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Ten Awesome Ladies to Dress Up as This Halloween

Allow Us To Explain

Allow Us To Explain

Shopping for a Halloween costume can be a somewhat disheartening experience for a woman. There’s the sexy nurse, the sexy pirate, the sexy Chewbacca (oh yes, it exists). But what if all you really want to do is dress up as an awesome lady, and not necessarily in a way that exposes your skin to the brisk October air?

There are plenty of options; you just probably won’t find them in your local costume store. So we at The Mary Sue have assembled our own list of geek girl costume ideas, split evenly between pop culture and history, the latter courtesy of Take Back Halloween, an unparalleled resource for those who A) like kick-ass ladies from history and B) want to know how to dress up as them.

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  • Amber Stone

    I wanted to add, for anyone dressing up as Merida, Target has some nice fake bow and arrow sets for $10 in the generic stuff.

  • Mike

    I find this whole premise amusing and insulting. Any woman that truly wants to express her creativity on Halloween should not have a problem finding a decent costume. Don’t stop at the first “Party Store” you see. Do take a minute to use the antiquated Yellow Pages to find a real costume shop. Although few and far between they do exist. “Take Back Halloween” sounds like another way to restore feminism to the oppressively-sexist and male-dominated holiday of Halloween.

    Beyond the pagan history, Halloween is about being who you want to be. I don’t attend “sexy-nurse” parties on Oct. 31, I attend Halloween parties. 16 girls in catwoman and devil outfits is fucking boring and fascist. I appreciate your suggestion that women explore alternate more original costumes, but to wrap in the guise of “feminism has lost its way” is disingenuous. Women are sexy at halloween because they chose to be. Just like they choose to cosplay PowerGirl or Sailor Moon. Where are the Marion Ravenwoods? If you ask me, there are not enough Carmen SanDiego’s!!

    Poor planning on your part does not constitute sexism on my part.

    Now let’s see some Susan B. Anthony’s…sans underwear.

  • Molly Mahan

    Feminism means, as a woman, I can wear whatever I want.

  • Katharine Tapley

    Ooh! In kid sizes? My daughter is Merida, and I’m trying to figure out the weaponry.

  • Terence Ng

    Wu Zetian also had her political rivals turned into “human pigs”. She had other women who she perceived as threats to her power arrested, cut out heir tongues, gouged out their eyes, cut off their ears, and had their arms and legs amputated. Then she had them kept them alive by feeding them scraps and slop and leaving them to wallow in their own feces and urine, like pigs (hence the name).

    A true Halloween costume subject if you ever needed one.

  • Terence Ng

    Susan B. Assthony?

    OMG, how awesome would it be if people went as Kate Beaton’s Stong Female Characters? I would kill to see Queen Elizatits, Susan B. Assthony, and Georgia O’Queef.

    Would that ironic sexism?

  • Kifre

    “her punishment of Medusa, a once-beautiful maiden who defiled one of Athena’s sanctuaries by being raped there, is much harsher”

    …probably why I won’t be dressing as Athena.

  • Maiasaura

    Felicia Day is awesome. But it seems like it would be a little hard to dress up as her. Like, would you just wear normal clothes and go around acting nerdy, adorable, and exceedingly clever? How would anyone know you weren’t just being your own fabulous self? :P

    Also, what happened to the OpenID login option? :(

  • John Wao

    I definitely disagree with Felicia…..;-)

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t blink an eye at the insane pre-ponderance of “sexy” (a term itself which is debatable ..) costumes if it were not obviously a practise mostly for women. Why do we feel the need to reassure the world we are still sexually attractive when we’re in costume (it’s supposed to be something we’re not! or secretly desire to be … and I would hope that women can feel free to feel sexy most of the year)? Why don’t men commonly add sexual elements to their costumes? Are men not liberated enough?

    While I also feel like homemade or personally assembled costumes are the best, why do we have to tell women to go to a real (and more expensive) costume shop to get “regular”, non-sexy costumes, but men can easily find and buy cheap ones?

