Why Good Girls Dress Sexy on Halloween

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Confession: I love the morning after Halloween. Why? Because I wake up, get my coffee, and start trolling Facebook to see all the costumes. I’m always blown away by the creativity and cleverness that goes into the getups! And while I’m usually in awe of my friends’ costumes, my own tend to be… fine… and typically hindered by my desire to still look attractive in them. Minus two years ago when I thought it would be funny to go as the Power Team.

Most girls do not want to show up to a party looking ridiculous, ugly, male etc. And even if they did, finding a non-sexy costume is difficult.

I woke up this Sunday wondering about it all. Why are all the costumes skanky? Why do good girls go a little bad on Halloween? I decided it might be an interesting topic to explore so I asked my girlfriends for help. I roll with a very enlightened, thoughtful, and above all- willing to be honest crowd… Actually, I don’t roll with anyone b/c I am not that cool and it’s not 1999…but you know what I mean. Here are some ground rules before we begin:

#1 I’m going to use words like “we” and “all” knowing there are exceptions out there. If I clarify every sentence it will get lengthy and annoying for everyone. If you are one of the few girls who never want to look hot, by all means comment from your perspective, and I apologize ahead of time for lumping you in.

#2 I hate the word slutty….but in the context of describing a style of clothing, I find it helpful for getting us all somewhat on the same page.  Deciding when an outfit crosses the line is different for all of us…makes this conversation tricky.

#3 This is going to take an open mind on all of our parts. I’m not looking for the simple answer: slutty outfit= bad, modesty = good. I want to dig a little deeper and explore some of the real motives.

#4 I don’t really believe there are “good” girls and “bad” girls (But there are definately bad guys).   We are all a mixed bag and I needed a catchy title, people.

Q: Why do good girls dress slutty on Halloween?

A: “Because they can’t normally and want an excuse sans judgment (or not as much judgment as usual)”

There is the most common response I received.  Halloween is the one night we can all get away with outfits we can’t normally pull off and lots of us want to take advantage of the opportunity. But I keep thinking- why do we want to wear them in the first place? And more importantly, does this mean we are all hiding who we truly want to be the other 364 days? If so, is the hiding this side of us really a good thing or a bad thing?? Comment away! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A: “There is a lot of pressure to be “hot.” Funny is nice, but for a guy it is just a novelty, not the girl you are going to try to make out with. Which brings it around to what is your intention for dressing that way?”

I found this response helpful since Halloween costumes do tend to land in either the hot, sexy, or funny category.   I used to believe that really good Christian guys didn’t like hot girls…. That they somehow only wanted a really smart, funny, and nice girl. False. They all like what they consider to be hot and on some level that’s ok. The good news is it appears better guys truly do put weight on things like character and personality.

As for funny vs. hot, it does appear the hot girl always wins. Funny works for male costumes but doesn’t translate as well for female costumes. Even the stores know this. Take a look at how differently the same characters are made (photo from Socological Images)

And my personal favorite:

Sexy Bacon!!!

There’s no question that society has set an expectation for how we are supposed to look. But even if I blocked out all outside pressure and forgot about male attention, I realized I don’t just dress for others. Part of me that wants to be hot for me. I want to know that I can look a certain way sometimes.   This came from a married friend of mine who dressed up this year as an M&M.

“I think there is less pressure to be slutty if you are married, but you still want to look good. And married, especially as a Christian, I think it is more awkward to dress slutty, like ‘why are you doing that?’ But maybe you want to do it just for you?? It was hard to dress in a giant, unflattering bag this year.”

Now clearly there is a difference between being feminine and skanky, but even when we aren’t dressing for men or are already married, we want to look good for ourselves. This isn’t inherently bad in my opinion. It is totally normal and part of how we are made. The tension comes because we don’t just live in a world by ourselves, we have to consider others.

We also have to live in the reality that what we wear says something about us and leaves us up for judgement. I think about the image I’m portraying with my clothes and attempt to have them line up with who I am.   I am someone who feels uncomfortable in anything too revealing or too frumpy.  Even between those two lines I can’t please everyone.

The judging…

“Some totally dress skanky and others totally judge. I have been both and I’m not saying one is better than the other, or a good thing.”

“I don’t judge as much on Halloween probably because it’s so common. I am just being honest. If I looked the way I want to I would probably dress up a little slutty :)”

A friend’s response to that- “Me, too.”

I find the judging part intriguing. Like the first responder, by certain standards I have been on both ends of the deal. I have crossed other people’s lines and I have judged other girls for crossing mine.  I’ll admit it, I wore the Snow White dress in a bag one year  and the truth is I feel more guilt over the times I’ve  judged other girls then  that costume.   I wish that negativity wasn’t in me and most of it comes out of jealousy.  I am probably thinking they have a better body or am envious over their freedom to wear whatever they want when it comes down to it.

