So you're a nerdy girl (I can tell when I look in your big brown eyes), and you want to wear something that reflects your personality and interests, while being referential and interesting, but not totally boring. You'd like to wear something on Halloween that isn't the atypical sexy [insert word here e.g. pencil, Yoda, oven mitt]. Okay, maybe you're not thinking about it that deeply at all. Perhaps you just need some inspiration for a fun but not totally sexually objectifying costume. That's why I'm here. I'm a two-time Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Convention attendee, a Diablo 2 Level 99 Sorceress, and Bustle's Halloween Nerd-In-Residence.
My personal proclivities when it comes to dressing up for Halloween tend towards being cute, but not in a "look at my sexy Chinese noodle box take-out costume, which is vaguely racially insensitive nonsense but hey, you can see most of my boobs and, if I bend just a little like this, also my ass crack" kind of way; more in a "look at my deep knowledge of film and other cultural references of empowered women that make my witty personality shine" way. It's a different type of narcissism, although I do accept that it's narcissism nonetheless.
So if you're a lady-nerd who wants to nail your costume, I've got you covered. Here are some solid go-to ideas for Halloween 2014:
"I Woke Up Like This"
Beyoncé's war cry, "I Woke Up Like This (Flawless)" has been a hashtag revolution in and of itself. But we all know Beyoncé didn't just wake up like that; as fabulous as she is, even Queen Bey takes a shower and applies little bit of mascara before she leaves the house. So why don't you go excactly as you woke up? No makeup, hair in disarray, sleep mask pushed onto your forehead, wearing pyjamas. It's simple and cheap, current, and definietely funny if executed well (no cute nighties or lip gloss. I SEE YOU).
The original April O'Neil was a reporter, smarty pants, and friend of the Turtles. None of this hyper-sexualized Megan Fox business, although she was still a pretty cute ginger. Buy yourself a yellow boiler suit online and a cropped red wig (unless your hair is already the same color and style, in which case, you're awesome), carry a camera, and if you're feeling especially into it, get yourself some TMNT figurines. (Note: please be careful when Googling April O'Neil as there is a porn star by the same name, which is obviously NSFW.)
Emma Watson's UN Speech
Epitomizing poise and grace, Emma Watson floored us all with her feminist UN Speech. And all you would need to do for a costume is find a demure white shirt dress, slick your hair down, pop on a dash of red lipstick and hey presto – you're this year's leader of Tiny White Girl Feminism on Halloween. Step it up a notch and make a sign that says #HeForShe and wear it around your neck. If you really want to commit, start practicing your British accent, learn the speech by heart, and spend the night at whatever party you go to reciting it. (Note: that last part might lead to you never being invited to any Halloween party ever again, because while the speech was incredible, it's not exactly a recipe for fun Halloween party night times.)
Ripley from Alien
Sci-fi is a nerd-favored genre, but unfortunately there aren't all that many awesome multi-dimension sci-fi characters for women, as opposed to the plethora available to men. Sexism knows no bounds. Never mind though: instead of whining about it, space suit up (all you need is some blue jeans, and a retro jacket in a similar color you can sew some army style patches onto, which you can probably find at a thrift store), find a water gun at your local dollar store and paint it black, practice your best "Get away from her, you bitch" in the mirror and go as our Nerd Queen Supreme, Sigourney Weaver's Ripley from the Alien franchise.
Glory from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
I'm a huge Buffy fan, and there's plenty of powerful ladies to choose from on the show, but my favorite villain (and if you want to go with a deep cut rather than copping out and doing an easy Evil Willow or Drusilla) is Glory. All you need is a curly wig, a red dress, a gold choker and a relentlessly psychopathic attitude. If you want to really commit and have the time and sewing skills to do so, I'd say go really deep and cut that dress in half, attach it to half a pair of scrubs and go as Glory/Ben.
The Goblin King from Labyrinth
At first I was going to say go as Sarah, but she's kind of lame and horrible for a lot of the movie, whereas David Bowie's Goblin king is incredible. And who said this list had to be gender specific anyway? Aside from a Tina Turner wig, a cape and some crazy eye makeup, the most essential part of this costume will be the large, pair of balled up socks you stick down the front of your leggings.
An Actual Anaconda
Because not all women want to have their ass on display for the pleasure of men (but power to those that do as well), you can remain relevant and funny by going as an anaconda, or by wrapping a giant inflatable one around you. Obviously, it's a reference to the Nicki Minaj song, but you'll be an actual snake, and say things like "My anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hun," only speaking to people who have bread. Anyone who doesn't think this is clever does not have a sense of humor.
Romy, Michelle and Sandy (if you have a group)
My dream, for as long as I can remember, is to find friends that love me enough to go as a three-way Halloween costume that involves learning all the choreography to the Romy and Michele's High School Reunion "Time After Time" dance routine. The Sandy (Alan Cumming) costume can probably be put together with thrift store finds, but you're going to want to head somewhere like Mood and buy some feather boas and glitter fabric to make those Romy and Michele ones.