When it comes to Halloween costume options for women, nothing seems to be safe from being transformed into a sexy costume. A while back ago we introduced you to the sexy hamburger, and that was just one of hundreds of cheesy iterations of food costumes you could find in the shape of a tube dress. Since then, things have gone even further (as if that’s possible) into the sexy realm, and not just for women, but for girls too. Sexy cop anyone? If you haven’t seen it, we encourage you to check out the prolific discussion we had on our Facebook page about the topic.

So what is a woman supposed to do if they aren’t into being a sexy whatever? That’s exactly the question women’s history writer Suzanne Scoggins asked herself when she launched Take Back Halloween, a costume reference site “to make the world safe for creative and empowering costumes.”

“We think it’s cool that there’s one day a year when people can dress up as anything they want. What we don’t think is cool is that, increasingly, the only costumes available for women and girls are of the ultra-sexy persuasion,” Suzanne explains on the site. “There’s nothing wrong with sexy (for adults), and if you want to go that route, fine. Have fun! We just want there to be other options as well.”

Founded in 2010, Take Back Halloween is the first venture of Suzanne’s Real History Project, which is about “popularizing a deeper and broader understanding of the past – the real stuff, not just the Dead White Male version of history.”


Ada Lovelace

The overall approach is about creating great costumes with items that are already in your closet, or easily accessible and affordable. No sewing! Take Back Halloween isn’t selling anything, they are strictly a resource guide. They come up with the costume designs, explain what you’ll need to pull off the look, and provide links to where you can buy the various components.

You won’t find what’s already available in stores here, instead they offer costume ideas in a variety of categories including: Glamor Grrls (i.e. Anna Wong, Billie Holiday, Dorothy Dandridge); Goddesses and Legends (i.e. Artemis, Asase Yaa, Mama Quilla); Notable Women (i.e. Bessie Coleman, Ada Lovelace, Frida Kahlo, Madam Walker); and Queens (i.e. Catherine the Great, Carlota of Mexico, Nefertiti, etc.).

In addition to being an awesome costume resource, Suzanne and her team also provide accurate historical information about every single figure, so you can get a quick history lesson while scouring for your go to look, and then school your friends on the badass woman you are representing.

Bessie Coleman

Check out all of the super cool ideas here and Take Back Halloween!

More about Suzanne

suzannescogginsI started out training as a historian, but in my twenties I ran away to join the circus and became a professional stage actor. In my thirties I worked in the finance industry, inventing a patented artificial intelligence system to mimic the thinking of financial planners.

I retired from the corporate world at 40 to devote my time to writing and feminist activism. In 2008 I helped launch three podcast programs, two websites, and one non-profit advocacy group run by Clinton campaign supporters.

In 2009 I co-founded Equal Visibility Everywhere (EVE), dedicated to achieving gender parity in the symbols and icons of the United States. Our early successes include the Harriet Tubman Statue Project. In 2012 EVE was officially commissioned by the Governor of Kansas with the task of placing a new statue of Amelia Earhart in the National Statuary Hall Collection.