According to a recent poll conducted on behalf of Axe grooming products, 55 percent of women believe Halloween is an excuse to act or dress naughty, and 39 percent have worn a naughty costume for Halloween. Which leads us to wonder where the rest of the respondents spend the holiday—given the amount of flesh typically on display each October 31 in this city, we can only assume they’re Halloween Grinches who stay home in sweats. Or else they’re huddled in a corner in their “clever” costumes and everyone is too busy ogling the sexy nurses and police officers to notice them.
Halloween is one of only two sex-related topics that we disagree about vehemently (the other is baby talk in the bedroom, but that’s another column). Em thinks sexy costumes are only slightly less annoying than those Axe Bodyspray commercials and are for women who are too chickenshit to dress provocatively the rest of the year. Lo, on the other hand, sees nothing wrong with a holiday that sanctions a little light role-playing for everyone and gives straight men an excuse to wear eyeliner and tight pants. Meaning, sexy costumes can serve as an on-ramp to after-party kinkiness in the bedroom, without the need for any of those awkward “Who’s going to be the top tonight?” conversations.
Just about everyone we polled was firmly in Lo’s camp, including all the men, both gay and straight, all the lesbians, and most of the straight women too. Only a handful shared Em’s peevishness. “I find dressing slutty on Halloween such a cliché,” says Sandy, a 34-year-old NYU professor. Kay, a 39-year-old graphic designer, says she wants to accost women at Halloween to tell them, “You are not a naughty mouse. Your costume is a slut, just say it.” She doesn’t hold men to the same exacting standard: “I love it when dudes dress as Braveheart, especially if they’re big, beefy dudes. Bring it. Any excuse to see a dude half-naked works.”
Most partygoers treat the entire city as one big fetish club. “My girlfriend and I like to use things like a collar and leash in private, but on Halloween we feel comfortable showing ourselves off because it’s not as stigmatized,” says Kiki, a 30-year-old life-fitness coach. Says Kevin, a 30-year-old gay man, “I dressed as Cupid one year just so I could wear briefs and a big diaper. And I was hot.” His advice to men looking to get laid this Halloween? “Dress as a sailor, with those tight bell-bottoms.”
“Women should wear anything with a short skirt and nylons!” says our friend Chris, a 35-year-old film director. “Nurse, witch, angel, janitor—it’s all the same costume, just different colors.” In other words, Halloween isn’t just a license to be sexy—it’s a license to be sexy in a way that the flyover states would understand, for a change: stripper chic rather than faded vintage slogan tees, pirates and wenches rather than underfed emosexuals.
In some quarters, dry wit and insider hipster references are still sexier than a latex-clad French maid. Okay, maybe that’s pushing things. But if you can combine the two? Editorial assistant Lex plans on dressing as a Werewolf Woman of the S.S. (cf. the Rob Zombie trailer from Grindhouse). “Some people are really drawn to women wearing very little clothing and covered in blood, you know?” she says. Which might explain the number of women who told us that their costume for this Halloween will be “Amy Winehouse after the junkie fight.” How can that not lead to hair-pulling, back-scratching, hot, kinky sex?