Newsweek had an article today wondering if girl’s Halloween costumes might be too risque. I wasn’t surprised (I remember being shocked when I saw young girls dressed up as Spice Girls in 1998) so I decided to look around the Internet to find other questionable costumes. Not surprisingly, Halloween costumes are markers of not only gender and heterosexuality, but of race and class as well.
Let’s take children’s “occupational” costumes, for example. Here are some for girls: The French maid, nurse, and cheerleader costumes were the most prevalent.
And what about occupations for boys?
And look at how race is marked with some of the children’s costume models (2 cats, and a dancer):
And note how the intersections of race, militarization, sexuality and gender are also displayed in this costume. The first is a children’s costume, and the second is for teenagers. Both costumes are called “Major Flirt.”
And now let’s move on to teenage costumes. Here are some particularly popular ones for teen girls– sexy devils and sexy angels.
And some teen girl “occupation” costumes (prisoner, referee, navy):
And of course there are teen bunnies– “Hunny Bunny Teen” and “Classic Playboy Bunny”:
And what do teen boys get to dress up as? Scary clowns, murdering maniacs, and pimps.
The costumes for couples are also pretty telling– marked by heteronormative stereotypes. The first is a “Pimp and Kristy” costume, the second is a cop costume, and finally a costume of a brick layer and a woman dressed as a home, where the woman is literally displayed as the object, as the object of a man’s action.