October 23, 2020

The "sexy enemy" Halloween costume: Carnivalesque role inversion and sexual taboo bending to strengthen Us-Them boundary

As Halloween has become adult-oriented over the past 20 years, the "sexy Halloween costume" has become standard, and was satirized as early as 2004 in Mean Girls.

For the most part, the roles that the girls assume are not inherently repulsive, which would thwart their main goal of exuding sexiness at a Halloween party. Some roles are typically warm and feminine like the pet cat or nurse. Others are threatening and dangerous but not necessarily ugly, like the witch or devil -- both of which may deceive with outward attractiveness.

The sole possible exception is the sexy zombie, whose bloody / wounded / decaying body is inherently repulsive. Even there, most girls try to dial down the gore and play up the pallor, vacant stare, and so on, so as to be less disgusting. At the party, they do not move around lethargically and clumsily like corpses, and their normal-to-high energy level makes them seem actually alive rather than (un)dead.

Since Halloween is a holiday for the carnivalesque inversion of rules and roles, the trend is for girls to choose the threatening-but-not-ugly category, rather than the safe-and-familiar category. For one night, they don't have to project propriety, and they can take on the persona of someone they are prohibited from being during the rest of the year.

A similar logic plays out among the guys at the party: for one night, they are allowed to openly desire a member of some group that is otherwise forbidden for them to get horny over. The rest of the year, they must only openly desire nice respectable types, not a witch, devil, zombie, leopard, lusty schoolgirl, etc. -- all of which represent various sexually taboo groups (spirits, dead humans, animals, underage humans, and so on).

Even on Halloween, they are not violating these taboos outright, but only bending them. They're not lusting after an actual leopard, but a human girl wearing a leopard-print body suit. Not an actual high-schooler, but a 24 year-old in a plaid mini-skirt and white button-down shirt.

This is the social control function of a collective ritual like wearing costumes for Halloween. The carnivalesque inversion of roles maintains the status quo by allowing for some exciting -- if temporary -- dynamism, to counteract what would otherwise be an oppressively tedious static system. And the more rare the occasion, the more intense its expression -- which serves to satiate the participants with one great big indulgence, rather than leave them forever craving more if they were to only provide a lot of weak hits. The massive dose sends them into a refractory phase, like a hangover, and ensures that they won't be bending the rules for a long while afterward.

During the rise of Halloween-for-adults, the society has become increasingly polarized by political and cultural membership. That has given the holiday a new source of dangerous, threatening, forbidden types to dress up as (for girls), and to lust after (for guys) -- those who belong to a different political party or a different sub-culture. Call this the "sexy enemy" category of costumes. Not a personal enemy who you, the individual, has beef with -- but who you, as a member of Team A, are opposed to because they belong to the rival Team B. Someone from a group who your own group would never allow you to marry or have children with.

The earliest example is the sexy nun, which I can only date back to 2005 (see here). That sacrilegious trope has existed for far longer, I mean its form as a Halloween costume. That came in the wake of the Catholic Church pedophile scandal of the early 2000s, but has remained common through today, as part of the church-going vs. atheist culture war. As with the other examples, nuns are not inherently ugly, and their roles run the gamut from nurse to teacher to disciplinarian. But within the groups where the costume is worn, their role is "evil religious extremist".

The sexy lady cop can sometimes take on an Us vs. Them character. Generally the Halloween costume party fanatics are on the left half of the political spectrum, where cops are a political enemy group from the right half. That is compounded by the racial divide if the lady cop is white and the male spectator is black or Latino. It's hard to think of a group that black men bitterly hate more than "white cops" -- but if it's a white-woman cop wearing booty shorts and fishnets, then suddenly it's socially permissible among their group to back the blue (for one night, anyway.)

More clearly political is the case of right-wing talking head Tomi Lahren dressing up as celebrity leftist AOC:

Here, she's not dressing up as a generic "sexy leftist" -- perhaps wearing a Che Guevara shirt and dying her hair blue for the night -- but specifically AOC. This means that she and her audience believe that AOC is hot enough to serve as a sexy Halloween costume. The red-blooded red-staters in her audience could never be allowed to marry or have kids with AOC, but they still want to "fuck the liberalism right out of her". That too would violate sexual taboos, though -- you're not supposed to even sleep with an outgroup member.

However, if it's not the true AOC -- but a right-wing babe cosplaying as her -- then it's socially permissible among them to lust after the Commie from Queens. It's bending the norms rather than breaking them. And for the rest of the year, these left vs. right boundaries become stronger after being bent and tested on Halloween night. As in the lady cop example, this case has compounded thrills due to the racial factor, with a Nordic right-winger cosplaying as a left-wing Latina.

There was a similar case in the late 2000s and early 2010s, where left-wing guys lusted after Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin, but could only express this in a socially permissible way if it were actually a left-wing woman cosplaying as Palin (comedian Tina Fey or pornstar Lisa Ann). I wasn't at parties with the middle-aged target audience, but Google Images turns up plenty of results for "Sarah Palin Halloween costume".

