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Embrace tradition of sexy costumes

Credit: Adelaide Cole/Art Editor Credit: Adelaide Cole/Art Editor
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I sauntered out of my dorm room on the Saturday night before Halloween in a sexy biker chick outfit: a bra and a mini skirt.

Grabbing my jean jacket for warmth, I tried to remember the last time I was this naked on Halloween — I was four, and my Princess Jasmine costume revealed my belly button. As I staggered down Forbes’ sidewalks in three-inch heels and passed a shivering crew of half-naked Ke$has, grown up Little Bo Peeps, and sexy schoolgirls, it became official: Snow on Halloween truly separates the daring girls from the phonies.

Of course, I am definitely putting my risqué getup on the list of things not to tell my mother, but if she does find out, my excuse is that I was only following tradition.

While it appears to be a millennial fad, sexy costumes have been prominent since the 1700s. If a modern girl showed up at a fraternity Halloween party wearing trousers, you and I might gawk at her dearth of sexiness. But 300 years ago, people would have stared at her for daring to dress so provocatively. The founding mothers of sexy costumes date back to the 18th and 19th centuries — a time when it was scandalous for a woman to show her ankles, let alone her midriff, and such attire was used as an escapist mechanism.

If only the Victorian feminists could see us now. For costume parties and masquerade balls, women donned milkmaid outfits instead of French maid outfits and not-so-short skirts instead of booty shorts. They revealed slivers of skin as they flaunted their calves instead of their thighs, and dressed up as sailors — the real kind, not lingerie with a sailor hat. I think it’s funny, in an ironic sort of way, that the 1700s’ version of sexy is the 2000s’ version of prude.

Maybe it is easier to relate to the 20th century, when sexiness became prominent within everyday clothing, and then culminated in the 1970s with cult classics like the Rocky Horror Picture Show. During those Halloweens, corsets, fishnets, and garters flooded into the streets and replaced witch hats, princess tiaras, and vampire fangs. Those who were too old to trick-or-treat had no problem taking Oct. 31 to an R-rated place, and generations since have followed in their footsteps.

Elle Woods showed up at a party as a Playboy bunny in 2001’s Legally Blonde. Three years later, Mean Girls’ Karen Smith declared that her lingerie was supposed to be, “A mouse — duh.” While millennial teenagers are not, in fact, the queens of sleaze when it comes to costumes, we are the sleaziest.

Yes, channeling your wild side on Halloween is trashy, inappropriate, and you always run the risk of catching a cold. Yet it is one night of the year, and, for the most part, it is just dressing up. Besides, you can always justify wearing a revealing Halloween costume by saying you are just following the traditions of history. So don’t be afraid to be creative next Halloween: Be a sexy toilet plunger, a sexy trash collector, a sexy Dumbledore, a sexy Voldemort, or a sexy hobo.