Sexy Costumes are So Hack and So What?

My wife almost dumped me over a sexy Halloween costume.

Gretchen was my new L.A. girlfriend back in 2002.  She and her on-air partner dressed up as ‘Bedroom Mechanics’ for an end-of-October CBS Radio event they attended.  Picture two young hotties in ‘dirty’ coverall cut-offs showing cleavage and legs, tool belts and shoulder straps filled with massive sex toys and various lubes, combined with lots of ‘here’s how to get that engine of yours running’ talk.

Sexy, right?

Only not to me.  At least not at the time.  Want to know the first words out of my mouth when she showed me the outfit?

“No offense, but I’ve always thought of sexy Halloween costumes as being kinda hack.”

That shoulda been game over.

In comedy, calling somebody’s choice ‘hack’ is the ultimate insult.  You’re telling them they’ve made an easy choice, they’ve trodden down a familiar path, they’re a knock-knock joke in a world of Pryors and Carlins.  But what I said was true – I have always thought of sexy Halloween costumes as being hack.  Sexy anything is an easy choice if you’re a woman – but that’s not why I was wrong.

I didn’t understand why adults wear costumes on Halloween.

Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist and host of “The Power of Different” podcast, calls October 31st  a “night of permission giving” that permits us to take risks, or indulge in something we partially long for, or something taboo that we may find enjoyable.

“You’re not worried about being judged,” Saltz told Medical Daily. “You get attention you unconsciously or consciously want.”  (Link to Article)

Gretchen consciously wanted my attention.  Duh.

We’d only been dating for three months at that point, she was fluffing up her peacock feathers for me, and I shut her down out of ignorance.  And arrogance.  And jealousy.  She looked hot, but she was mine, and a lot of drunken guys would be seeing that outfit and desiring my lady.  Never mind that we were going to West Hollywood that night where the fellahs weren’t exactly looking at her that way, her ‘Bedroom Mechanic’ costume was an invitation to sexual conversation and I couldn’t handle it.

So I called it hack.

According to that same Medical Daily article, when people choose to turn their costumes into sexy costumes, it’s because “they want to adopt a sexy and playful persona that they don’t show off during a normal day.”

And what’s wrong with that?

In an America full of Cosby’s and Weinstein’s, it can be an open invitation to the creeps.  The thought of the attention Gretchen would get by being publicly sexy was too much for me.   I couldn’t handle being the boyfriend of the hot chick being hit on by horny drunk dudes.  It’d be a night of jealous-me trying not to punch guys for saying stuff, so I called her costume hack.  Then she called me a judgmental idiot and we fought hard for a good hour over it.

But she didn’t dump me.

Instead, despite being understandably insulted and infuriated, she threw together a Mad-Max-type of costume and covered her face with white paint and a blue-and-red snarl.  The pictures of her on that night show an angry, post-apocalyptic, black-leather-clad biker with a permanent sneer on her face.  After all the grief I caused my future wife by judging her choice of Halloween mask, one thing was certain that night.

She was still sexy.

And a few horny drunk guys still hit on her, but she handled it like she always does, with precision and clarity. She didn’t need my help once, never does.  Turns out women have to deal with these pigs no matter what they wear or don’t wear, whether they dress up or down, and if you want a steady gal you best understand that.  My jealousy and inflated ego tried to shut Gretchen’s sexy down, as if that were my call, but it wasn’t.  Guys aren’t in charge of that.

Which is where I was wrong.

And I’ve paid for it every Halloween since. For fifteen years now, Gretchen has refused to dress up as the sexy anything for Halloween.  Sadly, I’ve ruined that for us forever.  Of course, no matter what costume Gretchen wears now, it’s sexy to me – that’s actually an easy choice for me to make and a path I’ve trodden often ever since.

Guess that makes me the hack now.

  • Mike Lukas


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