There is still one part of me that is sad for the half-naked girl. I don’t want anyone to have to dress that way to get what they want or to feel beautiful. I wonder how she truly feels about herself and where she finds her self- worth.  Who knows, maybe she is just fine and even my split second psychoanalysis is inappropriate. Or maybe I’m right and the whole deal is just sad.

Either way, I’ve decided I don’t think it’s simple. It’s not always an easy decision for a single or married girl to figure out what to wear.  Some nights she wants to look grown-up beautiful (which typically means some level of sex appeal) and part of her wants this just for her.  Since it isn’t simple, I can’t be quick to judge. What’s the saying? ”Don’t judge someone if you haven’t walked in their shoes. ” Or in this case, hooker heels. I think it’s good advice.

I’ll leave you with a final response I appreciated:

“I think every girl deep inside wants to feel Victoria’s Secret sexy/desirable. If indeed you are a Christian, there is no place for that kind of validation. So Halloween has somehow become the one day of the year where you can get that particular kind of validation. Like see? I can have sex appeal, too. But really, I think most women don’t understand that they could be covered head to toe and a guy will still think you have massive sex appeal, even more so than when you wear less.”

Here’s to hoping she is right about that last statement! ***but not entirely convinced.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Ladies- what do you think? Why, or do you, push the line this time of year? Is it different once you’re married? I’d love to hear a guys take on it, too!  Just so you know- your email doesn’t show up and you can stay anonymous. Also, please be kind to my friends who were brave enough to be honest.

Oh and this year I went as a deer (or Harry Potter’s Patronus had I been clever enough to think of it.)

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30 responses to “Why Good Girls Dress Sexy on Halloween”

  1. Brandon says:

    I think that when girls are half naked with their belly all out (which is typically accompanied with a belly ring), or when they have the “girls” out for all to see, or when their skirt/shorts/bloomers are halfway up their butts…..then ya from a single christian guys perspective it’s definitely slutty looking! Now Im gonna lie from time to time I might look a little longer then I should but thats not the point haha. I think that any costume for a girl that shows a little skin, but not too much, is definitely good. Keep the “girls” in because frankly, whether you have them out or not we know their there lol, and keep things from riding too high on the back end….we will see those curves too, however that doesn’t mean a “mumu” or baggy pants….show us something but not everything haha :)

    by the way great article! I laughed my butt off girl haha.

  2. Green machine says:

    Great article and too funny. There is nothing wrong with going as Heidi. Ooohh! Can’t believe he said that.

  3. Great post– such a great topic for this week. I think we all ask ourselves “Why the slutty costume?” Then sometimes I ask myself.. “Why NOT the slutty costume?” It’s so interesting. Although, I’d much rather the girls dress too skimpy than the guys ( I was horrified in college when a guy went as a “baby” and wore only a makeshift diaper… ). I think that being married changes things because you definitely have someone to dress up with…? This was my first year dressing up (since high school!) and it was really fun. [slightly sexy yet modest] school teacher and greg was the nerdy student. So fun. The party we went to had a great mix of clever, covered up, and then a few who showed a lot of skin. I love your costume, Cindy!! The idea of the patronus is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉

    • hahah YES- the questions “why” and then “why not” perfectly describe it!! I kind of want to go back and insert that in the post:) Teacher and student is classic! It’s the whole image of sexy without actually dressing sexy. We should all go as patronus next year!!!

  4. A friend sent me an email after this posted and I wanted to include some of it (with her permission of course) because I found it very relatable and honest.

    “I can’t speak for everyone… but I can say this is the first year I have dressed somewhat sexy… My reason for doing so, and I can say I agree w/ all your friends comments, is its the first year, probably since high school, I’ve had the confidence since I lost all that weight… And I can honestly say as a christian I don’t or wouldn’t feel comfortable dressing inappropriately all the time, so I guess we do use Halloween as an excuse, although I still use some moderation…And I guess it is because, like you said, not even for the guys, but more for ourselves and to the other girls, we want to prove we can be sexy too and feel that way. We are always taught its more from the inside, but live in a society where being beautiful on the inside is just not enough and we constantly feel like we are competing for attn or we find ourselves feeling lonely and then guilty because we know Jesus should be enough. It’s a constant battle.”

  5. Mike says:

    True beauty always shows but true beauty does not need to show it all!

    Look good but be good in how you look! Be wise as well as creative!

  6. Jeyna Grace says:

    Slutty bacon actually doesnt look slutty at all. LOL!

