Nov 1st, 2015, 04:02 PM

It's Hard to Be a Girl on Halloween

By Rachael Fong-Gurzinsky
Why Girls Can't Dress Like Beer Pong on Halloween.

For someone like me who appreciates a good creative challenge, a test of pop culture relevancy, and a pun every once in a while, Halloween is the holiday of all holidays.

There are few triumphs more rewarding than perfectly executing a group costume after hours of brainstorming and scouring the Internet for reference sources. But there is something about my beloved October 31st that vexes me every year. It’s harder to be a girl than a guy on Halloween.

Costumes designed to reinforce slutty female stereotypes are not a new trend. The slough of “sexy” character costume idea lists that pop up on Facebook in early October are really just laughable at this point. What bothers me isn’t really the fact that these degrading costumes continue to fly off the shelves in 2015, but rather that, as a girl, I have only two options to avoid Halloween failure: go big and hit a creative grand slam, or pull out the fish nets and dress like a slut on the one day of the year that walking around in lingerie is deemed socially okay.  

(Photo: Buzzfeed)

Guys on the other hand have it easy. They have the unfair advantage of being able to pull off a “dumb” costume. They can show up to any Halloween function dressed as beer pong, or a banana, or a giant foot (“big foot”), or conceivably anything. Not an ounce of thought, let alone creativity, is necessary to come up with their costumes, yet when they walk into a room everyone loves it and they get tagged in 200+ photos on Facebook. 

For a girl to receive the same kind of positive reaction, there needs to be a plan. Which pop diva royally f’d up recently so I can dress like her? What group costume can my three best friends and I execute for maximum praise? How can I dress like a character from the blockbuster hit this past summer without falling down the slutty costume path and still look good for pictures?

The creative power behind these costumes is an art form. And yet guys are allowed to skip this part altogether and still make everybody laugh. Fair or not, guys are just generally considered funnier than girls. There are of course brilliant female comedians. Tina Fey is one of my favorite actors and writers. But what makes comedians like her and Ellen and Kristen Wiig so popular is typically their ability to act and joke like men.

Guys also are conditioned to being the “approachers,” not the “approached.” They make the first moves, typically taking the role of the confident, personable one, who is able to make up for what they lack in other areas (ie. physical attractiveness) with the ability to make a girl laugh. They’re allowed to be goofy and shift focus away from appearance by being loud and silly, making crude jokes -- and dressing in dumb costumes. People find it weird -- but not funny -- for a girl to de-womanize herself by dressing in a stupid costume. Like female comedians, girls on on Halloween are tasked with the challenge of being personable and relatable, but still preserving a female identity.

At the end of the night, girls will need to continue working hard for their Halloween glory. We need to match the male thoughtlessness with female intellect, and take pride in our ability to entertain a witty audience. We can do so much better than beer pong!