How I learned to stop judging slutty Halloween costumes

Every year, I showed up to the annual elementary school Halloween function in some extravagant, homemade costume that was EXTRA AF. Every time Halloween came around, my mom took it upon herself to sew me my very own custom costume, and I always suffered the next day with a brutal roasting.

I was overly conscious of the various items of my costume falling off, kind of like leaving traces of me everywhere. Whether it was feathers on the floor or glitter on my desk, I felt incredibly observant of the space I took up in these outrageous costumes.

It’s not that I was dressing up like different characters then the rest of the girls in the class. My mother would just make me up some over the top version of whatever costumes were on the shelves of the giant Halloween stores taking up vacant lots in strip malls.

My bullying led to some internalized misogyny, and I began to feel such a strong hatred for the way “basic girl” Halloween costume. I would instantly judge any girl who decided to buy the latest Disney princess outfit from Party City. I thought these costumes were tacky and cheap. Everyone wore them. There was no originality.

I noticed the soft femininity of the store-bought Halloween costume. It didn’t say much about the girl wearing it. A girl never took up too much space in a polyester princess dress. Boys would show up in these ridiculous scary costumes that lit up and oozed with blood and barged up to the front door demanding candy. Girls were expected to stand behind them, politely asking “Trick or Treat?” in a soft, charming voice.

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And this same pattern continued every October of my youth, until high school rolled around. The same mom who made me these crazy costumes didn’t let me go out and party at 15 so I started to resent everything about the party scene during Halloween at my high school. That’s when these princess costumes became shorter and shorter. Freshman year, I gawked at all of these girls who posted photos of themselves with their half clothed bodies holding a FourLoko on Instagram.

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The next year, my mom declared that I was finally old enough to go to parties. She got too busy to make me something this year, so I was bewildered, left to my own devices to figure out a costume. Do I go for it? Do I wear a slutty costume?


I was already experiencing a lot of sexism at school for the way my chest blossomed over the summer. I could wear the same Forever 21 tank top like all the other girls but somehow, when I wore it, I was a slut. I was showing off my body too much, just because I had natural cleavage.

And I started to look back on all the years where I wasn’t that version of the soft feminine in a princess dress. Why should I care about what others think of me? After some hunting at the mall and Goodwill, I came up with my very own creation: The Slutterfly.

I remember being truly shook at how good I looked on my iPhone front camera. I was wearing nothing but some butterfly wings, a faux rhinestone encrusted bra, and a tutu. No one at that time wore just a bra to a public function. As I caught my crush’s attention at the party and sipped on some Mike’s hard lemonade, I wasn’t hiding behind my mother’s values or conforming to the status quo.

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I wore something out in public, that was socially sexual, not to get that crush’s attention but because I wanted to finally feel confident in a Halloween costume. And yes, I was slut shamed like hell but I was also praised. I was praised because people could tell that I was finally discovering myself, and feeling confident in my own skin.

Unlike what Regina George says, Halloween isn’t the only socially acceptable day to dress like a slut. Dress like a slut whatever damn day you feel like. Weather permitting, of course. And that’s how I learned to stop judging slutty Halloween costumes.

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