Halloween: It’s the best of times and the worst of times, especially if you’re a socially conscious feminist. On the one hand, you’ve got candy, drinking, and dressing up — awesome things that many people are down to enjoy. On the other hand, well, something about “ dressing up” seems to bring out the worst impulses in a lot of people, whether via the assumption that any woman’s costume absolutely has to accentuate/reveal virtually all of her body parts, or the depressingly predictable trend towards racially insensitive “costumes.”
So what’s a
fun-loving, costume-appreciating feminist to do? We did the vetting for you and rounded up a bunch of great costume ideas. From Simone Biles to Beyoncé, these suggestions will save you the trouble of figuring out which costumes best show off your passion for gender equality.
Without further ado, here’s a list of feminist
costume ideas — idols, icons, and a few concepts that really should be made sexy this Halloween — for you to consider. Let us know if we’re missing any of your favorites. YUASND
Women's Rapinoe #15 Women's National Team Jersey, $26.99
Photo: Courtesy of the BBC.
The (13th) Doctor
After more than 50 years of the show's run, Jodie Whittaker has become the first woman to play the Doctor in
And not only are
fairly easy to DIY, they're also chic enough to wear even when it's
Okoye Black Panther
gave us a lot of things, including an incredible all-women warrior team led by Okoya (Danai Gurira). If you're going for something a little simpler (and more DIY-able) than her
Dora Milaje costume
, you could also go for her iconic
red dress and golden cuffs look
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Photo: Getty Images.
Try a Halloween salute to an iconic female presidential candidate:
, the first American woman to be nominated for the presidency, running in 1872 as the candidate from the Equal Rights Party. She’s not as immediately recognizable, but dress up like a Victorian lady and spend the evening telling people who you are, and it’ll almost be like you’re living the experience of being the first woman to run for president.
Want a sexy costume that’s more about pleasure? Can’t go wrong with a vulva (either
or something of your own creation). If you’re extra industrious, you can craft a costume that’s a
3-D model of the clitoris
, and spend the evening educating your friends about how complex the organ actually is.
Photo: Getty Images.
Where would we be without
Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
? Show your respect for Notorious RBG in a judge’s robe with a lace collar (and, if you’re feeling fancy, make the costume pop with a crown).
Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic.
You may know her better as the kid behind the
campaign — and if you’ve seen her picture, you know she’s a snappy dresser. Pay homage to
at the United State of Women Summit in a sweet seersucker suit and glasses (while carting around some excellent books about Black girls, natch).
Sexy Affirmative Consent
Halloween seems to be all about making things sexy — so why not take the opportunity to prove that there’s nothing sexier than making sure your partner’s as into the action as you are? You’re unlikely to find this one in a store, but grab a
Yes Means Yes
tank top and accessorise with whatever makes you feel hot. Boom — you’ve just proven affirmative consent can be a turn-on.
Photo: Courtesy of Tidal.
Beyoncé From Lemonade
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, as Beyoncé made clear with her visual album,
. Take a page out of the book of Bey with a tribute to one of her many
(I’m particularly fond of the yellow-dress-and-baseball-bat combo).
Photo: Alex Crick/Netflix.
Got a pair of hipster glasses, a striped sleeveless dress, and a beach ball? Boom, you’re Ali Wong, the stand-up comic who did
an hour-long stand-up set while seven months pregnant
(and somehow managed not to pee herself in the process — a feat
might not be able to pull off while watching her hilarious special,
Photo: Courtesy of Gallery Books
True, the devilishly funny late-night host doesn’t really have a signature look, but thanks to a unique last name and this
she did a few years back, there’s an easy fix: Get a
and a long, blonde wig. Done and done.
Photo: RCA/Olivia Bee
Between releasing her album
and opening up about
and her past, Kesha has proved to be an inspiration for feminists everywhere. Recreate her
music video look, and remind everyone that you're a
and no one can stand in your way.
Photo: KEVIN LAMARQUE/AFP/Getty Images.
You could go the classic route with a store-bought mask and “female politician” costume, or get DIY and put together your own Clinton costume (her campaign website has even helpfully put together
a guide to a few different looks)
Angelina Jolie Bey isn’t the only famous woman reportedly done wrong. With the disintegration of Brangelina, why not use Halloween to show you’re firmly Team Angie? Like Hillary Clinton, she’s got a whole run of classic looks to pick from: Do you want to be glam Gia Angelina? Tomb Raider Angelina? Devoted mom and UN ambassador Angelina? Or hey, go with a combination of all of the above and be the Angelina who has it all.
Photo: Courtesy of Comedy Central.
