It’s that time of year again: the leaves are falling off the trees, you’re pulling out all your old sweaters, and decent stuff is on TV again. It’s fall, which means it’s time for us to delve into a perennial topic about a cultural trend that some people love more than life itself and others think is the height of bougie basic-ness. No, I’m not talking about pumpkin spice lattes. I’m talking about sexy Halloween costumes.
If you have missed my previous installments here and here, it is now something of a tradition for me to explore the realm of the “sexy (whatever the hell you can think of)” costumes and pull out the worst for your entertainment.
(Side note: Can you believe that you all have been reading my babble long enough for something to become a tradition? Crazy.)
This year, I decided to make a few changes to the usual roundup. First, I actually went through the labor of saving the images of the costumes I was talking about, so that you lovely readers wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of clicking, but also so that Yandy would get less traffic and wouldn’t continue on this madman’s scheme. I also decided to make various bets with myself about what costumes would show up, and to actually officially categorize a lot of things. (Note: this post possibly falls into a category of NSFW. No outright pornography or anything like that, but your boss may wonder why you’re looking at so many versions of costumes that seem to mostly consist of crop tops and swimsuits.)
To start things off, I owe myself a dollar, because as I was typing in the address for yandy.com I whispered to myself “I bet you a dollar that there is a sexy Jon Snow.” And voila, I was correct. On the first page.
There’s a sexy Daenerys, too. Don’t think we forgot about her.
The first task I gave myself was to round up racist costumes, which is so easy it’s almost not even something that counts as a task. I found… so many. You can see for yourself. And know that for every costume of a racist stereotype you see here, there’s actually at least five more that are similar back on the site; it just hurt my soul too much to show all of them.
This gem is the “Mortal Samurai” costume. What makes her mortal? Probably the fact that she’s supposed to be a warrior and half the damn areas of her body are not covered by armor.
This is the “Lusty Indian Maiden” costume. In addition to using outdated and incorrect nomenclature in the title, we’ve got the classic Coachella mistake of wearing a headdress (which apparently isn’t even officially included in the costume, so sorry would-be racists, you’ll have to spend more money) whatever the hell is going on with that fringed crop top and miniskirt, and some weird fur stuff that would make Cruella De Vil proud.
Next up, “Queen of Egypt,” throwing around religious symbols like it’s discount day at the British Museum’s “we stole this fair and square” gift shop.
Next we have “Sari Siren.” I shit you not, the text for this costume literally includes the phrase “Indian princess.” And what is up with that headband? Is that supposed to imitate a bindi? And don’t even get me started on the half-assed pattern and lazy attempt at a wrap.
Meet “Seductive Voodoo Dolly” and “Voodoo Magic.” The latter has the benefit of being the only thing involving Voodoo that the site thought necessary to have an actual person of color be associated with. Note how carefully they detailed their seriously racist outfit! As for the voodoo “dolly…” do I really have to go into the million reasons this is incredibly wrong?
Here we have the “Dainty Genie” and the “Exotic Jewel of the East.” Please tell me if you note anything… not quite right… about the models they used for these racist costumes.
I don’t know what it was, but I feel like Dia de los Muertos-inspired costumes exploded last year, and the world is still awash in sugar skull outfits that will most likely be worn by women named Karen Smith. One of her many options in cultural appropriation is the “Dia de los Beauty.” They were too lazy to even look up the word for “beauty” in Spanish.
And don’t forget the classic “Dragon Ninja.” Not even sure what culture it is trying to appropriate, it goes with vaguely Asian-inspired costuming, with a mask that lets you know she’s a ninja, and impractical leg threads that let you know she’s sexy.
There’s also the “Gorgeous G*psy,” put together of only the finest slap-dash ruffles, layers, and racist slurs.
Normally I’m of the “you can’t really be racist against white people” school of thought, but there was an absolutely insane increase in Viking costumes this year that I thought was worth bringing up. I’m trying to decide if it has something to do with the rise of white nationalism, or if Yandy is just getting desperate for ethnic or national categories to exploit. Either way, the result is costumes like the “Modern Day Viking,” who appears to be neither from the modern day, nor a true Viking. [Editor’s Note: HORNS WHY GOD HORNS]
Another category that I bet myself would be popular this year was Wonder Woman knockoffs. Oh, how right I was. How many different versions of Wonder Woman are there? Sixteen. Sixteen different versions. Some of them aren’t half bad, and some of them aren’t even trying. Almost all of them include words like “Babe,” “Hottie,” “Cutie,” “Lady,” or “Gal” in the title.
