Halloween is only one week away, but the Iowa City parties have already started. Still deciding on a costume? Ditch the generic and/or offensive costumes: Here are five ideas to impress your friends without oppressing them.
This costume requires a little bit of research and/or a predisposition toward social justice. As Adrienne Keene of Native Appropriations says, “Native peoples are a contemporary, LIVING group of people, not a costume. Seriously. Stop putting us in the same category as wizards and clowns.” While Keene is specifically addressing people who treat her particular culture like a costume, her words can be expanded to include all those gypsy, geisha, African princess, pimp, redneck and Mexican “costumes” that seem to be so popular year after year. If you see something racist/sexist/classist/ableist/etc., say something.
Sexy Ancestral Altar
Samhain, Día de los Muertos, Hop-tu-Naa, Allantide, Nos Galan Gaeaf and All Hallow’s Eve — cultures all over the world believe that the border between this terrestrial plane and the realm of the unseen is extra-super thin. Why not kick it old school by celebrating your progenitors? Pro-tip: Use LED candles instead of ones that might burn your house down.
Sexy Tea Bag
A “friend,” as she wishes to be called, gave this idea to me, because she did it once. Instructions: “So, I took one of those big laundry bag-type things and I cut holes in it for my legs. Then I stuffed leaves into the thing and, it’s funny, everywhere I walked, leaves would fall out of my leg-holes. And I got to keep putting them back in. Also, I had a little string at the top.”
Sexy Midnight Snaxxx
Perfect for the singleton, couple, polyamorous triad or collective of hetero-lifemates in your social circle — dressing up as sexy midnight snaxxx gives the wearers a lot of wiggle room. Your most appetizing option: sexxxy George’s cheeseburger (with everything add garlic salt, please).
Sexy Shonda Rhimes
This costume is actually really fucking easy: Dress up as a pile of money. When people ask you who you are, give them two hints: 1) “I make television,” and 2) “I’m pretty much the only person who hires ethnically diverse casts without tokenizing them.” Then give them one guess. Force all people who fail to guess correctly to watch the first two seasons of Scandal.
But Wait! None of This Shit Seems Sexy?
Well, fucking duh, brah. None of it seems sexy because sexiness is a state of mind, and not necessarily a manner of dressing. So, if you’re feeling sexy, you could werk a sackcloth and ashes like you’re Mordechai and still get it. If you’re not in the mood, a latex sailor costume can read like a “Do Not Disturb” sign. The bottom line is that showing one’s skin or figure is not an open invitation to be objectified. Respect other people’s boundaries and DON’T BE A CREEPER.
Bonus: Sexy Mortician
If you’re not already a huge fan of Caitlin Doughty’s “Ask a Mortician” YouTube series, her recently released memoir Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory will turn you into a squealing stan. Needed: a Bettie Page wig, an intimate knowledge of medieval history and a serious dedication to dismantling the funeral industrial complex.