Ilana Wexler Broad City aired its finale
this year, and we said goodbye to some incredible jokes — and some serious fashion inspiration. Throw together a quick tribute to Ilana with a baseball cap, white tank top, jean shorts, orange sneakers, and — the pièce de résistance —
a bike chain for a belt
. Just make sure not to get yourself
to any trucks while you’re out on the town.
Social Justice Warrior
Reclaim the term and remind everyone what it really means to fight for social justice. Get a
(think Xena), and arm yourself with information about causes you care about. Optional accessory: the severed heads of straight white men (fake, obviously).
Social Media Troll
And if you want to go the scary route, dress up as a social media troll. How, you say? Don a
standard troll costume
and spend the evening handing out pieces of paper with angry conspiracy theories and insults.
Photo: Chuck Hodes/FOX.
Cookie Lyon Empire’s leading lady is a fierce, take-charge woman and a damn fine dresser. Consider this Halloween costume an excuse to upgrade your wardrobe (and, while you’re at it, acquire a stuffed lion).
Photo: Courtesy of Fox
For a modern awkward-teen idol, you can’t go wrong with
. (Write your own erotic friend fiction for bonus points.)
Photo: Courtesy of MTV.
Though if Tina’s too upbeat for you, there’s always
. (The ‘90s are hip again, right?)
Photo: Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Photo: New World Pictures/Everett Collection
We're still obsessed with
, even in 2019. Whether you’re thrilled at the thought of a new take on this dark teen comedy, or terrified the revamped version will muck up everything good about the original, there’s never been a better time to dust off your Veronica Sawyer costume.
Photo: Warwick Saint/FOX.
Ginny Baker From Pitch Fox’s new series, Pitch, tells the story of Ginny Baker, the first woman to play for a Major League Baseball team. It also offers a pretty easy costume: Just get a Padres jersey and a baseball, and you’re good to go.
Photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images.
If you love female athletic inspirations to be of the contemporary variety, look no further than this summer’s Olympics for your costume inspiration. Simone Biles racked up numerous gold medals while looking amazing. Just get yourself a
, some (fake) Olympic medals, and maybe some practice on the balance beam.
Photo: Columbia Pictures/Photofest.
The best thing about the
reboot (besides, well, everything)? Now, anyone can be a ghostbuster. Women don’t have to be “sexy” Ghostbusters, or “lady” Ghostbusters; we’re just
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Few shows made quite the impact that
did — and few characters had the same degree of impact as Eleven, the show’s telekinetic misfit who escapes from a military lab and discovers the joys of friendship and Eggo waffles. If you’re rocking short hair, try the
look. Pretty attached to your long locks? Grab a blonde wig and pink dress, and you’ll be
Eleven in disguise
Photo: Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.
The Force Awakens
this Halloween. After all, the Princess Leia costume you’ve been wearing for the past few decades is starting to get a little bit tired...
Photo: Paramount Pictures/Photofest.
And from the other end of the sci-fi spectrum, we’ve got
Star Trek Beyond
. She’s crafty, self-reliant, has good taste in music, and that black-and-white pattern on her face will make for a really fun makeup project.
Wonder Woman Wonder Woman’s been inspiring girls and women for decades with her badass moves and superhuman strength. And now that she’s got the option to wear trousers, she’s even more feminist than ever.
Photo: Marvel Studios/Photofest.
And if you’re more into Marvel than DC, you can’t go wrong with Ms. Marvel — either the classic
Carol Danvers version
or the updated
, who has the distinction of being the first Muslim superhero to get her own Marvel series.
Photo: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix.
If you’ve watched
, you know what an awesome character Detective Misty Knight is, but you might be at a loss for a signature outfit. Fortunately, the comic book version of Knight offers a pretty sweet solution: In her
, she rocks an afro, a red bodysuit, and a big ass gun. (Looking for something a little toned down? Skinny jeans, long black hair, black boots, and a leather jacket makes for a great
— but you might have trouble convincing people you’re actually in costume.)
Photo: CNN/Everett Collection.
Not familiar with
, the Hillary Clinton of kids’ cartoons. She’s tough, smart, driven, crazily accomplished, deeply protective of her people, and occasionally tripped up by her tendency towards secrecy (and a public easily swayed by shiny, loud-mouthed charlatans). Plus, hey: She’s made out of bubblegum.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
And while we’re talking about tough-as-nails feminist leaders, let’s not forget
Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen
. Not only does she emancipate slaves and (literally) set fire to the patriarchy, she also has dragons.
Sexy Safer Sex
And while we’re at it, take aim at anyone who claims condoms “ruin the mood” with a sexy safer sex costume. Feel free to DIY it as you see fit, or just wear this
storebought condom costume
along with fishnets and heels (or whatever bottoms say “sexy barrier protection” to you).