To be fair to Yandy, some of their costumes aren’t terrible. Even a broken clock can be right twice a day. So before I delve into the true madness of the site, have some costumes that are actually wearable: “Ali Hamilton,” “Beetle Bride,” and “Wonderland Queen.”
In my original research, I had this next category split up into “Weird” and then “Wrong.” Then I realized the dividing line for those categories basically didn’t exist, and I should just mush them all together. So I did.
This is the “Sexy Executioner.” For all those times that you’re being led to your death, and you think “You know I’d be okay with this if only the executioner was scantily clad and had more weapons than necessary.”
This one I actually find kind of clever, as it is labeled “Reality Star in the Making.” Still weird, though.
This is the “Ravishing Rainbow,” and I have so many questions for it. Mainly, “What?” And then, “What, but more?” and finally, “How could this possibly cost $69.99?”
This should be a straightforward “Purple Unicorn” costume, but that does not look like a horn so much as it looks like a dildo, and that “tail” is a total copout. That is two pieces of tulle. I could recreate that effect with five dollars and a trip to Wal-Mart.
This one actually confuses me more because it is not sexy. It is simply labeled “Progressive Flo,” and it appears to have the stamp of approval from Progressive itself since they aren’t having to use any “clever” euphemisms, they get to use the logo, and Flo herself shows up on the page for the costume. It raises so many new questions. Why have this costume? Why not be true to type and make it sexy? Why is Progressive shilling its costume on this site?
These two aren’t so much costumes as they are eldritch nightmares that haunt my sleep. Ostensibly they are meant to represent Sylvester and Tweety, and are respectively named “Playful Pussycat” and “Canary Cutie.” I can’t decide what disturbs me more– the way that the mouth of the cat costume is right over her… pussycat… the way that the bird’s eyes seem to take up 90% of the body and stare directly into my soul, the way the “beak” seems to somehow be both a nose and a beak, or the fact that Yandy isn’t even trying hard enough to successfully pull off copyright infringement.
This is labeled “Model Wife,” and again, I have questions. Is this trying to pull off a Jackie O. look? If so, why is it not in her classic pink? Is this supposed to be a stand-in for all political wives? Is it supposed to imply that the wife is an actual model? If it’s that, why isn’t there just a Sexy Melania costume?
This “Mesmerizing Medusa” costume is actually pretty good, but I included it because there are three Medusa costumes on that site right now, which feels like too many. Someone has been reading a looooot of Kristeva.
Again, it seems that an actual brand has made some sort of devil’s bargain with Yandy, as we have an overly-branded Denny’s waitress costume, complete with thigh slits and a little hat that waitresses haven’t worn in about thirty years. However, I will forgive this costume many sins, because it is called the “Grand Slam Thank You Ma’am” and that makes me laugh despite myself.
It’s not surprising that Yandy would try to capture the cultural zeitgeist with a costume like “Fake News.” What is slightly surprising is that it’s so terribly lacking in creativity.
Another bet I had with myself was that there would be many sexy Pennywise costumes. I was both not disappointed, because I was right, and kinda disappointed, because again, they’re all just pretty bad. Out of “Dancing Sewer Clown,” “Twisted Clown,” and “Pierrot Clown,” only the first one (and most obvious IT reference) comes even close to resembling something from either movie, and even that first one is… blah.
“Cute Paper Doll” hovers right on the edge of interesting concept and deeply disturbing. The idea of a front-only, one dimensional costume is actually kind of cool, and I like the way they include the tabs. But the addition of the bright pink one-piece is odd. I think what I’m most concerned about is the fact that she is holding scissors, implying that she cut herself out of the original paper doll book. Which is just a lot of terrifying autonomy for a paper doll.
