Courtesy of Pexels

With Halloweekend in the rearview, the costumes return to their place in that corner of the closet, in the back of that random drawer or in the trash because it was not made for dancing. There is some debate about whether “sl*tty” costumes represent a freeing of social expectations for women or unrealistic beauty standards. While everyone should wear what they want on Halloween, revealing or not, wearing a costume just isn’t that deep.

Historically, Halloween marked the end of summer and the start of winter, a season firmly associated with death. The Celtic festival, Samhain, believed that on the night of Oct. 31, ghosts could make their way into the realm of the living. It’s fair to say that the holiday is hardly about marking the seasons and making a sacred bonfire as a protective measure against winter. Spending for Halloween 2023 is projected to hit $12.2 billion, beating the record set in only 2022 at over $10 billion. The holiday doesn’t carry any spiritual or religious meaning to the majority of people anymore, and as long as you’re not ritualistically slaughtering animals, it’s no one’s business what you do on Halloween.

Halloween is about collecting candy, wearing a costume and having fun. Having fun shouldn’t be done by following someone else’s definition of fun. A costume should be only about what someone wants to wear, and it shouldn’t be subject to judgment. There is something to be said about heavy sexual expectations of women, and people are right in saying that women shouldn’t be dressing in any way because of a desire to appeal to the male gaze or the gaze of anyone but themself. But people shouldn’t be wearing conservative costumes because of someone else’s expectations, either.

There’s nothing women can do about the constant sexualization that they are exposed to, and capitulating to that pressure isn’t the answer. Women shouldn’t be asked to live in fear because people can’t handle the sight of the female body. There is no good reason to censor a woman’s body.

Women’s Halloween costumes are just that: costumes. They shouldn’t be a medium of further judgment. Women spend every day being judged for what they wear already; it hardly matters if Halloween is another day on that list. The sexualization of women isn’t even about clothes. It’s about a lack of respect for women and women’s bodies. Asking women to cover up won’t mean that they won’t be subject to sexualization, so stop asking.