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BellaOnline's Etiquette Editor

Halloween Exhibitionists on Parade

I was once told that Halloween allows women the opportunity to be partial exhibitionists. Many possess a certain persona by day, even 24/7. Halloween offers a unique opportunity to look and act a little different from the norm, when considering what to wear for this unique holiday. Suddenly the suit-wearing conservative can wear a cat suit, or be a she-devil, a naughty nurse or a wicked witch. The possibilities are endless and many otherwise introverts enjoy a chance to branch out.

When considering what to be and wear for Halloween, the adjective ďappropriateĒ still applies. Many roll their eyes at this but come on, just like the term, ďitís not what you say, itís how you say it,Ē with respect to dressing up, ďitís not what you wear but where you wear it.Ē If you are attending an all-adult party or going to a bar, then the sky is the limit. You can be what you want, conservative, outgoing, sexy, exhibitionist or a little of everything. You are going to be surrounded by adults. The adults are going to appreciate your sense of humor and will probably ďgetĒ your get-up.

If you are dressing for a work party, however, even if itís all adults, keep in mind that you will see all of these people again tomorrow. Although I wonít go into how you need to consider behaving responsibly, you do need to consider the vibe you want to bring to your working peers. If cleavage (yours as opposed to a costume) is spilling out of your pirate get-up or your short skirt hardly covers your fishnet-covered back side, the boss and coworkers may question your agenda.

Unless you work in an adult-only place where you donít make an impression on anyone, you should ask yourself if there is a chance someone will bring their child to your place of work for any reason. Next you need to ask if you are going to make your boss uncomfortable. Many may balk at that statement, but they do sign your paychecks and in many cases itís not your business, itís theirs. So play the ďis it appropriate???Ē game and save the revealing, in-your-face costume for the after hours, adult-only, non-work soiree.

Finally, where kids are concerned, I mean really, do we have to go and explain? Bottom line is your excess showing of skin does not pair well with Kool-aid. If you are hanging out of your costume and a child (that would be a human being under the age of 18) or children are going to be there, you either need to cover up, leave or go to another party. Ask yourself just what are you trying to convey anyway. Consider if your Madonna cone bra and baring mid-riff is going to cause the general party population to enjoy themselves or want to ask you to leave. Of course you can get all worked up and say that the kids see more in a magazine. But are you sure their parents subscribe to those magazines? Are you sure you want to be the educator here?

Parties of all types are created so that everyone has fun. If you are having fun at the expense of families who were also invited to this party, then you are over-stepping a line. If you donít believe you can have fun dressed as a witch rather than a cat wearing a black thong, then youíve accepted the wrong party invite.

As always, itís not about you. Itís about the population at large. In this case, itís about where you go and who will be there. Once you get those demographics then plan your costume accordingly.

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