Take Back Halloween: A Costume Guide For Women

BeautyConsumer GoodsEducationHistoryHoliday 3 Comments

Once again nothing seems to be safe from being transformed into a sexy costume this Halloween season. Last year, we introduced you to the sexy hamburger, and that was just one of hundreds of cheesy iterations of food costumes you could find in the shape of a tube dress.

This year, things have gone even further (as if that’s possible) into the sexy realm, and not just for women, but for girls too. Sexy cop anyone?  If you haven’t seen it, we encourage you to check out the prolific discussion we’ve been having on Facebook about the topic.

Well, if you’re not into being french fries, pizza or a sexy cop, what is a woman supposed to do? TAKE BACK HALLOWEEN!

WYSK Suzanne Scoggins, founder of Take Back Halloween, is on a mission “to make the world safe for creative and empowering costumes.” The site is devoted to showing women how to dress up as famous heroines, geniuses, queens, and goddesses. 

Founded in 2010, Take Back Halloween is the first venture of Suzanne’s Real History Project, which is about “popularizing a deeper and broader understanding of the past – the real stuff, not just the Dead White Male version of history.”


The overall approach is about creating great costumes with items that are already in your closet, or easily accessible and affordable. No sewing! Take Back Halloween isn’t selling anything, they are strictly a resource guide, they come up with the costume designs, explain what you’ll need to pull off the look, and provide links to where you can buy the various components.

“We love Halloween. We think it’s cool that there’s one day a year when people can dress up as anything they want. What we don’t think is cool is that, increasingly, the only costumes available for women and girls are of the ultra-sexy persuasion.”

You won’t find what’s already available in stores here, they have costumes for powerful goddesses like Isis, and notable women such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Catherine the Great, Bessie Coleman (lead image) and Empress Theodora among them. This year, they have added Calamity Jane, Marlene Dietrich. Billie Holiday, Madhubala and Dorothy Dandridge. In addition to being an awesome resource, they also provide accurate historical information about every single figure, so you can get a quick history lesson while scouring for your go to look.


“There’s nothing wrong with sexy (for adults), and if you want to go that route, fine. Have fun! We just want there to be other options as well. We think Halloween is a fantastic opportunity to explore history and mythology, celebrate your heritage, or just wear a magnificent outfit.”

We couldn’t agree more!!

About Suzanne

suzannescogginsI started out training as a historian, but in my twenties I ran away to join the circus and became a professional stage actor. In my thirties I worked in the finance industry, inventing a patented artificial intelligence system to mimic the thinking of financial planners.

I retired from the corporate world at 40 to devote my time to writing and feminist activism. In 2008 I helped launch three podcast programs, two websites, and one non-profit advocacy group run by Clinton campaign supporters.

In 2009 I co-founded Equal Visibility Everywhere (EVE), dedicated to achieving gender parity in the symbols and icons of the United States. Our early successes include the Harriet Tubman Statue Project. In 2012 EVE was officially commissioned by the Governor of Kansas with the task of placing a new statue of Amelia Earhart in the National Statuary Hall Collection.

  • gargouille

    Move over stupid “sexy hamburger”…THIS is a good idea!

  • gargouille

    Also, Suzanne sounds amazing. I’d like to add to her roster Olympe de Gouge, who wrote a “Rights of Woman” to make sure that the French Revolution’s “Rights of Man” could not leave out the fair sex. She was guillotined (of course). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympe_de_Gouges

  • Christina Noftsker

    Okay so if they follow this logic of take away the “cute and sweet” and make it realistic like the boys, when my daughter wants to wear a police uniform, but wants it to be girly, which in her 3 year old mind is frilly skirts and sparkles, I would have to make it because unlike if they leave it the same I can’t just go get it for her.

    Why are they marketed that way well because believe it or not many young children like them like that. More boys like realistic masculine uniforms and many girls like the sparkle, frill, lace and skirts, but they also like the idea of cops, robbers, cowgirls, Indians, firefighters, lady bugs, fairies and princesses. It’s not actually about being realistic it’s about what they like and letting them use their imagination.
    It’s not party city that has the issue it’s you. If your daughter likes the boys realistic version better why not get the boys version and if your son likes the frilly girls version better why not get the girls version? The issue isn’t the costumes it’s the person looking at them as a political statement and boys vs girls and not fun for kids to express themselves in the way they feel most comfortable. Just because it has a picture of a boy doesn’t mean a girl can’t wear it and just because it has a picture of a girl doesn’t mean a bit can’t wear it.
    Honestly this constant boys vs girls let’s take away all their fun and turn them into little adults battle is getting old. Grow up and let kids be kids frills or no frills and all.