  7. Alecia says:

    “Good” girls dress “bad” on Halloween (and other times, too) because all the bad–the thoughts, desires, self-criticism, lack of confidence, need to be noticed and accepted, etc.–doesn’t magically disappear the minute we say yes to Jesus. Like your friend’s email said, it’s an ongoing struggle. “Being in the world but not of it” and taking all those thoughts and desires “captive” to Christ is really hard, mind-bending work! And something we’ll never get completely right until we’re made completely right in heaven. BTW, loved your dad’s comments–no wonder you turned out so “good”!

  8. Stacy says:

    I just read up on the Power Team (never heard of it before – I will allude it to my being Canadian) and I think it was a GREAT idea for a costume! :) Can I just say, as someone who dressed as a pumpkin 2 years in a row (maybe 3 tomorrow!), I think funny is good! As your guy friends/readers have said – guys do not want women to show everything. If you do, the mystery is gone. The imagination is lost – all the secrets are out. There is no longer a chase for the guy (and lots of them love that chase!) – girls are making it too easy and obvious that they want it – all based on the non-verbal communication of their dress. And to be truthful, I think no matter how much any girl (or guy for that matter) say that they don’t care what other people think, there is at least a small part that does care – and I don’t think anyone truly loves to be labeled as “slutty” – I know it would hurt my feelings.

    • You are on to something- I had more fun in that Power Team costume than any of my others! Aren’t they hysterical?! It was fun running around ripping phone books and pretending to be buff;) I like that you’ve brought in the mystery and chase element… that does go a long way and the super revealing outfit actually works against you in that case… Interesting…. Thanks, Stacy!!

  9. Sara says:

    LOVE this. you never cease to amaze me. I also started thinking as I was reading through this, when does the age of the girl cross a line? is a slutty 16 or 18 year old worse than 20 or 21… or 30? or 50? and lets say I have a daughter someday, will I feel totally different about it? Will I understand that desire to want to feel sexy or will it break my heart to see her walk out the door on Halloween maybe not even looking slutty, but showing more than what might be considered appropriate? So interesting to think about. Alas, I’m glad I don’t have a daughter.
    Also part of me wants to think if I TRULY believed and thought that I was hot and desirable and confident (which I definitely don’t many times) would I feel as much of a desire to dress that way? but when it comes down to it, even if I know the man that is with me is super committed, trust worthy and loves me more than anything. I can’t be naive to knowing he is being tempted by these other people walking around, so part of me wants to fight fire with fire.
    This is why I love Christmas.

    • hahahah…”This is why I love Christmas.” That was my favorite. You ask a lot of great questions…the age thing is interesting. I can only speak for myself in that I’ve noticed a bell curve- I was awkward and more shy at 16, confident and and more daring in my mid twenties, and now I just feel more comfortable (having nothing to do with confidence) in things that are a little more covered up. Thanks for you honesty! It is hard to know the person you are with can see other women showing more than you are….no matter how great of a guy or how committed he may be.

    • alyssa says:

      I have never dressed super slutty on Halloween, but have dressed kinda sexy (short shorts, or a dress and the one year i was Gwen Stefani I had a midrif-bearing top). Who doesn’t want to look pretty when they go to a party? But this year more than ever I realized I don’t want to dress any tiny bit slutty because my daughter is old enough to be aware. I don’t want to set a bad example for her–especially as she gets older and looks through old photos.

  10. Im sorry, i dont respect any male or female that says girls have to cover up because of their religion. i am christian as well as a few friends of mine. by stating that a girl is “slutty” by wearing a form fitting dress or a mini skirt is like saying women have to wear full body suits when they go to the beach.

    Guys work out so we look good. Every man in any gym will tell you they want abs. Why do we want abs? So when we take off our shirt we look good. Is it so bad that women want the same? I think that women get jealous of other women if they show skin because they dont have the body and guys get jealous because that woman is out of their league.

    As far as religion has to play into it, i do not believe that anyone’s relationship with Christ came with a dress code handbook. For example, i am a christian. I have one more month of p90x. When i am finished, i WILL post my shirtless before and after pictures online. This does not make me a slut. It means that I am proud of a physical accomplishment and i want to show everyone how my hard work paid off! Women should have that right as well, christian or not.

    PS, there are a lot more christian guys that are sluts than women…just sayin’.

    • Thanks for your input! I’m only two weeks in to P90X and I can totally understand your desire to show results. I can’t imagine being 2 months in. That’s awesome! By the way, does the desire to throw up during the work out go away?? Also, at what point will I stop wanting to quit the whole thing?:)

      You bring up a lot of great points. Thanks for calling out the guys part in all of this:) Figuring out what goes into your body image and how it’s different from ours is too advantageous for me and this blog post. And I too find it funny that swimsuits show way more skin than anything else we wear but they are totally acceptable. Why is that?

      I hope I didn’t come across like I was calling another person slutty or a slut. I only wanted to use the word to describe a style of dress. I don’t think what we wear proves that we are acting a certain way but it does give an impression to other people that we have to be ok with on some level.