This “Wind-Up Monkey” costume confuses me. Was there a market for this? Does anyone actually own a wind-up monkey anymore? Do they exist for any purpose other than to startle people in horror movies when they’re going through old shops and attics? Did anyone look at that terrifying, dead-eyed stare and think to themselves, “I want to fuck that?” How many people will you hit with the wind-up key in the back? Will it be as annoying as fairy wings?
This “Wakko Dress” costume both hurts my childhood and confuses me, so it is doing double duty. It’s called a Wakko dress, but it does not include a hat, one of the core components of Wakko. The person wears ears and has face paint like an Animaniac, but then there is also an Animaniac face on the front of her dress, but it has no mouth. Then all of the Animaniacs are present on the skirt. Is she supposed to be an Animaniac? Is she supposed to be an Animaniac fan? Did she skin an Animaniac?
I was fairly certain there’d be some nods to Stranger Things but I wasn’t quite expecting…. this. This is the “Upside Down Honey.” It hovered at the edge of a good idea and then said, “fuck it, let’s sexualize a character who is supposed to be twelve!” The Eggo purse and the jacket are actually both pretty good, and the purse is especially clever. But the mullet hemline, the thigh-high socks, and the name of “honey” are obvious attempts to add sexuality to the character of eleven, who again, is a tween. Not cool.
While not as egregious, this Lisa costume also crosses the line of propriety, as it’s sexualizing a character who is meant to be eight years old. It’s also just weirding me out that it doesn’t include leggings if it’s going to bother having yellow arms.
“SWAT Hottie” is probably not even all that unusual or risque these days, as some form of “sexy cop” has been a staple of sexy Halloween costumes for ages. But given our current discussions of police brutality and police committing sexual assault, this one just seems to be in poor taste.
“Sexy Sriracha” is basically what it says on the tin… er, the bottle. It is a sexy bottle of sriracha… yep. That is a thing that exists. Yes it is.
Similar to the unusual rise of sexy Vikings, Yandy also had a weird increase in the number of “sexy circus role” costumes. Case in point, the “Sexy Lion Tamer.” Again, who is this for? Circuses are all but dead in this country. This costume doesn’t even have a lion involved in it. It looks like a dominatrix was getting dressed up as a ringmaster and forgot her pants.
Don’t be too terrified by the bizarre mask on the “Sexy Hacker,” because it doesn’t even come with the costume! That’s right, this costume entirely exists of a thigh-length, zip up hoodie. Yep.
This is one of two “Sexy Gumball Machines” I found on the site. I think I’d have more respect for them if they actually put the coin slot where they so clearly, clearly want to put the coin slot.
I know that sexualized Leia costumes are as old as Star Wars itself, but given the outspoken feminism and the complaints that the late, great Carrie Fisher levied against the sexism of her costumes, I can’t help but be really disappointed in this “Far Far Away” costume.
And now, for the pièce de résistance, we have “The Mansion’s Bachelor.” An obvious, though convolutedly titled, nod to the late Hugh Hefner, I can’t decide if this is a sign of sexiness eating itself or a massive troll on Hugh Hefner. Hefner had a complicated but largely fucked up legacy, presenting a sometimes empowering but constantly exploitative version of sexual revolution that mostly meant that women got to be sexier as long as guys liked it. I can’t decide if a sexy version of him is the sign that sexy costumes have finally come full circle, so that even the oppressors who set the concept of enforced sexiness in motion are now fodder for sexualization, or if it is the ultimate way to troll/honor Hefner by making his image synonymous with the one that he objectified. Either way, it creeps me out.
However, Yandy is not the only game in town. Party City, which I also levied some criticism at before, actually seems to be doing a bit better. A lot of their newer costumes are superhero costumes, many of them even with fuller coverage. They also have an Eleven costume that is way less creepy and sexual than the Yandy version. Now, that being said, the women’s costumes have a “sexy costume” section and the men’s don’t, so we’re clearly still not experiencing gender parity.
And now, to wrap everything up, have this list of sexy men’s costumes (that are mostly just different versions of briefs and jockstraps, so fairly NSFW) courtesy of a reader/enabler. This is the most work safe picture on the list. The most.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Elle Irise is a regular contributor to This Week In Tomorrow. When she’s not producing another yearly romp through the bizarre and unnatural world of “sexy” halloween costumes, she studies gender in popular culture.
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