Gender Influences on Halloween Costumes


GenderInfluences on Halloween Costumes

GenderInfluences on Halloween Costumes

Part1: A Visit to a Local Costume Store

Genderis a major factor that influences all selections in purchases ofHalloween costumes. Men and women have different ideas of the resultand motives when buying items such as clothing. It is no differentwith Halloween costumes. Women’s costumes are completely differentfrom men’s clothes. After visiting a local Halloween store, Idiscovered that there were a variety of costumes designed torepresent various themes including history, gothic, horror,supernatural, and renowned actors and leaders among others. However,even in these topics, the issue of gender differences was highlyprevalent. In most cases, women’s costumes were provocative, andthey had some sex appeal designed to make the wearer look hot andseductive. On the other hand, men’s clothes reflected on strengthand power and did not expose their bodies, which makes the males lookless vulnerable, unlike the women. In the store, there were costumesthat under normal circumstances are worn by women, but some Halloweenthemes intend them for men. They expose some parts of the body, andthey were somewhat provocative. I gathered that such attires bringout humor and there was no sense of moral disparity.

Similarly,there were outfits for women that are meant for men under ordinaryconditions. Such clothes make the females look more masculine andpowerful, for example, a superman’s costume will make a woman lookdangerous and overprotective while a Cinderella dress will make a manseem like a clown with all the beards and masculine limbs. I observedthat many women preferred the sexy costumes since it is the norm forthem to be seductive even under a Halloween costume. They chosedresses that were exposing and that allowed them to move and poseseductively. The colors of the outfits also affect gender choices.Most females selected pink and other bright colors that highlightedtheir femininity while men opted for dark colors or the universalblack and white as opposed to the bright colors that the femaleschose (Spain, 2012). The motivation towards these choices wasgender-specific tendencies that exist and are different acrossfactions. Although people are unique and some may not stick to thesegender-specific trends, most people fall into the category that makestheir purchase decisions according to their gender.


Costumesand Gender in a Halloween Event: Party.

Inthe party I attended with peers, most males had masculine outfitswhile all women had feminine dresses. Most if not all of them tookthis as an opportunity to exhibit the societal gender differences.Male costumes were somehow big and covered the whole body whilefemales had costumes that were hugging their bodies tight andexposing their bodies a bit. Some had the same outfit, for example, aguy was wearing a bear costume that was covering all his body exceptthe hands and face. The dress resembled a child’s apron. Similarly,there was also a girl with the same bear costume that had a head withears and did not cover her hair completely, and it was a differentpiece from the rest of the outfit. Going down, she had short sleevesonly covering her lower arms and a short fluffy dress just above theknees. On the feet, she had bear leg warmers that were below theknees. It was the same bear costume for both of them, but the latterwas clearly customized to play the female gender role (Spain, 2012).There was one sexualized attire of Scooby Doo. It was completelydifferent from the “normal” Scooby Doo that one wears and it wasas if you enter into the costume, and you are entirely covered butthis was cut in several places including the abdomen, and there wasnothing below the thighs. This was sexualized and was also sexuallyintimidating. Some costumes were against gender stereotypes sincethey were provocative clothes and were showing excess skin. Most ofthe dresses for females were sexually focused, so all of them had nochoice but to wear erogenous costumes. One female had on a revealingnun outfit that showed a nun who was exposing her body and if therewas a Catholic, am sure she would have been uncomfortable.

Apartfrom this, some costumes were too revealing and made peopleuncomfortable, but they were generally accepted since that is thenorm and that is what is expected of girls’ clothes. Some trendspresent in the party were having matching costumes for couplesalthough they were clearly distinguished as was the case with thebear suit. Almost everyone in the party had a different inspirationbehind their costumes (Spain, 2012). They included what famouscelebrities had worn in previous Halloween parties and what they hadposted on social media as their choice for the occasion. Others wereinspired by their childhood or current heroes from movies andhistory, for example, the ghost buster and the Superman costume. Somewere tired of the standard and typical zombie and witch costumes anddecided to be original and wear unrecognizable costumes that havenever been worn before. Some had strict family rules on Halloweencostumes, and they had to choose costumes that did not offend theirguardians while some had a uniform family attire and had to stickwith it throughout the party. It was clear that gender plays a rolein Halloween costume choice and also outfit design whether home-madeor from a store. Most decisions were influenced by gender stereotypeswhile in some cases people did not care.


Spain,M. J. (2012). Boyor Girl – Man or Woman Real Life Gender Experiences: Book 1. Boy orGirl at Mayfair Road.Cork: BookBaby.