This weekend, hoards of students will roam the streets of Ann Arbor dressed as celebrities, witches, animals and pop-culture references, while wearing costumes comprised of tight and revealing clothing.
Emily Richard, shift manager at American Apparel on East Liberty Street, said the store fills with shoppers searching for the perfect costume in the week leading up to Halloween — the store’s busiest time of the year. Though American Apparel doesn’t offer packaged costumes, she said it sells enough metallic spandex and lacy leotards to meet the demand of students trying to complete their collegiate Halloween ensemble.
Richard said she thinks female students often opt for more revealing costumes because of media influence.
“I think it’s kind of easy to go the slutty route because that’s how Halloween is marketed towards girls,” she said.
LSA freshman Abby Lyng and Engineering freshman Jillian Jackson said having the perfect costume is a one-way ticket to all the best parties, as students often compete for recognition for the time and money spent on their costumes.
Lyng said she dislikes dressing up in revealing costumes in the cold weather, but said that for her and many of her peers, practicality and sensibility are forfeited on Halloween weekend.
LSA sophomore Paige Lester, a member of F-Word — a feminist activist group on campus — said at the organization’s meeting last night that she thinks females on campus should be entitled to wear whatever they please on the holiday.
“I think that girls should be able to wear whatever they want on Halloween,” Lester said.
Based on costume sales at local businesses, many women on campus will wear relatively risqué costumes compared to a less sexy standard pumpkin or witch. Catherine Berlucchi, manager of Allure Boutique on East Liberty Street, said the items that transform a run-of-the-mill cat costume into a sex kitten are still in high demand. The store sells garter belts, bustiers and fishnet tights to meet the demand of students specifically before Halloween, Berlucchi said.
LSA sophomore Gia Tammone, another member of F-Word, said women often dress to impress their male peers, but she questions if the same is true for men.
“Girls are usually dressing for the guys because that’s what they think that they have to do,” Tammone said. “But are the guys dressing for the girls?”
As the only male member in attendance at the F-Word meeting, LSA senior Matt Mortellaro said he thinks students often dress up on Halloween with the intention of impressing others rather than for their own enjoyment.
“I reject the idea that we dress strictly for ourselves,” Mortellaro said. “I’m not sure that’s possible.”
Though there might be a mentality among female students that men prefer scantily dressed women on Halloween, some male students believed the contrary. LSA freshmen Scott Marlatt and Benjamin Schmutzer said they would rather approach a girl dressed in a creative and unique costume at a party, rather than a girl dressed provocatively.
“I think that it’s wrong,” Marlatt said. “A lot of girls are pressured into it because it’s what every other girl does … the nurse costume, the sailor — all those things are overplayed.”