For those of us who grew up watching “Mean Girls,” the Halloween season brings the expectation of skimpy Halloween costumes. As Lindsey Lohan’s character says, “Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut, and no other girls can say anything about it.” In many movies and television shows, women’s Halloween costumes contain little more than lingerie with bunny ears.
Historically, costumes were worn because people believed that on the night of Halloween ghosts came back to haunt the earthly world. People would wear masks in order to scare away these ghosts.
So, why did costumes progress from getting rid of ghosts to getting rid of clothing? As with many holidays, the original intentions and traditions often get lost in the secularization. Since Halloween has become prominent in secular society, costumes are used more for enticing members of the opposite sex than for frightening ghosts.
Say what you will, but I respect a woman’s right to wear skanky costumes. If she is brave enough to rock a corset and a mini-skirt in the harsh South Dakota cold, then more power to her. A person would have to be truly dedicated to that revealing nurse costume to wear it through the prevailing wind and cold typical to late October in the midwest.
Many holidays are trending toward the secular over the superstitious or religious. Society puts more emphasis on Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny than on the underlying Christian traditions, but I view secular holidays as separate from the religious traditions.
As long as society continues to respect those who do choose to celebrate for religious reasons, I have no problem supporting the secular as well. I can go to Mass on Christmas and scare off ghosts on Halloween just as freely as a person can celebrate Santa and don their lingerie with mouse ears.
For those of you who will be celebrating by scaring off ghosts, I’d like to say, “Happy Halloween.” And for those who will be breaking out the leopard-print brassieres, you keep on ho-ing, you hoes.