  11. CR says:

    I guess I’m confused on what is considered slutty and what isn’t. I would describe myself as a pretty laid back person so things I find offensive are going to be way different than someone else. I do think if your goal is to look sexy solely for a guy that is fine but I don’t think you’ll be happy with the results. Now if your just a person who generally likes to put it out there and that is just how you feel comfortable I feel like do your thing girl. I kind of get what the guy above is saying like why can you wear a two piece to the beach but not something skimpy on Halloween and I guess every woman has to answer that question for herself. Personally I hate being cold so skimpy would not cut it for me because HALLOWEEN IS COLD PEOPLE. I’m also just not a show it kind of person but what if I was…should I be judged for that? But what about humor is all of this. Don’t you think that Halloween is a time to be silly and funny? Maybe a girl who dresses up a little more risque is doing it out of humor. That I can relate too. In the end you have to be comfortable with who you are and if your doing that then maybe you don’t really care about the slack that people may or may not give you.

    • “Do your thing girl” I loved that Overall, you sound like a person who has a good sense of who they are and lets others be themselves, too. It’s refreshing! And like you said- we all have to answer these questions for ourselves. Thanks, CR! Oh, but Halloween was hot here this year! I’m so ready for the cold weather…

  12. jenni says:

    This is too funny! I think once again I am the opposite though I think I have “matured” somewhat since being married. I have always been the rebellious type. If a guy wants long hair, I cut it off. If a guy said I looked pretty I considered it an insult:) and then went and pierced my face so I could look tough and not cute. This is coming from the extreme tomboy perspective. I have always hated sex appeal and never ever wanted people to be able to say I am sexy. It embarrasses me just thinking about it. I tried to empress boys by kicking their ass in sports! Lol. I rarely cared about how I looked but I must say as i am getting older and my “cuteness” is diminishing, I sometimes think maybe I should try harder but I don’t :). I have already apologize a million times to my husband for being anti sexy, hate being pretty and always just wanting to kick ass but for some reason he loves it and I kind of believe him sometimes. He is at least really good at pretending he loves me just they way I am. Here’s to kicking your ass! :) ….ps. I am actually way more girly than I used to be believe it or not. Marriage has helped my feminine side a little:) I can’t believe someone married me!! Poor Tim

    • Thanks for a look into the other side! I happen to know you both dominate in sports, and that Tim truly loves you for who you are. I’ve seen both with my own eyes! Most of all, it’s nice to hear a real life story of two people who love each other for who they are and hear how that love has changed you in some ways. It’s strange how being ourselves and growing/changing are both important in relationships. Thanks, Jenni! PS your blue shadow looked great this year;) …In a kick ass kind of way.

  13. jenni says:

    Was just talking about this blog with a couple of girl friends and a couple good points where brought up and helped me clarify my thoughts. Everyone is going to see sexy totally differently. For me it the homeless/hippy looking guy that has his natural smell and just wants to play outside. Nothing can be more sexy to me hence why I ended up with Tim:). The grungier he looks the more I melt. For my guy friend it was seeing his future wife in a bar who was missing her front tooth but didn’t give a rip and was laughing with her friends having a great time anyway. It was love at first sight for him. He had to meet her and he fell in love with her laugh. If we can just be ourselves someone is going to find that sexy. My sister got a boyfriend in high school while wearing dorky sweatpants and a baggy sweatshirt but all he noticed was her eyes. Some guys will think slutty outfit are totally unattractive and they prefer the girl in the silly or “unsexy” outfit. We need to be ourselves and not worry about what other people are doing or thinking! Be what you want to be. If that is slutty then great, it will be easy for you to get laid:) If it is to be beautiful and dolled up then great; someone will love that! I have just always wanted someone to fall in love with me when I wasn’t “done up”. I definitely found that guy. He doesn’t care that I am usually sweaty and smell bad. He knew exactly what he signed up for when he asked for my hand in marriage. So think we should just be yourself and not compare to others. If only we could stop noticing the outside so much and try to see the inside then life would be so much different… Thanks the the thoughts cindy.

    • Thanks, Jenni! I’m glad to hear the blog sparked some conversation with your friends. That makes me really happy! I think you and your friends are right- everyone finds different things attractive. Glad you found someone who prefers you sweaty and smelly! hahah That had me laughing:)

  14. […] been thinking a lot about the topic since my Halloween Post.  Where does it come from? Why do women feel the pressure to be pretty? How come sometimes I like […]

  15. John Davis says:

    Thomas Jefferson remarked that even his slave women, working in the fields, tried to be sexy. All women are whores for resources; all men are sluts for sex. It’s the way it is, and nothing we write here will change that fact of life.

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