoot. Dignity points drop for any young lady the moment her bare feet begin to contract dirt-filled scratches.
Lastly, a creative idea that gets laughs is always cool. A bunch of girls were able to balance the need to show off skin while still using playful humor with “Walk of Shame” costumes. Be careful though. Either costume ideas are limited for girls, or everyone’s mind is in the same place. Five parties deep that night, I saw the same standard six girl costumes at each one.
Well, what’s done is done, and Halloween has passed, so I’m hoping no one takes this article and beats herself up for not being super original about her costume. After all, it’s one night, and most students have more, or should have more, important issues at hand than what to wear for any occasion.
Although for next year, it could be really quite fun to see something truly shocking. Someone should rent an elephant and dress up (or well, dress down) like Mary Phelps Jacob.
Alyssa Creamer is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at email@example.com.