    That all said, I would of course defend to death anyone’s right to dress up as a sexy cat, sexy nurse, sexy data analyst. This also includes your right to be offended that I think you’re boring.

  • stevi ferg

    How about an idea for an awesome pregnant lady costume? I’ll be sporting a six-month bump at the time, so I might as well put it to good use in a clever costume…

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Pregnant Amy Pond from Doctor Who?

  • Lauren

    I don’t know if I’d call pretend-crying and getting called a ‘mewling quim’ awesome…but some of these are good options.

  • Suzanne Scoggins

    Thanks for this terrific shout-out!

  • Ashley Summers Flynn

    Katniss. Everdeen. Seriously! That’s who I’m going as!

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I go as Carmen Sandiego every year. I even won a sweet $250 cash at a local pub’s costume contest in it one year because of my small globe and multiple passports. :D

  • Anonymous

    So this comment sections is inevitably going to be a Perfect Storm of “you’re bad and you should feel bad” in all directions, but before it gets too terrible, can I just sneak this in?

    The problem with the “sexy” costumes isn’t when women choose to wear them. Some of them are really cute! And if that’s how you want to have fun on Halloween, more power to you! The problem is that it’s basically impossible to find costumes for women in Halloween stores that AREN’T “sexy noun” anymore. And while I’m a cosplayer and thus no stranger to “make your own or get to a professional costumer,” sometimes I long for the simplicity of just hopping over to a pop-up Halloween store and being done. (To say nothing of my friends who don’t cosplay, know nothing about making costumes, and don’t want to expend loads of time, effort, and/or money into something they’re wearing for one night.)

  • Natalia Gawior

    I’m going as Marie Curie but I need a glowstick or something that glows in the dark to mix with the makeup. Any ideas?

  • Anonymous

    I second this notion! Although so few would get it…

  • Anonymous

    Oh thank you, I figured the comments would go like this and you said what I was thinking as well as I could. Bump for you! I’d also like to add that maybe also really busy people (like me) may not have the time to devote to finding a costume shop off the beaten path or to create their own but they’d still like to enjoy some Halloween spirit.

  • Jerilyn Nighy

    I’m going to go as Sexy Eleanor Roosevelt.

  • Anonymous

    I am also pregnant, and I bought a chest-burster plushie. Yup, that’s going to be popping out of a tshirt with some gross fabric paint/makeup. Easy-peasy.

  • Terence Ng

    *sigh* That’s the risk…

  • Terence Ng

    True. I mean, when strippers go to Halloween stores BECAUSE they know that now is the time to save money for costumes they can use in their routines, it shows how unbalanced the outfits are in terms of “sexy” type.

    I often wonder if women don’t just go to the men’s section to find gender neutral outfits they can wear instead if they don’t want to be a sexy mouse or some such thing. You know, bagged costumes that come with pants instead of booty shorts.

  • Terence Ng

    ….I wouldn’t mix the contents of a glow stick into your make up. Sephora has Fluo Night, which is a powder you can apply with your make up that will make it glow under a black light while keeping your makeup’s color. Party City also has a $2 tube of straight up glow in the dark make up.

  • Anise

    In Germany we don’t celebrate Halloween but if I would go I would dress up as Kali the Indian godess. She is one of the most interesting godesses around the world in my opinion. She is also perfect for Halloween with cut off heads hanging around her waist and stuff.

    Sorry, my English is still bad, I have to practice more often. That’s the great thing about not being a native english speaker: I can watch the whole series of Doctor Who and read Comics in English and can say I’m learning. ;-)

  • Natalia Gawior

    By glowstick I meant one of those makeup pens/sticks but you’re right. Party City looks good. Thanks for the tip!

  • stevi ferg

    Hmmm, DreamWorld pregnant Amy, or Demon’s Run pregnant Amy? I see possibilities!

  • Terence Ng

    Oh, haha. I was worried you were going to crack open one of those foul smelling chemical sticks. Damn.

