What are your fondest Halloween dress up memories? Mine are made up of many, many black bin bags, witch hats that didn’t fit my oversized head – it was my head that was too big and not the hat that was too small – and wonky eyeliner the year mam dutifully dressed my sister and I up as a cat and mouse team (it’s as uncool as it sounds). I don’t remember exactly when the Cult of the Sexy Witch descended and suitably saw everything I love about traditional Halloween costumes get transformed into outfits described as “alluring,” “sexy,” or – only half-jokingly – “slutty.” But I do know it’s not made the subsequent choosing of my All Hallow’s Eve costume that joyful.
I don’t want to go out wearing what is now Red Riding Hood’s shrunken dress with its barely-there cape. Capes are supposed to elegantly flow in the wind anyhow, not barely cover your backside. Nor do I want to parade around in Morticia Adams’ more ‘modern’ goth mini-skirt – she was my Long Black Dress idol for years; I point-blank refuse to go into modernity and give that up.
No matter the fancy dress occasion I attend, the sexy theme always makes me laugh; each to their own of course, but at the risk of sounding extremely old, corsets, suspenders and bustiers are not costumes. They are masqueraded as costumes, but they are underwear – often worn as outerwear – but underwear nevertheless. And that rather depresses me. The lack of variety, of diversity – there’s a distinct lack of plan B’s if you’d rather not go down the sultry route – the fact that the ‘normal’ costumes are seen as anything but and the fact that you fork out more than your sexy witch sister to look like her old-fashioned cousin – it’s all quite telling.
It depresses me in the same way a company thought it fitting to release a sultry variation of an outfit from the Handmaid’s Tale and call it a Halloween costume – when it was hugely offensive – just as it makes me feel equally grim that the same company have now released a ‘sexy’ version of Meghan Markle’s wedding dress. A new costume intended to sexually objectify women that’s totally unnecessary.
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Featuring a skin-tight white mini dress, a veil and a tiara – and photographed with a Deal or No Deal briefcase as a prop (Meghan was famously once on the show) – the ‘American Princess’ screams ‘Meghan’ despite having nothing to do with her whatsoever. It looks cheap, it objectifies her and it was definitely done without her consent.
“You’re living an actual fairy tale!” the costume’s description shouts. “Get ready to walk down the royal aisle in this exclusive American Princess costume featuring a white mini dress with an off-the-shoulder neckline, 3/4 length sleeves, a smooth bodice, a tulle veil with a large bow accent, a satin bow detail, and a bejewelled tiara.”
Everything she has accomplished in her life so far, reduced by a website keen to make as much money demeaning her (and other women) however they can.
Because if you can’t be Meghan Markle, opt for a ‘sexy’ version of the royal princess instead.
Halloween? I’ve always preferred Christmas.