I am an entertainment enthusiast with six years experience as an online pop culture writer.
Halloween is a time to dress up in scary costumes. People disguise themselves as their favorite monsters and walk around in public. These monster costumes tend to take on different styles depending on what gender they were designed for. Men’s costumes are created to emphasize the disfigurements and instill fear, while women’s costumes are fashioned to complement the human form.
When a child’s doll is possessed by a serial killer using voodoo magic, things are going to get ugly. Child’s Play was a horror film from the late '80s that would spawn a series of sequels. Since Chucky is unable to heal, he looks more and more like a hideous Frankenstein monster with each new installment of the franchise.
- The man’s costume does a good job of matching up the overalls, colorful shirt, and hideously deformed face of the character.
- The woman’s costume looks like she is trying to squeeze into the doll’s actual clothing. The baggy overalls now resemble a tight mini skirt, the shirt does not extend much further than the overalls, and rather than having a terrifying mask, she is given thigh-high stockings.
The Devil is constantly portrayed as a demonic creature who is trying to fill hell with righteous souls that he obtains through binding contracts.
- For this reason, many of the men's Devil outfits look like an out-of-style, red business suit belonging to someone ready to wheel and deal. At other times, these costumes take the more demonic approach in their design.
- When women are imagined as the Devil, the technique for gathering souls appears to go in a different direction. These all-red outfits resemble nighties or other undergarments worn in private. The high heel shoes and fishnet stockings don’t leave a lot of guesswork on how she plans on tempting souls.
- Both men's and women's costumes come with horns and a tail, but women are almost never portrayed with ugly demonic features. Also, why are the women always posed holding their tails?
Frankenstein and Bride
Dr. Frankenstein is obviously a man:
- When creating a male monster, it is large and green, and the stitches are crudely administered. Bulky feet, shoulders that are way too broad, and an abnormally large head make sure Frankenstein’s monster won’t be winning any beauty pageants.
- When creating a female monster, her curves and natural body shape are well preserved, the few stitches used are strategically placed, and the only thing oversized is her hair. At least the women’s costumes are easier to move around in.
Freddy Krueger is an instantly recognizable character. When in his natural form, he is always wearing a red sweater with dark green stripes, a brown fedora, and his trademarked metal clawed glove. In life, he was thrown into a furnace by vengeful parents; because of this, he is hideously burned.
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- Men's Halloween costumes capture all of these details in their design.
- Women's costumes make a few alterations. The first thing to go is the unflattering burned mask. The sweater is used, but it has claw marks ripped out of the bust or midriff section. Apparently, female Freddy Kruegers are not as adept at using their claws. Since Freddy’s pants are not a recognizable part of his wardrobe, they just took them away altogether. If they decided to lengthen the sweater to compensate for the lack of pants, it was not by much.
Jason Voorhees drowned as a child, when the young adults who were supposed to be watching him were engaging in their own camp activities. Despite being dead, Jason grew into a very large man. However, growing up in a lake gave him a rotted appearance. His skin has suffered the ultimate pruning, and his clothes are tattered. Although he has not always worn a hockey mask, it has become his most identifiable characteristic.
- The Halloween costumes for men come with nondescript clothing in different stages of disrepair. With a hockey mask on his face and machete in hand, this costume is ready to terrify.
- The women’s Halloween costumes go with the hockey theme more than the actual backstory. The only clothing item in tatters are the fishnet stockings. The hockey mask is more of a prop than costume piece, and apparently Jason has his own hockey team. One shirt looks like an oversized team jersey that a girlfriend might wear to bed. The other low-cut, tight-fitting shirt comes with a mini skirt that once again does not go much lower than a long shirt.
Mummies are the dead from ancient Egypt. The mummification process was incredibly complex. This spiritual ritual helped preserve the body as well help the dead in their journey to the afterlife. One of the steps was to tightly wrap the entire body in cloth bandages.
- The male mummy costume sticks closely to this look. The hands might be exposed for easier trick-or-treating and the face left partially unwrapped so the guy inside can see. Sometimes a mask depicting a rotting corpse will be used instead of the head bandages.
- Women get wrapped as if they were going to be attending a hopping party, rather than a burial. Amazingly the bandages form a sexy dress and long stockings. Instead of having the head wrapped in bandages or hidden by a mask, the cloth is used as a headband or veil.
The Skeleton is a relatively simple costume. A human skeleton of white bones is printed on black fabric.
- With men, this involves wearing a full bodysuit, so that in the dark it would appear as if a skeleton is walking around.
- Women's skeleton costumes are made of black fabric but rather than being full body suits, lean more toward tight revealing dresses. Instead of creating the illusion of a skeleton coming to life, it looks more like an anatomy lesson on where you can find the different bones of her body.
The drinking of blood in the vampire mythology has often tied it to the more sensual of horror stories. Throughout history this draining of body fluids has not only been used to instill fear but also teach moral lessons. Vampires have also become some of the most popular and varied costumes available during Halloween.
- Most male vampire costumes tend to borrow more from the Dracula stories, where a count dressed in the rich clothing of ancient times. Vampires are eternal, so there fashion sense tends to be a little behind the times.
- Most female vampire costumes tend to borrow from the Carmilla stories and her sexuality. Of course, I guess the case could be made that men flaunt their money, while women flaunt other things to grab the attention of their intended victims.
- Most werewolf costumes are designed for men. They have varying degrees of shredded clothing, that consists of pants and a long sleeve shirt. The rest of the costume is designed to give the illusion that the entire body has been transformed into a hairy humanoid wolf. With vicious claws and a snarling dog head to add that spooky look.
- The few women's werewolf costumes available still have the shredded clothing but do not make an attempt at having the body appear as if it were covered in fur. Instead some fur leggings and cuffs are added to this basic costume. Sticking with the tendency to steer away from scary masks, the costumes are give cute little dog ears instead.
Witches are one of the most popular female costumes available during Halloween and are created exclusively for women. These costumes come in a variety of different styles, but many stray far from the ugly witches in fairy tales; that were recognized by their huge warts, elongated pointy noses, discolored skin and bony fingers. They also ignore the practicality of riding a broom through the air in a short skirt.
Rather than hiding in a cave, these skimpy costumes were made for a night on the town. At least they kept the pointy hat, otherwise who would know what these costumes were supposed to be?
The costumes above were displayed multiple times in Google image search results. These are the sites that I went to for the images. If you know of an image that belongs to a different site, please let me know in the comment section below, and I will make sure to give appropriate credit.
Geekdom (author) on December 11, 2012:
Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Distant Mind on December 11, 2012:
Fun stuff! It's quite true.
Joshua on December 07, 2012:
A better title would have been scary vs sexy.