When I was a kid, I loved Halloween. There was nothing better than getting dressed up and going trick or treating with all of the kids in my neighborhood. Even after I got too old for trick or treating, I still loved spending hours creating my own costumes and going to Halloween parties with friends. My perception of Halloween completely changed once I got to college. Now, Halloween is more than candy and costumes; it is avoiding catcalling and rampant sexual harassment.
My freshman year I was so excited to pay homage to my favorite pop star of all time for Halloween; the one and only, Britney Spears. I had gone to every thrift store I could think of trying to find the perfect outfit to recreate Britney’s iconic Hit Me Baby One More Time music video look. I managed to find everything from the mini skirt to the iconic tied up white shirt and gray cardigan. All I had to do was braid my hair and add some pink ribbon. I finally perfected my costume and I could not wait to go out with my friends and get some pictures in my Britney-inspired look.
However, my excitement did not last long. The night started out great. I was so excited to show off my costume, which all of my friends LOVED. We had a few drinks and decided to go out. The party we went to was great and almost every girl I met that night complimented my costume. Unfortunately, the walk home that night would change my perception of Halloween forever.
After the party, a group of friends and I decided we would walk home from the party to avoid having to pay for an Uber. We were walking down Main Street right across from the quad when a car zoomed past us with the windows down laughing and yelling at us. I did not think much about it at first. Then, I noticed that the same car had turned around and was following us. The passengers proceeded to roll down their windows and yell things like “Damn, those are some sexy costumes.” We did everything in our power to avoid them. We walked with our heads down, not saying a word. Then the driver proceeded to pull over and two of the men got out of the car. I had never been so scared in my life. They came closer tous and continued with their annoying, sexist remarks. Naturally we started to RUN. While we were running, the boys chased us yelling “You shouldn’t have dressed up like that if you didn’t want it!”
I could not believe what came out of their mouths. I shouldn’t dress up? For HALLOWEEN?! Should I really have to pick a Halloween costume based on how it makes YOU feel? Fuck that. My costume is NOT consent.
Whether it is Halloween or not, what someone is wearing does not give you permission to catcall them or make sexual advances. PERIOD. Halloween has become something I dread rather than look forward to all because of some unnecessary misogyny and objectification. So, this Halloween whether someone is dressed as a sexy nurse or a hotdog, remember that their costume is NOT consent.