Halloween and sexy costumes go together like Harley Quinn and the Joker, like apples and oranges,  like condoms and safe sex. But there are a few things a lot of people seem to forget about anonymity and boundaries. So here's a friendly fucking reminder: 

Tips for a Happy Halloween:

Fucking Ask First! And Stay Classy Fuck Buddies!

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Dan Savage calls Halloween the straight pride parade, and I can certainly see where he’s coming from. But I’ve always seen it as a chance for everyone to let their freak flag fly. It’s an excuse to try new things and to play dress up. For some, it’s a safe space for trying on a new gender expression, for others, they can try out a new kink or new persona. And for others, it’s the one day a year they get a free pass to dress as provocatively as they want. It’s a shame that our culture doesn’t give people these freedoms year-round. But until that happens, Halloween will be that chance for many folks.

For some reason these costumes also seem to make onlookers loose all sense and decorum.  I see this behavior a lot, and not just on Halloween. When I’m hosting or working as a dungeon monitor at play parties, the same dynamic unfolds. People seem to think that if skin is exposed, it’s fair game for touching. Especially when people have been drinking.

Grab first, ask questions later...?

The other thing - besides bare skin - that prompts this response is things onlookers deem ‘not part of you.’ I’ve had this happen to me countless times when wearing a costume that includes ears and a tail. I’ve got a couple bunny costumes that are my go-to for sexy dress up events. And otherwise rational people will reflexively grab my ears and tail. It’s obnoxious, it’s annoying, and it doesn’t lead to a good time.

I also see this play out when people who usually present as masculine dress up in a feminine costume, especially if they add a padded bra. I’ve seen whole rooms full of people act as if these breasts are fair game because they’re not ‘real.’

Ears and tails and breasts and skin.... Oh my!

The problem with all of this, the ears, the tails, the breasts, and any other body parts, is that they are real. They’re no more fair game for grabbing than a scarf or earmuffs, or anything else you might wear out in the world. And this unwanted touch at parties, bars, or on the street leaves the person being grabbed feeling on edge and unsafe.

It’s important to remember that even though Halloween is a time to explore new sides to your personality, a time to let your inner demons or animals out to play, the normal rules of engagement still apply.

Fucking Ask First: 5 Tips for a Happy Halloween

Catcalling is never fucking cool:

Don’t yell at people from a distance or catcall them! If you see someone wearing a costume you really like, feel free to say so - politely and to their face. Try, “Hey, I love your costume.” And let their response guide whether the conversation continues.

Can I fucking touch that?

If someone’s costume is made of interesting fabrics, has a fluffy tail, or there’s something you’re drawn to and want to explore, ASK FIRST. Try, “Wow, that tail looks so soft. Can I touch it?” But be ready to take a ‘no’ gracefully, and don’t ask a second time.

Fuck the paparazzi!

Want to take a picture of someone or with someone? You guessed it - you still have to ask. Taking a picture of someone without asking is nearly as invasive as touching them, so don’t be that person. Lots of folks will be happy to have their costume captured for posterity in a photo, but some people don’t like pictures to appear online and other people just aren’t in the mood. And that’s okay.

Draw that fucking line in the sand.

Are you the one wearing the saucy or touchable outfit? Don’t hesitate to enforce your boundaries. It’s always a good idea to go out in pairs or groups when people are drinking or getting rowdy. On top of that, some people wear buttons or stickers telling folks to “Ask First.” That may not go with your costume of choice, but it might head off some unwanted touch.

If someone does reach for you without asking, don’t hesitate to take a step back and stop them in their tracks. Remind them to ask before they touch. Or simply say your outfit is for looking at, not touching.

No means FUCKING NO!

And if anyone isn’t taking no for an answer, be sure to tell the party host, venue owner, or bar manager. Most spaces will take bad behavior seriously and toss someone out when needed. And if they won’t? Well, there are plenty of other places to spend your time and money. Feel free to move on to a place that creates a safe environment for people to get their Halloween groove on.

 

Stella Harris is an author, educator, and coach who helps people build the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to explore their sexuality safely and free of shame. You can learn more about Stella, or schedule a consultation, on her website, or follow her on Twitter: @stellaerotica or IG: @stellaharriserotica


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