On a holiday like Halloween, competition among women can feel like it's at an all-time high. Instead of trying to measure up to someone else's beauty standards, though, why not define your own with a body positive Halloween costume? Self love can be an outfit's best accessory, after all.
Considering Halloween involves dressing up and often embodying a specific character, a lot of society's standards when it comes to aesthetics are exposed through the costumes that are sold to us. Take one glance at a terrible fat stripper or a "Anna Rexia" costume and it's clear to see that society's acceptance of body shaming is still very engrained in the fabric of this holiday. This message that it's essentially OK to turn certain body types into the butt of a joke (insert side eye) sometimes radiates from every corner of the spooky affair.
With this perception of plus size bodies as being "unacceptable" or fuel for comedy, it can be difficult to stay body positive when Oct. 31 finally rolls around. However, many plus size babes know just how to battle body policing. Being told what they can and cannot wear on Halloween is not so different than the treatment they receive when they wear a bikini, a jumpsuit, or anything else that doesn't completely hide their bodies year-round. So I spoke to 13 gals via email and social media about how to stay body positive on Halloween, and here's what they had to say.
1. Forget The Rules
"Halloween is all about playing dress up and having fun with it," says model Cherry D'Lish. "Being body positive at Halloween means you can be whatever character you want to be for a night, wear what you want, and have a spook-tacular time throwing all the rules out the window while you showcase the amazing body you have!" Why not use Halloween as the perfect example to throw antiquated sartorial rules out the window?
2. Explore The Extraordinary
YouTube Vlogger Terr Cacilia says that “Halloween is a season of revealing a different layer of yourself that is perhaps more extraordinary than your everyday ordinary. In its own way, it is just like body positivity where on your journey you reveal different layers (but maybe with less fake blood).” Any holiday that ultimately encourages people to step outside their comfort zones has to be a good thing, right?
3. Remember It's Just Another Day To Get Your Sexy On
"Body positivity is a year-round practice for me, but during Halloween I love taking the extra steps to show off my curves in something daring and jaw dropping," model Bree Woodley tells me. "This sassy number from Hips and Curves really drives home my message that sexy comes in my size." Sexy, of course, comes in all sizes. Reminding yourself of this is a surefire way to stay confident on Halloween.
4. Put Your Armor On
Designer Claire Doody of Copper Union says, "I view my clothing as personal armor, and love to dress up everyday. So Halloween is no exception, I tend to go all out. But honestly how can you not feel amazing dripping in sequins and fringe?" Maybe sometimes all it takes to feel more at peace in your body is a little sparkle.
5. Think Outside The Costume Store
"I think the most important thing to remember is that Halloween is the perfect time to be anything and anyone you want to be," Blogger Crystal Coons of Sometimes Glam says. "Plus size or not, on the inside I'm a princess and I'm going to honor that by not being restricted by the costumes that are being pushed to me in stores." Considering plus costume options are still lacking in the mainstream, taking things into your own hands is one way to make sure you end up with something that makes you feel body posi.
6. Work With What You've Got
Model Saucye West believes that Halloween is the perfect time to “embrace your body and have a good time!" "As a plus size woman during this time of year, I say do whatever you want! Use the same inhibitions and confidence that you use year round." It's important to remember that Halloween is just one day of the year — but the confidence it sometimes inspires can be taken with you every other day of the year, too.
7. Step Outside The Box
Blogger Glitter + Lazers urges us all not to "let other people's perceptions affect your ability to be creative, expressive, and unique. Halloween is the perfect time to go out of your comfort zone and be brave." As a spin on the "there are no options for plus women dilemma," she adds, "As plus size women we have more opportunity to surprise and delight people with our creativity." When you think about it, that's the perfect motivation to do something bold and body posi.
8. Transform The Costume
"I'm a big kid and love dressing up any chance I get," says model Sydney Sparkles. "I don't let being plus size affect the choice of the character I want to be. I become a bigger and better version and own it." She reminds us that the only limits our plus size bodies usually create for us are the ones we impose on ourselves.
9. Be Carefree
"Halloween is one night of the year when I don't think about any qualms I might have with my body [...] For me, it's all about putting together a great costume, having fun, and being carefree,” says blogger Rachel of GirthaKitt. No matter what part of your journey to body positivity you're on, reminding yourself that anything goes on Halloween might help you feel better in the moment.
10. Dress Like A Character Of Any Size Who You Identify With
"When I choose a Halloween costume, it's someone/something I really enjoy and identify with," says designer Elizabeth Denneau of Candy Strike. "So no, the real Auntie Entity's (Tina Turner) thighs probably didn't rub together, and she didn't wear Slinky's for earrings, but I let go and allow myself to become that fierce." Denneau reminds us that even if someone doesn't approve of your ensemble, having that bond to the person/thing you're embodying will make all those comments float away into nothingness.
11. Get DIY
"Halloween body positivity for me was born out of the fact that costumes in my size were always limited in selection," notes burlesque dancer Noella DeVille. "As a result, I've learned to make and piece together costumes that are not only creative and unique, but allow me to feel confident and amazing knowing that I am rocking my look." If the mainstream is still going to ignore us, well, we'll just have to take matters into our own hands.
12. Be Plus Size And Proud
"I always try and dress up as plus size people I admire, such as Ursula from The Little Mermaid, or I just try and recreate plus sized versions of pop culture figures such as the Lichtenstein piece above and try and recreate it to the best of my ability and rock it," says Blogger Stephanie Yeboah of Nerd About Town. Showing pride in your body and feeling unafraid to flaunt that pride is guaranteed to keep the haters at bay.
13. Wear What Makes You Happy
“Around Halloween, I think it's important to remember that all people, and the bodies that house them, are awesome," says model Alexa Danger Raegun. "We all deserve the fun, fantasy, comedy, or sexiness that surrounds Halloween, regardless of shape, size, ability, race, gender, or orientation. Forget society's standards; wear what makes you happy!”
That, friends, is the key to this all. Wear what makes you happy, and throw everyone else's beauty standards out the spider web-encrusted door.
Want more Halloween inspiration? Check out the video below, and be sure to subscribe to Bustle’s YouTube page for more excitement!
Images: Courtesy Estelia Photography