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  • Alycia McNamara

What Does The Mean Girls Halloween Scene Tell Us About Society?

By Alycia McNamara

‘Halloween is the one time a year when a girl can dress like a total slut, and no other girls can say anything about it’ – Mean Girls

Sexy or scary? Every girls Halloween debate!

Halloween brings around excitement for many. Us girls can spend hours deciding on the all-important Halloween costume: what to wear, how to style it, whether to go matching with friends or a partner. There’s endless possibilities, but with the chance to dress up often comes social stigma. Girls can find themselves confused between wanting to dress sexily but being viewed as promiscuous. This is nicely summarised in the well-known Mean Girls Halloween scene which you can watch below.

So, what does this scene tell us about society? In this scene, Cady is judged for dressing scarily instead of sexily while Regina, Karen and Gretchen are viewed by their peers as being popular and sexy. This stereotype is reinforced by the characters themselves as Karen questions Cady's choice of outfit. Often, Halloween outfits for women are sexualised. Some women will want to dress sexily for Halloween however, others may not. This becomes problematic as so much of the Halloween costume range for women consists of mostly ‘sexy’ outfits. This can reinforce a belief in women that this is how they should dress to be attractive but actually, it’s okay to realise that not every woman will feel comfortable going out dressed provocatively. Online retailers including Pretty Little Thing, Shein and Fashion Nova create a Halloween fashion edit each year, and many of the pieces for these collections include mostly lingerie. All you have to do is google ‘Female Halloween costume’ and then google ‘Male Halloween costume’ and the difference in the expectation for how the two genders dress is evident.

However, on the flip side of this. Many women will see Halloween as a time of year to dress provocatively and be free from judgment for this one night a year and to feel safe in their choice of outfit. The sexy Halloween costume is often liberating for women who gain confidence and feel free partying with their pals! Some women feel free from the pressure to dress in a certain way and take ownership of their costume choice. Halloween is a time of year when women can dress sexily but blend in with others doing the same rather than feel like they stand out for being promiscuous.

The Mean Girls Halloween scene summarises the expectations in society and the unwritten code of conduct for the female Halloween costume. Our message to you is to ignore societal standards and dress however you want! Whether this be sexy or scary, ‘slutty’ or sophisticated – you do you! Reclaim these words and have the best Halloween. Don’t forget to snap a picture of that outfit! Make sure you choose your outfit for the right reasons – NOT for male attention. And last but not least – Happy Halloween!

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