Op-Ed: Take Back Halloween Revolutionizes Women’s Costumes

Zaire D. Armstrong October 29, 2013 1
Op-Ed: Take Back Halloween Revolutionizes Women’s Costumes
Take Back Halloween held a costume contest with multiple categories. Women can submit their most creative costumes for the chance to win a "$25 Amazon gift certificate," the website said. Source: Take Back Halloween

On Oct. 10, Google released a list of the top trending Halloween costume searches of 2013. The list is composed of TV and movie characters, musicians and video game avatars. To most, not a single costume included on this list represents an important or influential historic public figure.

Yet Americans continue to buy into this tradition and spend millions of dollars a year on their costumes.

Having a limited selection of costume options is a problem many face; however, the annual epidemic is specifically a problem for women. Some women are choosing to opt out of sexy costume styles and instead are aiming for more meaningful and empowering costume designs.

Suzanne Scoggins, a feminist writer specializing in women’s history, created a website called Take Back Halloween. The site focuses on providing unique costume designs that represent outspoken and influential women in history, entertainment, and mythology.

Take Back Halloween envisions Halloween as a time to not only trick ‘o treat and decorate, but embody your personal hero or ideal self. By portraying a unique individual, such as “being a queen for a day” or “honoring your personal holiday,” Take Back Halloween hopes to inspire women to choose more unique and meaningful costumes.

One Idea For Amelia Earhart 's signature goggles. Source: http://takebackhalloween.org/amelia-earhart/

Bloggers for Take Back Halloween present a non-sexualized option for those wishing to dress as Amelia Earhart. Source: Take Back Halloween

Scoggins disapproves of the stereotype that women are “only supposed to dress up as one thing: Sexy___(fill in the blank).” She “want[s] there to be other options.”

Some parents stand strong—similarly to Scoggins’ stance— against these traditional Halloween costumes. One inspiring story is that of Texan photographer Jaime Moore; a mother of two who dressed and photographed her daughter Emma as historical female figures. She titled her work “Not Just A Girl.”

Through this collection, Moore aimed  to expose her daughter to the importance of influential women in history, and eliminate the frilly Disney Princess costume ideas that other five-year-old girls are attracted to. She hopes that instilling dreams of a meaningful future in Emma will help her appreciate and aspire to be an “amazing woman.”

“[We] had gone against everything so [Emma] could have everything… My daughter wasn’t born into royalty,” Moore says. “She was born into a country where she can now vote, become a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, or even President… And that’s what really matters.”

At Archer, we honor women in history who’ve made significant progressions and changes to our world. We recognize that these changes are why we enjoy certain luxuries and freedoms, and we do not take their efforts for granted. So next time you find yourself  in need of a costume, consider a women who has impacted your world as your inspiration.

One Comment »

  1. Kristin Taylor November 3, 2013 at 6:20 PM -

    I just watched the most AMAZING spoken word poem from four young women about this very thing. I won’t link directly here because the poem includes a couple of explicit swears, but the poem as a whole is powerful, empowering, and all about having other options for women on Halloween. Google “Monster Poem Brave New Voices” if you’d like to watch it. The audience is practically on their feet by the end!