October 25, 2021
10 fun costume ideas for a more feminist Halloween
Happy Monday, Feministas. We hope you're getting your pumpkin spice and equal rights on this spooky season, and enjoying all the crispy, cozy autumn vibes. As Halloween looms, we’re preparing to get dressed and go all out in the name of fun, feminism, and the fall of the patriarchy, babyyyy.
From political (s)heroes and lady sports stars to fictional females like Hermione and Elle Woods, these feminist ensembles are simple enough to whip up last minute and still make a statement when you answer the door for trick-or-treaters or waltz on in to a swanky costume party. So whether you’re going for fierce, flirty, or downright ridiculous, we’ve got a Halloween costume idea for you.
Feminist Halloween Costume #1: Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe is an Olympic gold medalist and a two-time World Cup champion, but if that’s not badass enough for ya, she’s also famous for her advocacy of equal pay. In 2019, she and her teammates filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation for their treatment of the women’s national team, saying “there is no level of status, accomplishments or power that will protect you from the clutches of inequity.”
Plus, who doesn’t want to see how they look with pink hair and a pixie cut? NOW IS YOUR CHANCE. And if you’ve got a group of friends who need ideas too, get a bunch of jerseys and go as the team! It’s a purchase that works well beyond Halloween.
Oh, and if soccer isn’t your game, pick a star from any sport. You’ve got Venus & Serena, Naomi Osaka, or Coco Gauff—badass tennis stars and activists. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, who recently testified before Congress with Aly Raisman about their team doctor’s sexual abuse and bravely spoke out about prioritizing mental health in competitive sports. The list of feminist ladies in sports goes on and on.
Feminist Halloween Costume #2: Hermione Granger
Throw on your best robes, grab a powerful-looking stick, and channel the scary feminist witch vibes of our very favorite know-it-all and mudblood, Hermione Granger. Then run around saying things like, “it’s feminist, not feminazi” and “what’s got your wand in a knot?” 10 points to Gryffindor each time you correct someone’s grammar or (wo)man-splain something like the boss witch you are.
Other fictional ladies we love? Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Velma from Scooby Doo. Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. And honestly, Dora the Explorer is the bomb dot com and the costume is a t-shirt, shorts and backpack. A breezy way to get some girl power into your costume this year.
Feminist Halloween Costume #3: Rosie the Riveter
Listen, sometimes clichés and classics exist for a reason... Rosie the Riveter is the pop culture symbol of feminism and bonus: everyone looks good in a jumpsuit and bandana. So make a statement, but make it laidback this year with a costume that’s empowering and actually warm, which is low-key a really nice perk on these chilly autumn eves.
Looking for a different kind of (s)hero vibe this year? There’s always Black Widow, Harley Quinn, Lara Croft, or one of the ladies from The Eternals (which isn’t out yet, but it’s directed by Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao and there’s tons of girl power to be seen in the trailer with Selma Hayak, Gemma Chan, and Angelina Jolie). Or just do the very hip thing and be Sae-byeok from Squid Games.
Feminist Halloween Costume #4: Patriarchy ghost
Is there anything scarier than misogyny? We think NOT. If you’re going for clever and feminist (and why wouldn’t you?), we’d like to recommend finding a pristine white sheet, cutting a few holes into it (you know, for eyes), and writing “Still Less Scary Than Misogyny” on it. See the cartoon at the top of the page? That could be you.
Complete the look by ranting about feminism to all of your fellow party guests and popping out of random corners, yelling, “Boo! The patriarchy is omnipresent and oppressive! It feeds on your complacency!” and “Do you know what’s more dead than a ghost? The GENDER BINARY” and “Who run the world? GHOULS.” You’re welcome.
Feminist Halloween Costume #5: Leslie Knope
“Harvest Festival? More like Harvest Best-ival. The Parks Department has planted the seeds, and now they’re harvesting the rewards.” Seasonally appropriate and punny as always, no list would be complete without our fictional feminist queen, Leslie Knope. Dedicated public servant and hilarious character from the iconic NBC show Parks & Rec, all you need to play the part is a blonde wig, a blazer and a Knope 2012 button (which can even be made out of paper).
