Halloween is here and so are short skirts
Article: Robyn Tocker – A&C Editor
I walk into the Halloween City costume store, turn left then right. There it is. The costume wall. Pictures of costumes for people from ages baby to adult line the high wall. Parents search with their children to find something that will fit overtop (or underneath) their winter jackets. Young adults linger near their section, scanning the pictures for something that won’t blow their meager budget.
While I stand there, I see a trend appearing. Low cleavage lion costume, short skirt “Queen of Thrones”, short skirt for the Big Bad Sexy Wolf, a combo of short skirt and cleavage for the referee costume. When I spot the nun with thigh highs, that’s when my jaw drops.
Seriously? Are these the options I have for Halloween? Where are the pants? Oh, there they are. Can we call Katniss’ “Catching Fire” costume pants? I wonder if my thighs would be able to breathe in that so called “police uniform”.
This isn’t anything new for me, and other women, unfortunately. When shopping for a costume, there’s very little to choose from if you don’t feel comfortable showing off a lot of skin.
Rachel Galbiati, a worker at Halloween City, says she has seen parents complaining about the length of skirts many times.
“A girl was trying on a costume today and it barely came down to her [private area].”
Galbiati, who has experienced issues buying costumes regularly, says she would like to see a section for women who want to show more skin, and another section for those who don’t want to.
“I’ve had people say to me the clothes are too skanky and they don’t want to wear it.”
Galbiati knows that is may not happen, seeing as “sex sells,” and a lot of people want it because it grabs more attention, especially for the bar scene. “Men like to see it.”
On campus, when asking if they have experienced issues buying costumes, Amber Fournier says that is does limit what women can wear and that men have the option of full coverage where ladies, most of the time, do not.
“If enough people put forward the idea and said they did not want to dress sexy, [costume makers] may start making more modest costumes.”
Bailey Janson agrees with Fournier.
“I can’t find female costumes that are not provocative, which influences my costume choice.” She also says that women can dress up in funny costumes, but that is hard to do.
[pullquote]“A girl was trying on a costume today and it barely came down to her [private area].”[/pullquote]
When asking for a male’s perspective, one answered, who wishes to remain anonymous, saying he doesn’t mind at all and that even he would dress in a skimpy costume. He also points out that many women in the market for a costume may just buy what’s on the self.
“[Women] do have options but most gravitate to the skimpy ones because they are [the] pre-made costumes. It’s not hard to make your own.”
To give some figures, when rummaging through the Halloween City flyer, I counted only nine out of the 99 costumes shown for women included pants (if we can call them that). If you do some quick math, that equals out to 0.09 per cent of female costumes with pants as an option. This addition does not include tights, leggings, or knee-high socks.
On the younger girls’ side of the flyer, only 1 out of 98 costumes have pants as a required part of the costume. Again, I’m not including tights or leggings here. I won’t go into detail about what I found in the men’s section, but I can assure you there were no short skirts or cleavage.
Pat Miller-Schroeder, a Women’s and Gender Studies professor at the University of Regina, says she’s enjoyed Halloween, especially when her children were growing up, but there is obvious gender stereotyping in costumes.
“That goes with clothing in general. There’s a lot of gendered expectations right from when kids are born. You know, pink and blue, and you’ve got to have the right colours when they’re born.”
Schroeder says this stereotyping can be harmful with the expectations they bring along, for both women and men.
“I don’t hate Halloween or dressing up. It’s just like weddings, there’s a lot of baggage that goes with that . . . Also in the costumes we see the effect of media. It used to be there was a much more limited range of what we could buy, say, for my kids thirty years ago. There wasn’t the huge range of what you dress up today. And some of what you dress up as today isn’t Halloweeny at all. These tend to show ideals that are movie stars or things like that.”
How do we change what options there are for women to dress?
“We’re a very consumer-driven society. Costume companies will make what they think people will buy. A lot of people go out and buy costumes; they don’t make their own costumes, so people who don’t want to have stereotypical costumes they may want to look more at dressing in a way they feel makes them feel happy and good about themselves. I would suggest you don’t dress in ways that make you feel uncomfortable about yourself.”
That’s really what Halloween should be all about. Dressing up in a way that you feel comfortable and having fun, whether that be going to a bar or trick or treating. If a person feels comfortable wearing something that shows more skin, awesome! But I know that not everyone does and that’s when things start to get annoying.
Perhaps next year there will be a wolf costume with a pair of pants?