The pressure of Halloween

Changing appearances shouldn’t lead to changing standards.

by Daily Editorial Board

Halloween is a unique holiday in that its participants are given an opportunity to be particularly creative and stand out. Many of the costumes people choose to wear on Halloween are topical and timely, such as dressing up as Big Bird or perhaps one of Gov. Mitt Romney’s “binders full women.” Others may decide to go a more traditional route and dress up as a mouse or a doctor. Either because of societal norms or some other anthropological reason, the costume options for women are similar to the ones marketed toward young children, only they have a “sexy” twist to them. There are “sexy” versions of almost every otherwise innocent costume, from “sexy teacher” to “sexy kitten.”

There’s an expectation that the outfits women choose to wear on Halloween should be more revealing than what is typically acceptable on every other day of the year. Yet when trying to live up to this expectation, a revealing costume can often draw the harsh judgment of onlookers. The outfits women wear on Halloween are often subjected to particularly harsher scrutiny than their male counterparts, either because they reveal too much or too little.

For men, this holiday is often seen as a day when particularly offensive or racist attire is deemed acceptable. Costumes that involve a person trying to appear as a different race or culture may be funny to some but are more likely to come across as insensitive and offensive.

It’s important to remember that, while Halloween involves dressing up as a different person or even a different species, a person shouldn’t have to change to a different value system. While the pressure to wear something provocative or particularly revealing may be strong, people shouldn’t feel it necessary to choose an outfit that they wouldn’t wear on the other 364 days of the year.