Halloween Costumes for the Frustrated Feminist

By Kara Lessin

Love Halloween, but sick of pulling out the same tried and true feminist costume you’ve donned every year since you were sentient to try to combat the idiots who contribute to the yearly racist, sexist, exploitative screwing-up of a holiday that could otherwise be a celebration of candy and sparkles? Let Manifesta guide you through the process of finding your inner self, your deepest fear, or, just through emulating your favorite people.

Let the performativity begin!



Boy in Salmon Pants

Physical Requirements: Salmon, Pink, or Nantucket Red pants.
Emotional Requirements: The confidence of a thousand suns.


Physical Requirements: Whatever reads as “man” to you.
Emotional Requirements: Disregard anybody else’s intelligence or opinions. Particularly disregard if that person reads as possessing female body parts.

Scott Brown

Physical Requirements: Pick-Up truck.
Emotional Requirements: Desire for power, and no connection to any state or people.

Christopher Columbus

Physical Requirements: Silly hat, I’m told.
Emotional Requirements: Screw up, play it off as success, fuck everyone.

Scott Walker

Physical Requirements: American flag pin and a suit.
Emotional Requirements: Hatred for workers and their unions.

A Dress Code

Physical Requirements: A poster board full of “do-nots.” (The world is about do-nots; it is never about dos.)
Emotional Requirements: The belief that demonizing women is the way to go about life.

Sheryl Sandberg

Physical Requirements: Great clothing, paper doll husband and children.
Emotional Requirements: A deep care for the location of parking spaces, and very little interest in people who are less than you.

Ann Coulter

Physical Requirements: Aura of terror.
Emotional Requirements: Emptiness.

Antonin Scalia

Physical Requirements: Black Robe. A frown, even when you’re smiling.
Emotional Requirements: A meaningful love affair with the Constitution that makes other people uncomfortable.

Group Costumes: 77 cents, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and possibly A Number of the Embodiments of Your Daily Lived Experience.



Dorothy Parker

Physical Requirements: The best damn deadpan on this hemisphere.
Emotional Requirements: Strength, terror, brilliance, terror, terror, terror, wit, terror

Frida Kahlo

Physical Requirements: Braided updo, flowers, bangin’ thick eyebrows.
Emotional Requirements: Call yourself a bitch and a painter. Love Communism. Be amazing.

Michelle Obama

Physical Requirements: J. Crew wardrobe. Insane muscles.
Emotional Requirements: The knowledge that you’re better than most, if not all, of the Cabinet. A love of vegetables.

Taylor Swift

Physical Requirements: Cat eyes makeup.
Emotional Requirements: All the feelings.

Tavi Gevinson

Physical Requirements: Maybe blue hair, maybe blonde. Pick a magical iteration of Tavi, and go wild.
Emotional Requirements: Know that you are the best.


Physical Requirements: Huge hair, a couple of Grammys, and baby you won’t let anybody look at.
Emotional Requirements: Having gotten through everything, you know you are better than everyone, and know that everyone knows it. This leaves you satisfied.

Zooey Deschanel

Physical Requirements: Inexplicable adorableness and incredible eyelashes.
Emotional Requirements: Walk around like a ukulele is accompanying your every move.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Physical Requirements: Flowers in your hair and a microphone.
Emotional Requirements: All of the class.

Hillary Clinton

Physical Requirements: I’m sorry, it’s true: a pantsuit.
Emotional Requirements: A constant nagging annoyance regarding that pet of yours, Bill. Should you have kept him after all?

Condoleezza Rice

Physical Requirements: A cell phone with every powerful person’s number on it.
Emotional Requirements: Joy in baffling the world. Who are you, Condy?

Janet Mock

Physical Requirements: The brightest, most beautiful smile.
Emotional Requirements: Patience.

Malala Yousafzai

Physical Requirements: Backpack, Nobel Peace Prize.
Emotional Requirements: Strength, power, courage.

Mindy Kaling

Physical Requirements: A piece of clothing with a belted peplum, a large check for the Mindy Project from Fox.
Emotional Requirements: Self-confidence and appreciation for all things silly.

Shonda Rhimes

Physical Requirements: Classy Dartmouth paraphernalia, presumably.
Emotional Requirements: You own the world. People will figure out more about it next Thursday.

Olivia Pope

Physical Requirements: Clothing that is white, silk, or both. A wine glass that is as large as your perfect face.
Emotional Requirements: Perfection, but the inability to kill all the people you would need to in order to go down the chain of command to assume your rightful place as POTUS.

Nicki Minaj

Physical Requirements: Doesn’t matter, just make it bright.
Emotional Requirements: Doesn’t matter, just make it bright.


Physical Requirements: Blue Ivy and an aura of mystique and power. Also, those legs.
Emotional Requirements: Nobody knows.

Misty Copeland

Physical Requirements: Leotard and ballet tights.
Emotional Requirements: “Fuck the haters.”

Margaret Cho

Physical Requirements: Tattoos and an unbelievable talent for making impressions of your mother.
Emotional Requirements: Have them all, and tell everyone.

Group Costumes: Pussy Riot, Orange is the New Black, the Supreme Court triumvirate, Title IX, Venus and Serena Williams, the Spice Girls, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast, or any combination of Orphan Black clones.

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