I am an entertainment enthusiast with six years of experience as an online pop culture writer.
Clock Out and Dress Up
It is a curious thing that although most people look forward to getting away from work, many people seem to enjoy dressing up as other occupations for Halloween. This might be because they dream of a more exciting job, they want to dress up as something recognizable, or perhaps it is just a quick, easy solution to the question of how they should dress up for a Halloween party. Whatever the reason, you can clearly see gender differences between occupational costumes designed for men and women.
There are not many male construction worker costumes available for purchase. Typically parts of the costume are sold individually rather than as a whole ensemble. A jackhammer, hard hat, and orange vest are relatively easy to find, but the rest is up to the men already owning the clothes. The few complete sets that men could purchase were focused on the Village People rather than the construction worker profession.
Women were able to buy plenty of full construction worker outfits, but they are not something likely to be worn on the job. One costume remembered the reflective vest but forgot the shirt to actually offer any protection. I have seen plenty of female sign holders stop or slow down traffic, but none of them were dressed even close to the Halloween version. In fact, her dress does more to stop traffic than the little sign she is given.
The closest outfit to what you might find on the job looks more like something worn by a Real Housewife of Orange County than somebody working.
There is an extraordinarily high number of different police costumes available for both men and women. However, male cop costumes try to capture the different branches of law enforcement and time periods.
Almost no female police costumes were even close to what a female police officer might wear in real life. The vast majority looked like something worn to a bachelor party.
Costume shops do not offer a large variety of farmer costumes for either men or women. This is probably because all you really have to do is buy a pair of overalls and a straw hat. The three men's costumes I was able to find leaned toward the comedic side; a strategically placed barn or huge vegetables.
The women did not look like they would be working in the fields at all. The daisy dukes, hot pants, and miniskirts are expected, but it is interesting how women's costumes frequently feel the need to show the rear end, while this is almost never the case with men's costumes.
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The fireman Halloween costumes surprised me. I was expecting this to be the category that would have a lot of provocative male firefighter uniforms. After all, they sell calendars because of their sexy image. However, the “sexy” male firefighter costume had a shirt with a muscular torso painted on it. There is no need to hit the gym before Halloween. The rest of the costumes closely resembled what you might expect a firefighter to wear on the job or incorporated the classic fire hose joke.
Women's firefighter costumes do not get the painted clothing shortcut. These uniforms might be nice in the intense heat of a fire, but they sure are not going to offer any protection from the flames. Female firefighter costumes barely contain their bodies, so I don’t know how much luck they will have in containing a fire.
The butler/maid costumes were as I expected. The butlers are dressed in full suits and white gloves, while the maids have barely anything on to make sure they don’t get their clothes dirty. I was surprised at how few butler costumes I could find for sale in the mass market. These were the only three costumes I could find that did not have a monster or decaying corpse attached to the theme.
Maid outfits were hard to narrow down. They came in so many different styles that I had to choose three that I felt represented most of them. I went with the two-piece, the sheer shrunk version, and the one that actually covers up body parts.
Doctor and nurse costumes were as expected. The male doctors get their lab coats and stethoscopes. They might have an operating cap or a head mirror. The nurse costumes were so abundant and varied that these four images don’t dent the surface of design options.
Stocking, nurse's cap, and a red cross are pretty standard, but skirt length, bust cut, and tightness are all over the map. Nurse costumes also come with stethoscopes, but they are presented much differently. While the male models usually have them hanging around their necks, the female models are often holding them up provocatively, as if the are about to examine you. The question is, who are they selling these costumes to?
There are not as many male soldier costumes as I was expecting. They mostly sell the paraphernalia that a soldier might need. The few costumes that did appear had the full camouflage for combat or dress uniforms. My favorite was the Rambo-like costume with the inflated muscle shirt.
Women's military costumes were abundant and easy to find. I doubt many of these uniforms would be appropriate for either combat or a formal ceremony. The use of camouflage is useless because with an outfit that revealing, everybody is going to notice you right away. The formal attire looks more like a dominatrix than a commanding officer.
Male pilot costumes mostly take their inspiration from commercial airliner uniforms. If not for the cheap material, you might think they were about to fly your plane. There are also a few aviator costumes that would be appropriate in the early days of human flight.
It was difficult to find female pilot costumes, but flight attendant uniforms were everywhere. The few costumes I could find looked like a cross between a pilot and a flight attendant. The short skirts and open bust seemed more appropriate for another mile-high activity than flying a plane. Someone should tell the old-time aviator costume that planes lacked the environmental controls of today, and it was cold flying up there. Her jacket might be the same size as the male pilot's scarf.
Sailor costumes were very plain for men. The white pants, shirt, and hat are accented with either black or blue. They have a matching neckerchief and the option of sleeves or no sleeves.
Women had a lot of options for going to sea for Halloween. Most of them did not look like they would actually be working as the crew of a boat. They seemed more ready for a USO show than sailing. High heels are not the best option for walking on a slippery deck, but at least their options of a mini skirt, hot pants, or swimsuit will keep them dry. Unlike the men who had the sleeve option, women were all sleeveless. In fact, the women might want to borrow the men’s neckerchief to cover up a bit more for the sun.
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. Thank you.