As a feminist, I'm not about to fold up my feminism and pack it away during the holiday season. Smashing the patriarchy while making stuffing at Thanksgiving? Sure! Canvassing at Christmas? Why not? So you can bet your you-know-what there are ways to have a feminist Halloween, too. From jack-o-lanterns to costume shopping, decorating to trick-or-treating, there are ample opportunities to flaunt your feminism on the scariest day of the year.
The first step, of course, is acknowleding the history of the holiday. Samhain, what Halloween is essentially based off of, began thousands of years ago, when people believed the veil between the living world and the "spirit world" was at its thinnest. To keep potentially troublesome spirits at bay, people would leave offerings at their doorsteps. In other words, the first trick-or-treaters were not of this world.
Knowing the origins of this candy-filled holiday is just the start, of course. From diving into this country's problematic treatment of "witches," to staying far, far away from racist costumes that rely on outdated and harmful stereotypes, there's so much all of us can do to make this holiday as fun and fair as possible. So if you're looking to enjoy a feminist Halloween this year, here are some simple, easy, and fun ways to keep things real, equal, and inclusive:
Call Out Racist, Transphobic, & Otherwise Problematic Costumes
Cultures are not costumes, people. If you see someone wearing a costume that's racially insensitive or is guilty of cultural appropriation, discuss their choice with them. Calling out these kinds of costumes is the first step in eradicating them entirely.
Don’t Slut Shame "Sexy" Costumes
As long as a sexy slutty outfit isn’t insensitive, who cares what anyone decides to wear (or not wear) on Halloween? You might not like the Sexy Cheeseburger, Sexy Pumpkin, and Sexy Disney’s Nemo (look it up), but no one is saying you have to dress up like a sexy version of a condiment or character. You do you, and let other people do them.
Wear A Feminist Halloween Costume
Frida Kahlo. Beyoncé. Jane the Virgin. The Notorious RBG. Pussy Riot. Leslie Knope. Guys, there are so many fantastic feminist costumes out there, DIY or otherwise. Get creative.
Dress Your Kid Up In A Feminist Costume
Matilda. Wonder Woman. Any of the babies from Rugrats. Whether you want your big kid or your baby to have a feminist costume, there are plenty to go around.
Don’t Discourage Trick-Or-Treaters Just Because They’re Older
Far too many people, in my opinion, get hung up on how old (or maybe even just how tall) some trick-or-treater are. But why should it matter? Unless these costumed teenagers (or older folks!) are actually doing something harmful, like destroying your property or picking on other children, what does it matter if you give them a Twix? Let people enjoy themselves.
Let Kids From Different Neighborhoods Come To Yours
Unfortunately, a good amount of xenophobia, racism, and classism rears their ugly heads on Halloween when pearl-clutching parents get angry at the kids from other neighborhoods who come and trick-or-treat in theirs. Honestly, why? Some neighborhoods are better for trick-or-treating than others, and some kids live in apartment buildings that don't participate in Halloween festivities.
There's no reason to be territorial, people, and you shouldn't discriminate based on where these children live. Just let kids be kids.
Watch Some Feminist-Friendly Halloween Media
Practical Magic is a film about an all-female family of witches who use magic to fight an evil, abusive man. Room On The Broom is a film and book about a friendly witch who wants to make room for all the friends she meets. The Craft is a movie about a group of teen witches who use magic to combat racism and rape culture at their school. Need I go on?
Pick Inclusive Treats
Every kid deserves to enjoy a few treats on Halloween, regardless of whether or not they have certain allergies. While we know parents will usually help their kids sort through their Halloween candy to make sure they're safe, why not also offer some non-sweets or nut-free chocolates that anyone and everyone can enjoy? You can be the cool house with the spider rings, or maybe you hand out some cool Halloween stickers or temporary tattoos. Feminism is about inclusion, after all.
Throw A Feminist Halloween Party
Invite your friends over for some treats while they write letters to their Senators or do some important phone banking. Carve some vagina pumpkins, if you're so inclined. Host a party and ask your guests to donate to Planned Parenthood or give money to a feminist politician running for office. Invite your crafty friends to bring their feminist witchy goods to sell or trade with others. There's no end to the ways you can host a feminist Halloween party this year.