  • Nicolae Carpathia

    How about Chell?

  • Anonymous

    Good points…

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, that’s an option but it doesn’t erase the subtle message of objectification. May also not fit so good especially in the chest region.

  • Anonymous

    Your English looks just fine to me. :)

  • Rachel Smith

    I’m going as a Female Toad from Super Mario! And I’m making my own costume, so it may not be exactly traditional, but I like it AND I get to show off my creativity/geek-chic at the same time! Some of these would be entertaining to see IRL though… lol

  • Zavera Farid

    It would seem that the traditional recognition of “Halloween” has been well and truly usurped in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Or instead of “Halloween” it should these days be known as “Dressup Night”.

  • Samantha Wilson

    I don’t understand why anyone dresses up as anything that isn’t scary or supernatural for Halloween. Isn’t that missing the point?

  • Anonymous

    Of course you can. That isn’t the issue here at all.

  • Via Hope

    Lizzie Borden was never found guilty of killing her parents.

  • you guys

    That’s a later Roman version written down by Ovid, the Romans were assholes and their variations on Greek myth showed it. Ancient pre-Roman Greek art shows the Gorgons as being born monsters, some as beautiful monsters, others as hideous.

    Athena Parthenos is innocent of all crimes! And you know how she was born? It was prophesied to Zeus that she would be greater than him, so he swallowed her the same way Cronus did to Zeus’ siblings. And you know what Athena did? She exploded out of Zeus’ head fully grown, fully armed and armored. The Goddess of War and Wisdom, she was the antithesis of Ares, God of War, who was violent, cruel, brutal, savage and so on. Ever heard of the Parthenon? It’s the biggest-ass temple on the Akropolis in Athens. It’s dedicated to one deity alone: Athena Parthenos. Ever heard of Athens? The greatest of ancient Greece’s city-states was named for, you guessed it, Athena.

    The ancient Greeks were misogynistic pedophiles who preferred little boys over women, by the way. And Athena is the Goddess their greatest city chose as its Patron.

  • you guys

    Kali would be laid in the “sexy” category by laymen for the fact that her only attire is a loincloth and a necklace of human heads/skulls.

  • you guys
  • you guys

    Become a ginger?

  • you guys

    You should probably look sickly and have hair falling out, on account of all the rad poisoning. I mean, sure the glowstick stuff will make you sick, but not like a good old fashioned years of x-ray exposure.

  • you guys

    It’s not a credit to her that she basically backed up confucian misogyny in China with example.

  • you guys

    Because some people are thick. A lot of people are thick.

  • you guys

    So what are you saying, that we should go back to Catholic traditions of honoring saints on that day? Because that’s what it was for most of its history.

  • you guys

    Dohoho, sexy Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s anachronistic.

  • you guys

    So… then she’s not scary because she was just a victim of being framed.

  • you guys

    Unfortunately, when dressing in such a way, you have no way to control what others think. Patriarchal cultural notions and personal values upbringing (and male hormones) are going to kick in long before you can declare “I’m a woman who’s proud of my body, but I am not interested in any of you sexually.” After tens of thousands of years of wearing clothes in cooler/cold regions, wearing less clothing has led to an unavoidable association between “less clothes” and “more sexual intercourse.” Obviously some Africans and Australian Aborigines who run around in loinclothes or less (in some parts of Papua New Guinea most men just wrap their penises in a leaf and that’s it,) those associations don’t exist.

  • Kailey DW

    I’ve gotta say, as someone who aims to dress up as someone feministish, there really aren’t a shortage of redheads. I peddled the ideas of Kim Possible, Merida, Black Widow, and many others, but just didn’t feel like investing in a wig. Past years I’ve been Carmen San Diego, Wonder Woman, Daria (from the MTV cartoon), and Rosie the Riveter. This year I’ll be Fiona from the gender swap episode of Adventure Time.

  • Jia

    wow, looking so innocent, thanks for the share.