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Costumetiquette

Posted by Robin Abrahams  October 30, 2013 11:12 AM

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If I were a really clever costume designer, I'd figure out some way to dress as the ever-ballooning media controversy about sexy (or racist) Halloween costumes. Miz Clickbait, Dr. 24-Hour-News-Cycle. Or maybe just cut to the chase and go as a Sexy Racist. 

Amanda Marcotte has a sarcastic and profane and 100% correct take on the scolding hysteria around Sexy costumes:

Here's the thing that I can't get around: The urge to dress in risqué clothes and get admired is one that I have zero beef with. Sex is good. Admiration is good. Fun is good. The problem with Americans is we don't value these things enough, and are ready at the drop of a hat to shame and blame people for having a good time.
My kneejerk response is "But-but-but--" and then I realize I don't actually have that many objections. The mass-marketing of Sexy as the only costume option for women (and girls) is disgusting, but it's also never been easier, thanks to the internet, to come up with dozens of inexpensive homemade costumes in whatever style you prefer: funny, scary, beautiful, or even sexy (not Sexy).

I gave some tips last year that still hold up pretty well:

1. Dress venue-appropriate. The office is not a nightclub. Costumes should provide the same amount of coverage that an ordinary outfit would. Oh, all right--10% less coverage and that's it. No Playboy Bunny suits at work, no Borat budgie-smugglers anywhere at anything but the most libertine of adult parties.
Also, consider the mood of your outfit. A kindergarten teacher shouldn't go as Magic Mike, but he shouldn't go as an extra from "The Walking Dead" either. Save the sex & violence for adult hours after work. If you're working with older people, sick people, very religious people, then keep your decorations and accessories focused on the harvest/pumpkins aspect of Halloween, not the death/morbidity aspect.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at missconduct@globe.com.
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Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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