Are Halloween Costumes Getting Too Absurd?

Published 10/17 2013 09:15AM

Updated 10/17 2013 09:18AM
This Halloween, no inanimate object is safe from being transformed into a "sexy" costume. Just add a miniskirt and a tight top and you can have a sexy corn, sexy pizza, or sexy bathtub ensemble.

And don't forget the showerhead choker.

The Halloween industry is scary big. Total consumer spending on costumes, treats, festivities, and even pets is expected to reach $6.9 billion this year, according to a National Retail Federation forecast. That's down from $8 billion last year because of the weak economy, but still 55 percent higher than 2005, and slightly higher than 2011. As the market has grown, so too have the iterations of "sexy" costumes.

"It's starting to get silly," said Mandy Mandelstein, a 23-year old filmmaker exiting a Spirit Halloween store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. "Why would you dress up as a bathtub?"

Upstairs in the adult women's section at the costume shop, few of the outfits appeared designed to keep away a crisp autumn evening's chill. Most incorporated miniskirts, boy shorts and bare arms in the pursuit of dressing up as characters like Sexy SEAL team member, Sultry Swat Officer, Dirty Cop, Snow White, or sexy clown, monster, or Mario Brother.

There was also a "sassy" version for woman of "Rick Grimes," the sheriff's deputy from AMC's Walking Dead.

The definition of what constitutes a "sexy" Halloween costume has been quickly expanding in the past few years, said Chad Horstman, CEO of, which, along with lingerie, says it boasts the largest online selection of sexy Halloween costumes. Previously limited to old standbys like sexy cop, sexy maid, and sexy nurse, in 2010 Horstman started to see the more unique designs drawing customer interest. So he began designing new costumes to capitalize on the trend, like fox, watermelon—a dress with a hip-baring bite taken out of the side, and other food, like pizza and corn.

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