Forget the tombstones on your neighbor’s lawn and the severed hand poking out of the candy bowl. The most frightening thing you’ll encounter this Halloween is a middle-schooler dressed like Prudence the Naughty Pilgrim.
Any gal who’s shopped for Halloween costumes during the last few years knows the get-ups are getting shorter. And tighter. And … um … weirder.
Slutty nun. Slutty Sherlock Holmes. Slutty Starbucks barista.
A great lover of costumes, I once hailed October 31 as a chance to inhabit other eras and vocations — as a princess or queen, cowgirl or Indian, flapper or hippy or rock star. But thanks to current costume makers, All Hallow’s Eve has mutated into something very different. Something spookier, really.
A hussy’s holiday. A festival of fanny flaunting.
A recent sashay through downtown’s World of Magic led me to an entire wall of itty-bitty costumes by lingerie-company-turned-costume-maker Leg Avenue. “We call it Whore Avenue,” one salesgirl joked.
Gone is the once-popular sock-hop girl with shin-length poodle skirt. In her place marches the Slutty Soldier with camo mini, vinyl boots, and choker. Dead are the stately Spanish señorita and the Statue of Liberty; instead, long live the Slutty Viking, tiny-toga-sporting “Caesar’s Girl” and a scantily clad Marie Antoinette — that notorious tart — in thigh-high stockings.
Guess what comes up first when you click on “Classic Women’s Costumes” at BuyCostumes.com? A witch? Snow White? No. It’s the Mile High Captain, a floozy airline pilot in a see-through sheath that you order by cup size.
Some costumes are classically sexy. I get that. French maid, nurse, cheerleader. Even Girl Scout, if you like that sort of thing. And I think it’s fantastic if couples want to outfit themselves imaginatively for the boudoir: The Slutty Construction Worker dismounts from her front-end loader and titillating hi-jinx ensue. Hey, live it up. A gal’s got to have some fun.
But when did Halloween become less about disguising your persona, and more about displaying your pumpkins? This is especially problematic for those of us with kids. Nostalgic for a Raggedy Ann costume I wore as a kid, I caved and bought a Slutty Rag Doll outfit this year — and am trying to figure out how not to bend over while leading my little goblins through Boo at the Zoo.
If you don’t want to show off your tricks or your treats, you have two basic choices in today’s costume market: Inanimate objects (spoon, bacon, Whoopee Cushion) or Stretchy the Clown, which comes in one un-sexy size: flipping ginormous.
God love the hard-bodied twentysomethings who, for a fleeting moment, have rock-solid thighs and want to parade around in as little as possible. Do it while you can, girls! But the costumes are being made for juniors, too — starting at size 0 — and that’s creepy. Would you want your tween tramped out as a “Jailbird,” “Fallen Angel,” or “Corset Maid,” a mini-dress with a “wet leather look” and “fingerless vinyl glovettes”?
Just beneath the lacy, feathered brocade of America’s favorite dress-up day lays a commentary about our nation’s fantasies. And I do think they’re getting ickier.
Not surprisingly, there’s tons of gun-toting garb: Slutty Corrections Officer, Slutty Border Patrol (“Ooh, deport me, baby …”) and Slutty FBI Agent with no pants whatsoever. There’s Slutty Robin Hood (huh?) and Slutty Scarecrow (what the …?) and even Slutty Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street. (“Okay,” said my husband, who found most of the others charming. “That’s just messed up.”)
But wait. It gets weirder.
“They have slut dog costumes now,” swears Sonia Hayward, owner of Victorian Vogue and The Costume Shoppe. “There’s a naughty schoolgirl one. And wait ’til you see the Slutty Alice in Wonderland …”