9 Sexy (and STRONG) Halloween Costume Ideas

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Peacock Mask by Tutu Gorgeous Girl

It’s that time again: the spookiest, sexiest, sugariest night of the year is almost upon us!

Halloween is THE BEST holiday. When else do we get a chance to bodily inhabit any fantasy we can dream up? AND have fun with friends and family? AND eat candy? It’s distinct from other major American holidays because (at least in the way it’s celebrated in modern times) it’s inclusive; you don’t need to be a particular religion, nationality, gender, age, or to have a family or partner to enjoy the best things about it. True, it’s origin may have been a little different, but I’ll leave that tale to a historian instead of a lingerie designer.

It’s a night of lighthearted fun — of surprise, delight, hijinks and gorging on candy. But it’s also a night to think, at least a little, about how we women own and don’t own our bodies and our sexuality in day-to-day culture and life — and how we can choose to shake up our body identities for one night. On Halloween, even if we are not consciously engaging in debates about gender politics, or necessarily making our choices based on philosophy, all of us who dress up are faced on some level with the woman-specific question: to slut or not to slut.

Milanoo Halloween Makeup

When did Halloween become such a flesh fest? According to a Slate article, the 1970s.

Ever since the Victorians started gallivanting around at costume balls in the 19th century, the holiday has been a costume event for children and adults. But it wasn’t until New York City’s gay men threw the first big, fun, drag-filled Halloween parade in 1973 that the modern risque version of the holiday was born. Now, THAT’S an origin story I love to tell.

Retailers of course soon realized the commercial opportunity, and now, forty years later, any nice suburban lady need only Google “sexy nurse costume” to have forty busty, garter-belted options to buy.

Every year on Halloween I look around the streets of New York City, and I think, “A leotard and spike heels is not a costume!… And neither are boobs! Boobs are not a costume!” I have mixed feelings about these women who choose to wear their sexuality AS their disguise for the night. I equally question our culture that seems to encourage us into the Madonna/whore dichotomy of womanhood — so that we feel pressure to be buttoned up all year and then overflow in this one-night-only explosion of cleavage and fishnets.

Actually, scratch all this. Maybe my main objection to these hypersexy interpretations of “Halloween costume” is not as a woman, but as a fashion designer. Dressing up as “Sexy” instead of as [fill in the blank] is a giant missed sartorial opportunity on Halloween night. Why not be both? Wear something that someone designed to look like SOMETHING other than sex. Look sexy and strong, or sexy and funny, or sexy and unique… or be a sexy monster (see below)!

A lot of the costume business overlaps with the lingerie world. It makes sense that lingerie companies design and manufacture costumes since they already have expertise in the construction of related silhouettes. So I thought I would troll the world of sexy costumes to come up with some recommendations that are sexy and strong. (Eds. Note: Click the photos to be taken to the costumes directly.)

Who’s hotter than Wonder Woman!? I would love the chance to inhabit a superhero’s superworld for the night. Comfy microfiber fabric, plus the slimming effects of a corseted top, PLUS the shimmer factor that I can’t get enough of…. this one is one of my faves.

Frederick’s of Hollywood Wonder Woman Costume

Continuing in the realm  of fantasy, here’s a cool anime-inspired costume from Final Fantasy XIII:

All Anime DVD Final Fantasy Costume

If you don’t want to go the superhero route, but covet the power of flight and a big bad stinger, there’s a swarm of costume options. I like the sequins and slim fit of this Bumblebee:

Lingerie Diva Buzzy Bee

And some playful thigh-highs to match:

Lingerie Diva Bee Thigh-highs

Monster costume is both playful and adorable. I imagine many folks would be thrilled to find this monster under their beds.

Leg Avenue Flirty Gerty Monster

If you really want to impress the guys this Halloween, what could warm their hearts more than a hot girl in a Stormtrooper costume?

Halloween Costumes Authentic Stormtrooper Costume

Finally, Halloween is the perfect opportunity for all you DIYers to practice your craft! Here are some inspirational pictures and tips.

Nothing would inspire me more to strut my gorgeous self than this beautiful Peacock-inspired tutu. Carrie, who owns TutuGorgeousGirl on Etsy, has both girls’ and women’s sizes. I would pair this tutu with a leotard and mask (see photo at top of article), and accent it all with some bright baubles.

TutuGorgeousGirl Peacock Feather Bustle Tutu

American Apparel Leotard

This five-piece Old West Outlaw getup is so authentic-looking and pretty. It seems to tell a whole story.

Passion Flower Vintage Old West/Pirate Costume

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can find a lot of home sewing patterns for all kinds of cool costumes, from crayons to wenches. Two of my favorite pattern companies are Simplicity and Butterick.

I’m a fan of this steampunk pattern. Making a boned bustier and structured bolero would be a great accomplishment this Halloween.

Steampunk Costume Pattern

And if you want to remember the origins of Hallow’s Eve, try out this sexy, mini-skirted witch!

Simplicity Witch Costume Pattern

And most of all, have fun!

I would love to hear your thoughts about what “sexy” means on Halloween. Even after writing this article, I am stumped this year about what I should be. Please help with tips, suggestions, and your own Halloween stories!

Mad Mimi Form


Laura a.k.a. Lola Haze

I’ve loved lingerie since before that was reasonable. I taught myself drawing, designing, and sewing, and after graduating from Harvard with an English degree, immediately went to work disregarding it and following my passion for fashion. After a few years designing for a big company, I went off on my own and started Lola Haze TM, (named after the title character in “Lolita,” my favorite book). Lola Haze is playwear for the bold woman who loves fun and dresses for herself! I feel happy and lucky that I get to love my job so much, and am thrilled to share my lingerie enthusiasm with The Lingerie Addict!

7 Comments on this post

  1. Maggie says:

    I love the idea of being strong and sexy (and smart!)!
    These ideals are not mutually exclusive.
    I also agree on never missing out on a good fashion opportunity. Last year a wore a corset top and made a mullet hemmed full skirt with pickups and a train for a steam punk party. Lots of fashion fun there!

    • Hi Maggie,
      Sounds like you’re an accomplished DIYer — I love the idea of making costumes, partly because it makes me nostalgic for when my mom used to make mine growing up (though more crayon than corset). Good luck topping last year’s costume.
      Thanks for your comments.

  2. Cherry says:

    I cannot TELL you how tired I get of seeing women dressed up in ill-fitting neon tutus, cheap stockings and animal ears and calling it a costume.

    I get cornered by the public every October and asked for my advice on fancy dress…whereas any other month of the year I get heckled in the streets. I always say the same thing ‘Lingerie and a leopard tail do not a costume make. Have a nice day.’

    This article was perfect, thank you!



    • Hi Cherry,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. As a lingerie designer, I do embrace every moment where lingerie can be worn out of the house…but I agree that beautiful lingerie and confident women deserve something to elevate the costume on Halloween.

      Hope you have a great Halloween in your fancy dress!

  3. TJ says:

    One of the television-era Catwoman costumes could be fun if the party was with folks who would recognize it. (for pics, google Catwoman + Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, or Eartha Kitt). Double points for getting a friend to dress up as a henchman. The Carrie Kelly version of Robin could be good too.

  4. Merry M says:

    Couple of years ago I went as a sexy jester. I was going to just buy one, but I couldn’t find a single one that wasn’t just a jumpsuit. Why would I want to wear a jumpsuit?! So I used a duck tape corset I made for the previous year’s Halloween with a checkered print and flounced skirt much like those silly hats. And it had bells. It was quite the DIY event. Halloween is the perfect DIY costume event if you don’t do anime or Renaissance fairs, and I love it.

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