Notwithstanding these left vs. right examples, polarization is a fractal phenomenon. It's not just the highest-level group, like the nation, that is polarized, but every level on down. The left is highly fractured within itself, as is the right. And each fragment of the left (or right) is itself fragmented, and so on down the line.

So by now it's not just the left dressing up as the right, but one camp within the left dressing up as another left camp. For example, here is Anna Khachiyan's costume from last year. She's dressing up as a basic Becky from the East Coast suburbs who's a regular at Starbucks, has a marketing consultant career, and loved Hillary Clinton in 2016. In other words, a "fellow" member of the left half of the spectrum, but still separated by a sub-cultural divide from the Bohemian olive-skinned ethnic from the urban core who's a regular at Sweet Green, has a niche podcast career, and loved Bernie in 2016. Her audience is from the same in-group, and instantly recognizes which out-group she is cosplaying as.

Choosing the Starbucks Becky reveals that the guys and girls of her sub-culture believe that this out-group is attractive, even if they would distance themselves from them by saying "conventionally attractive". To them, Starbucks Becky's are so attractive that they can serve as a sexy Halloween costume. Anna's fellow urbanite arts majors are prohibited from marrying or having children with someone whose favorite musician is Taylor Swift, and yet they can't help but lust after their long luscious waves, thigh-high boots, and intimacy-enabling lack of irony poisoning. However, if it's not a true Starbucks Becky -- but an art-hoe podcaster cosplaying as one -- then it's socially permissible among their group to openly lust after the type. (For one night, anyway, then it's back to the sub-culture war, whose faultline has been clarified by this boundary-bending exercise.)

Finally there was the case of strengthening the boundary between two factions within the Bernie left, the stylistically radical neoliberals vs. the anti-woke left. Although technically not for a party since she was only hanging out with herself on Halloween, here is a radlib girl cosplaying as the anti-woke left princess, Aimee Terese. As with Tomi Lahren dressing up as AOC, this girl did not wear generic signifiers to look like a generic "sexy anti-woke leftist," but specifically modeled herself after Aimee's iconic Twitter avatar. Both she and her audience feel that Aimee is unambiguously hot enough to serve as a sexy Halloween costume.

Normally, the radlib soyboys would never be permitted to openly thirst after a boo-hiss class-reductionist and anti-feminist, as much as they might want her. But if it's not actually Aimee, only a radlib thot cosplaying as her, then it's off to the horndog races. For one night, anyway, and then the radlib vs. anti-woke boundary gets stronger for the rest of the year after it's been bent and tested.

I'll add other examples in the comments if I think of them. But that covers the phenomenon from the highest to the lowest scale of group polarization.


  1. Surprised no libs or leftoids dressed up as Tulsi for Halloween. Wouldn't be hard to put together -- silver streak in black hair, tanned skin, bright-white pantsuit.

    They all lust after her thicc surfer babe bod, hypnotic guru-like gaze, and low-pitched lullaby voice.

    But she's anti-woketard, appears on Tucker and Joe Rogan, campaigns for the Deplorable vote, and wants to shake up the party coalitions rather than harden the existing ones even more into place. So for hardcore Democrat partisans, she's from the political enemy group.

    Hard to think of who the cosplayer would have to be, to make the likeness convincing. Not too many curvaceous types on the left... maybe Hallie Jackson, reporter from MSNBC? Thicc bod, tan, stoic facial expressions and voice, only would have to wear a black and silver-streaked wig. Also born in the first half of the '80s.

    Then the Democrat partisans could permissibly lust after Tulsi, since it would only be a cosplayer from their own team.

  2. Some anarcho chick should dress up as a sexy lady cop for Halloween, if they had an irreverent and thrill-seeking sense of humor (which most of them do not, but some might). In the thick of this intense anti-police zeitgeist, that would be the mother of all norm inversions.

    Don't know if there are IRL parties this year due to corona, but they could post pics to social media, with taboo-bending references in the caption.

    "All Cops Are Babes"

    "I'll have you saying, 'I can't breathe!'"

    Most leftist guys are subs, masochists, and cucks, they'd probably get off on the femdom angle.

    We'll see if any cop-hater has enough transgressive Halloween spirit to go for it.

  3. Aww, Anna K using "hidebound" on a podcast a day after I used it in the post on Millennial stubbornness about their rules of only celebrating Halloween on "the Saturday before". (Nice People Show podcast.) No hits for the word in her entire Twitter archive.

    See girls, that's why you read blogs instead of scroll through the take-sludge of a social media feed. You'll never get tickled by SAT words like "orthogonal" or "hidebound" on Twitter.

    It's not due to the character limit of a tweet, since people write threads that are cumulatively the length of a blog post.

