(Oct. 13) — Halloween is supposed to be a time when people pretend to be something they aren’t, but singles looking for love at parties may be revealing more than they want prospective partners to know.
That’s because revealing outfits are hot this year, with Lady Gaga-like lingerie and “Jersey Shore”-inspired tight tank tops topping the list with costume retailers.
Halloween has long provided an excuse for partygoers to dress in outfits bordering on the salacious, scary or even slutty. In fact, professional matchmaker Kim Primerano jokes that sometimes it seems those are the only costumes available.
“You go to any Halloween store and your only choices are to be a slut, a witch or a slutty witch,” she told AOL News. “I’ve seen a slutty Alice in Wonderland and a slutty Dorothy” from the “Wizard of Oz.”
But dating experts like Marc Rudov are giving a dressing-down to people who think they can wear a kinky costume on Oct. 31 without sending sexy signals to the opposite sex.
“I expect guys to wear gory costumes on Halloween — that’s to be expected,” said Rudov, author of the dating manual, “Under the Clitoral Hood: How to Crank Her Engine Without Cash, Booze or Jumper Cables.” “But if women are going to be slutty, it does send a signal. You can’t say, ‘I was slutty for Halloween, but that’s not really me.’
“You are what you project,” he said. “If you dress like a slut, don’t be surprised if people think you’re a slut.”
Ellen Rittberg, who writes about what it’s like to be single again after 31 years of marriage, says singles of both sexes should be careful of costume selection on Halloween.
“If I see a disgusting, dripping costume on a guy or ridiculously revealing costume on a woman, I automatically assume the person is not someone who shares my values as a friend,” Rittberg told AOL News. “We know Halloween is all about ghouls and goblins, but if a costume is really gross, it’s going to be a turnoff.”
A turnoff, maybe. A window into a person’s subconscious desires? Definitely, according to clinical psychotherapist Nancy Irvin.
“When a single person dresses slutty, he or she is sending a signal that he/she is acknowledging that there is an ‘inner slut’ that wants to be expressed or satisfied,” she said. “With a gory costume, someone is releasing some anger or dark aspect of the self that is definitely best kept repressed.”
Psychotherapist and relationship expert Mary Pender Greene is even more specific about the hidden meanings of Halloween costumes.
For instance, she says a French maid costume reveals someone who is very submissive, while a catsuit represents a desire for independence, and a vampire outfit reveals personality traits that revolve around the wearer’s fascination with the dark side — and perhaps a desire to get in touch with his or her own dark and scary self.
As kinky as that sounds, Irvin says Halloween can be a good time to express those attributes.
“We all have many facets of our personality; some we like to flaunt and have reinforced, some we want to disown or repress,” she said. “Halloween is a wonderful opportunity to express those parts of ourselves, in a safe, ‘judgment-free’ environment and ‘flex’ those parts of ourselves that generally stay repressed. It’s actually a very healthy thing to do.”
And while those repressed ideas may be shocking to some people, London-based dating coach Maximilian St Clair Holloway claims that if women want to meet guys, they are better off dressing in slutty clothes.
“Essentially, women respond to the character, whereas men respond to the look. So a woman dressed slutty will get a lot more attention and do well,” he said.
Case in point: Holloway says he knows a woman who went to a party wearing a great zombie costume and didn’t meet anyone because she didn’t look attractive.
“Men love to think they’re going to get somewhere with girls, which is why slutty costumes are so great. They give the allure of sex without giving it away itself,” he said.
Holloway also says there is a double standard between the sexes when it comes to Halloween costumes. “Men can pretty much dress up as whatever they want; it won’t matter,” he said. “I went to a party dressed as a pedophile, mustache and everything. Pretty creepy, right? Nope. Because I’m not a creepy guy.”
Holloway says he got lucky in that outfit as well.
“Women respond to fun, so if a guy is fun or doing something fun and a bit outrageous she will be interested or attracted,” he said. “The key is the man himself, not the costume — although it’s completely the other way around for women. This is why we get so confused about dating as we judge the other gender as ourselves and not a completely different entity.”
Despite Holloway’s belief that costumes don’t matter as much when you’re a guy, dating expert Sherri Langbert suggests that, generally speaking, guys are better off dressing as cowboys or vampires than as pedophiles.
“Women like the image of cowboys,” she said. “Rock stars are good, too, but if you’re going to be Elvis, try to be the young one, not the guy with sideburns and sunglasses — they hide the face.”
Langbert also says that if a woman wants to be sexy, a schoolgirl outfit is the best.
“It’s suggestive, but doesn’t show off everything — which is good because everyone has trouble spots,” she said. “On the other hand, the worst costume I ever saw on a woman was a gold digger outfit. It was basically a leotard with dollar bills pasted on it and she carried a pitchfork. No one came near her. They were afraid.”
Primerano says there is nothing wrong with dressing slutty on Halloween if all you want is a hookup for the evening, but if you want to attract someone who might have more longer-term potential, balance is the key.
“If you show cleavage, be more conservative down below, such as an Elvira or St. Pauli Girl costume,” she said. “If you’re showing off your legs, wear something more conservative on top. Also, if you’re throwing yourself out there at a place where there’s alcohol, you have to expect come-ons.”
Irvin also says that if you insist on wearing a completely wild, outrageous or tasteless costume, you may be better off sticking to familiar ground rather than partying with strangers.
“If you’re going to wear an extreme outfit, you are better off going to a place where people know you,” she said. “Remember what happened when Prince Harry wore a Nazi costume at a party?”