Halloween is a time for kids to go out and collect candy and adults to dress up and go to parties in sometimes restricting and revealing clothing. Ladies, when you’ve gone out this month, I’m sure you’ve seen the “Sexy Cop” and “Sexy Nurse” and “Sexy” things that should likely not be made into “Sexy” versions of costumes. And on the front of each of these costumes is a petite woman that has likely been photoshopped to no end. When body image is an issue you’re struggling with, it can be beyond difficult to see women that size and cope with the little voice in your head that tells you you’re not enough because you don’t look like her. You’re not good enough to wear a small costume like that. You’re too fat to get away with this costume. Or you’re too small to look good in that costume.
But if you enjoy halloween and dressing up, you can’t let that voice stop you from enjoying yourself!
Now, I don’t particularly love Halloween. I think just about everyone knows that about me – I’ve never had great experiences with it. And a big part of that as an adult is the body image issues I’ve had when it comes to costumes. Day after day as soon as October hits, women are bombarded with images like these:
While some costumes are certainly cute, and some women enjoy wearing them, it’s challenging to find the enthusiasm to dress up when the norm is minimal clothing on teeny tiny women. And when you struggle with body image, it can be even more difficult to find a costume that you enjoy wearing when you see something different in the mirror than what you would like.
When you’re trying to find a costume along the normal routes (like the pictures above) with body image issues, the biggest hurdle you’ll face is seeing yourself in the mirror. But it’s important to remember that what YOU see, isn’t always what other people see! Sometimes I look in the mirror and see the size 2x girl, but when I take a picture, I look more like the size L or M girl – and that’s okay! Remembering that you’re still working on your emotions and how you feel about your body can help you push passed what you’re seeing. And taking a friend with you certainly won’t hurt!
There’s a few key things you should take into account when you’re costume shopping:
- Make sure it fits comfortably: I am so guilty of this one – I’ve bought costumes before that I absolutely LOVED. They were so cute, but I didn’t really love how it looked on me in a reasonable and comfortable size, so I bought a size that looked better, but was ultimately uncomfortable. The sizes that look better aren’t necessarily the better size to go with! If you’re feeling like your breathing is slightly restricted when you’re standing up and EVERYTHING feels restricted when you’re sitting down or when you’re eating, it’s time to move up a size! If you’re going to a party all dressed up, the last thing you want to be is in pain and struggling to perform basic tasks like walking and eating all night long. Not only will you not have a good time, your body image may also take a hit knowing you weren’t “good enough” for the size you picked.
- Make sure you feel good in it: This one is more about appearance than size. When you have the right size outfit, it doesn’t always translate into something you feel great in. Do you feel good about the costume you’re in? Are you getting the look you were going for? Were you going for hot/sexy? Are you feeling hot/sexy in your costume? If not, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying, “This just isn’t working for me, let’s try something else.” Make sure that you love your costume on you, no matter everyone else’s opinion. If you like your costume, you’ll be much more likely to get out there and be excited about the skin you’re in!
- Don’t let the idea of your size dictate what you wear: One of the biggest issues women face costume shopping for Halloween is wanting to be sexy, but not feeling like they have the right body for it and being told they’re “too big” to pull off a sexy outfit. And while it can be really tempting to agree with the critics and tell yourself you can wear the corset and a mini skirt when you lose 10 more pounds, or you can wear that bodycon R2-D2 dress when you’re more toned and have hit your goal weight, I want you to ask yourself this: is waiting for an arbitrary figure goal going to make me happy? Sure, losing 10 pounds would be great, and getting more toned would be awesome. But neither of those goals should hold you back from enjoying the moments today that make you feel happy! If you want to wear the revealing outfit but think you’re “too fat”, wear it anyway! If you want to wear the tight costume but think you have “the wrong curves”, wear it anyway! As long as you’re happy, comfortable, and safe, your size shouldn’t decide your costume!
- And last but not least, possibly the most important thing to remember about Halloween costumes and body image is that It’s okay to sit this year out: This year, I’m not going to any parties. I’ve specifically stayed away from costumes because I’m struggling with my body image this month. It’s getting better, but I’m not really okay enough to wear what I would like to wear. So this year, I’m taking a break from the whole thing. I’m really not ready to get back into my Batman Tutu, so I’m not going to try. The important thing here is to know your limits and to know what sets off your insecurities. If I try my tutu on right now, it’s probably not going to fit the way I want it to – that’s going to send my already shaky self-image packing and I’ll be hiding in hoodies and loose jeans for the next 3 months. And honestly? That’s totally not worth it for a night of being in an awesome tutu. Maybe next year I’ll be able to get myself into a costume I really like regardless of my size, but this year it’s about taking care of myself and the work I’ve put into being okay with my size.
And that kind of awareness of my limits means I’ll be spending Halloween with my zombie cat being a Dinosaur with Vader feet and a virgin piña colada.
Happy Halloween, y’all! Stay happy, stay safe, and remember: you’re loved no matter your size and no matter your costume 🙂