If you want to go the extra mile, throw a photo of Madeline Albright into a picture frame and carry it around with you, or treat yourself to a personal party snack, consisting solely of waffles and way too much whipped cream. And if anyone tells you to chill out, graciously remind them that “one person's annoying is another person's inspiring and heroic." Too true, Leslie. Too true.
Feminist Halloween Costume #6: Notorious RBG
We know, we know. She's on literally every list. But have you ever seen a baby dressed as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice? It's absurdly cute and inspiring (the future is female!). And it’s maybe the easiest costume of all time to throw together last-minute: just a long black dress and a neatly tucked napkin at your neckline. Throw your hair in a bun, add some pearls if you’ve got ‘em, and you’re out the door in a tidy five.
Plus, with Roe v. Wade on the line as of late, we’re planning to channel RBG's legal power and feminist ethics whenever appropriate, which is always, including Halloween :)
Feminist Halloween Costume #7: Portlandia's feminist bookshop owners
Is there anything more fun than dressing up as a caricature of yourself? These ladies, played by Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, are parodies of feminist hippie-types who own a bookshop called Women & Women First and take feminist ideas gender and the patriarchy to absurd extremes.
If this speaks to you, grab a friend, some chunky glasses and clogs, and some frumpy, layered clothes, and walk around with cups of tea saying things like, “what are you some kind of gender detective?” and “no flow has ever stopped a woman.” You’ll be an absolute hit to anyone who knows Portlandia and if no one recognizes you, you can just take your glasses off and pretend you were going for Janis Joplin or Patti Smith. Win-win.
Feminist Halloween Costume #8: Cat-caller
Okay, here's what we're imagining: your standard cat costume with a terrifying (and punny!) feminist twist. Stop by Goodwill or maybe your grandparents' basement and get yourself one of those old school rotary phones as a prop. Or maybe cut some phones out of cardboard or paper and paste them to yourself. CAT + CALLER... the horror!
Want to go even harder? Flip the script by yelling things like "hey sweetheart!" and "come on, baby, where's that pretty smile?" at any men who have the audacity to walk by. We kid, we kid. Cat-calling sucks for EVERYONE and that's why it makes a very spooky, very scary on-theme Halloween costume.
Feminist Halloween Costume #9: AOC
Famous for unapologetically rocking heels, hoops, and bright red lipstick while she legislates and fights for her constituents, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a badass and chic-as-hell woman to honor and emulate on Halloween. And thankfully, there are more and more ladies in the House and Senate to choose from every year. If not AOC, why not Elizabeth Warren? Feels especially appropriate given the possibility of major childcare reform on the horizon (something she’s been fighting for her entire career!).
Have our Nasty Woman tee on hand? Throw on a blazer and that's Hillary Clinton—easy. Looking for a feminist couple's costume? Try being VP Kamala Harris and having your partner dress as the first First Gentleman this country has ever seen. Pow-HER-ful.
Feminist Halloween Costume #10: Elle Woods
Who says you can’t wear pink and smash the patriarchy? If you love fashion and feminism like we do, it’s hard to do better than Elle Woods for Halloween. And you’ve got so many outfits to choose from. Her pink bunny outfit that she wears to what she thinks will be a costume party (very meta). That green robe sweater she wears with her feather pen and notebook to her first class at Harvard?
Or the Jackie O-style pantsuit and pillbox hat from the Legally Blonde movie poster—a classic to say the least. Find yourself some blonde, curly hair and wear something chic and pink and people will know exactly what you’re going for. Bonus points if you can scrounge up a chihuahua named Bruiser, and bend and snap once or twice. As far as we know, it works every time ;)
Thanks for reading, Feministas. See you next week for more of The "F" Word, our weekly newsletter and blog on all things feminist, from activism to fashion and beyond. Want it delivered? Scroll down, sign up, and we’ll send it straight to your inbox.