What 25 Years of Halloween Costumes Have Taught Me About the Importance of Comfort

There are usually two phases in a person's life when it comes to Halloween — the years when you go trick-or-treating and the years that you don't. During my trick-or-treating days (roughly from ages 3 to 12), I had a wonderful time picking out my costumes, which included things like a fortune teller, an ice princess, and a cat lady. But as I got older, Halloween became more about parties and curfews. And when I got to college, I was finally free to do what I wanted, go where I wanted, and wear what I wanted, no longer under the watchful eye of my parents who would do annoying things like remind me to bring a sweater.

When I'm not comfortable in what I'm wearing, the discomfort detracts from my overall experiences. And you know what? I want to have a good time.

For many (myself included), celebrating Halloween in college usually goes something like this: it's 1 a.m., you've had a few too many vodka drinks, you're freezing cold because it's nearly Winter, and somehow the Halloween costume you meticulously planned has slightly fallen apart. You walk home, makeup smeared and arms fiercely crossed over your chest to create a sensation of warmth, thinking excitedly about how you can't wait to get home and put on your favorite pair of stretchy pants. Or maybe that's just me? Regardless of whether or not you've experienced that exact amalgamation of events, I think we can agree that sometimes, especially as you get older, Halloween costumes can be a bit uncomfortable. And a lot of the time it's because we want them to be.

As Cady Heron famously said in Mean Girls: "In the regular word, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In girl world, 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." Let's sit on that statement for a moment: what does dressing like a "slut" even mean? If a woman wants to dress sexy, there should be absolutely no shame in that, and it certainly shouldn't be associated with being called a "slut." But as absurd as that statement may be, it does drive home the fact that most Halloween costumes marketed to women in stores and online have a sexy angle. From a sexy nun to a sexy nurse to a sexy Bob Ross (not joking), you can make pretty much anything "sexy" if you make it short and low-cut.

In my case, there was always a caveat to my ability to achieve said sexiness — I was not thin, and I constantly felt like I was being told that I shouldn't wear that kind of stuff. I was caught in the middle, trying to do my best to feel sexy while also appropriately covering my body in order to make it palatable to my peers and the world at large.

But as the years have gone on, I've come to realize that I actually can wear whatever the hell I want, including a sexy nurse or cat outfit if I so desire. I've also realized that I'm just the type of person who values comfort and functionality so much more than appearance when it comes to Halloween costumes. When I'm not comfortable in what I'm wearing, the discomfort detracts from my overall experiences. And you know what? I want to have a good time.

When it comes to sexy versus comfortable, no one choice is better than the other. In fact, I think it's a myth that dressing comfortably and dressing sexy are mutually exclusive. For a lot of people, more revealing costumes are more comfortable, and that's awesome. It's all about dressing how you want to dress and not worrying about what anyone else thinks. Because when you're comfortable, you're more likely to feel confident, and confidence is sexy! And I'd feel pretty f*cking confident rocking this Oogie Boogie costume over a sexy nurse one.