    It's the difference in register -- nobody posts anything on social media that they feel really matters, or that their audience would feel like it mattered. It's utterly disposable, unstructured thought-chunks barfed out of the brain the nanosecond they occur to the poster.

    It's stream of consciousness from, and for, the most boring, ignorant, no-fun-having dorks on the planet.

    It's not even "mindless entertainment" -- it's so tiresome and joyless to scroll through it all! Seriously, pressure the few you know who are actually enjoyable to read, into starting a blog or group blog, where you can have your fun without constantly getting sucked back down into the take-vortex of a social media platform.

  4. Got a plan so sweet, make her wanna scream out MAGA. So I let her scream out MAGA.

    She, she, she pulled the lever hard for Trump
    She, she pulled the lever hard for Trump
    She, she, she pulled the lever hard for Trump
    She, she pulled the lever hard for Trump

    Shawty give no fucks
    Both the parties suck
    Shawty fine with cucks
    As long as they pay up
    Some Platinum Planner bucks

    And that's when
    She, she, she pulled the lever hard for Trump...

  5. Caroline's spin on the sexy nun: a corporeal Southerner dressed up as an ascetic Puritan. Pic --


    "Sexy" rather than "ordinary" Puritan clothing because the sleeves are shortened, exposing the forearm and wrists, like the sexy nun costume using a mini-skirt rather than a full-length dress.

    The use of "y'all" in the caption says the target audience is mainly fellow Southerners rather than Yankees, making this a true "sexy enemy" costume.

    For one night, Southern guys can lust after a boo-hiss frigid Yankee, if she's actually a warm-blooded Southerner in the guise of one. Bending, rather than breaking, the taboo against going for a roll in the hay with outgroup members. Then with that tension out of their system, they can return to hating Yankees with renewed vigor for the rest of the year.

    The trope of Puritans being repressed-yet-horny is well established, like the lusty nun, but I think this is the first time I've seen it as a Halloween costume. Especially in the "sexy enemy" category, from proud Southerners. Points for originality.

  6. PYT-approved Halloween music: Ministry's With Sympathy album, his only new wave / synthpop effort, but easily one of the best in the genre, and better than his metal material.

    I was blasting it out the windows while cruising down the main drag that cuts through a college campus and downtown. I figured since most indoor events are off for COVID, might as well bring the party-people pedestrians some spooky club music via the dance-mobile.

    When "Work for Love" came on, I was stopped at a light, and a group of scantily-clad college cuties started dancing their way through the crosswalk, shaking their booties and giving me some smiles in gratitude.

    That song is the most disco-friendly, with the chicken-scratch rhythm guitar and syncopated bass-line. But it's got those eerie synth flourishes, like a sting from a horror movie soundtrack.

    Another group of 20-somethings were dressed like Playboy bunnies, strutting their stuff to the beat once they heard it. The spirit took me over and as I passed them, I bayed like a wolf out the window, OWW OWWWWWWW.

    I told you guys, catcalling and wolf-whistling and the rest of it are coming back now that we're in the restless warm-up phase of the excitement cycle.

    The whole Ministry album is great, although the best choices for your Halloween dance party are "Effigy (I'm Not An)," "Revenge," "Work for Love," "What He Say," and "Should Have Known Better". If you're going outside the album, include "Everyday is Halloween" by them as well.

  7. The in-joke here is that Aimee and Anna are the least bi-curious wahmen on the left, and have said so on several occasions -- yet their fans will still imagine an Aimee + Anna + Angela podcast as a naughty sleepover where they're going to get it on, safely out of public view.


    This reveals a contradiction among the political junkie fan-base. Namely, political junkies are boob men and boob women, while lesbians are butt women (their own bodies have more in back than in front, and their tastes in other women focus more on the hips, ass, thighs, than on the breasts).

    Political junkies want it both ways -- girl-on-girl action involving busty babes. But cerebral boob women are the least likely to lust after lovely ladies. Bi-curiosity or full lesbianism belongs to corporeal butt women (athletes, dancers, strippers / porn actresses, etc.).

    On the latest Red Scare loveline episode, Dasha said she was more bi-curious than Anna (though still not in the middle of the spectrum), and had hooked up with a girl, whereas Anna had not. Sure enough, Dasha is more corporeal than Anna (her parents are acrobats, and Anna's are an artist and a mathematician), and more of a butt woman than Anna.

    Also a reminder from a series here several years ago, on crypto-trannies: guys fantasizing about girl-on-girl action are imagining themselves as one or more of the girls, since porn / erotica is about vicariously experiencing the act, as though you were taking part yourself.

    It's for guys with a weak or fluid sexual identity, who could easily slip into the role of "girl getting it on with another girl".

    Guys with a solid heterosexual identity, when fantasizing about an act involving more than one girl, imagine a scene of one guy and multiple girls, not multiple girls without a guy.

  8. A remarkable insight regarding white prog misunderstanding of blacks/hispanics:



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