As a teenage girl, the idea of choosing a Halloween costume fills me with dread.

Browse any Halloween costume website, and you'll see that for girls who have outgrown children's sizes, selections are limited to costumes with names such as Bad Kitty, Teenage Runaway Schoolgirl, Maid of Lace and Sweet Suga Mama Sexy Adult Pimp/Ho. In case you think you've accidentally clicked on a porn site, be assured you haven't. These are actual names of costumes.

Halloween used to be my favorite holiday. I loved the opportunity to dress up and act silly with my friends. I still love the holiday, but now I agonize over the lack of costume choices. When I visited a Halloween store recently, the female section had frilly princess costumes for children, and the aisle directly across had women's costumes that ranged from a sexy police officer with a miniskirt and fishnet leggings to a naughty vampire slayer equipped with a skintight shirt and extra-short shorts.

In the male section, options abounded: superheroes, ninjas, pirates, cowboys, even professionals such as doctors or firefighters. The only occupational costumes in the female section were prefaced by the word “sexy,” as in sexy doctor or sexy nurse.

The message is clear: Boys have lots of choices to be whatever they want, while girls generally fall into two categories — princess or trollop. These categories don't mirror the reality of girls in our world. Do people seriously think that teenage girls transition immediately from children's costumes to fishnet stockings and sequin-tasseled bras?


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I realize some girls use Oct. 31 as an excuse for wearing more revealing clothes. For me, the question is whether girls wear provocative costumes for themselves, or if they've been brainwashed to think that it's normal for girls to go from princesses to dressing less once they reach a certain age. I fully support girls who have the self-confidence to express themselves through what they wear, but many girls my age are pressured into sexualizing themselves as a way to get attention.

Is there any alternative for girls to dress up and have fun without baring it all? Yes, if we take control of the situation. We don't need to fit ourselves into someone else's stereotype of how we should look. Instead, let's get creative. That's the path I've taken the past couple of years. I've gone “goth” for Halloween by coloring my hair with temporary dye, wearing fake piercings and dark makeup. I've also paired up with friends as triplet nerds by wearing mismatched clothing and 3-D glasses without the lenses.

I'm still working on my Halloween costume idea for this year. Some of the contenders include being a “fangirl” by wearing shirts that bear images of Justin Bieber and One Direction along with fake tattoos, jewelry and carrying accessories such as a guitar or drumsticks. Since I enjoy puns, I'm also thinking about dressing up as a bag of M&Ms by wearing a rain poncho with a bunch of cutouts of rapper Eminem. In addition, I have some group costume ideas, such as dressing up as the seven deadly sins with my friends.

The point of Halloween is to have fun. Girls who no longer fit into children's sizes should still be able to enjoy dressing up without resorting to sexing it up. A whole world of girls wants to have fun and dress up for Halloween but isn't willing to wear costumes that have little more fabric than a handkerchief. This is a market waiting for some smart retailer to tap. In the meantime, it's time to take matters into our own hands. When it comes to costumes, the only limit is our imagination.

The Life in Perspective board is made up of teens who write for the features sections. Caitlin Cozine attends Los Gatos High School.