The annual dilemma when it comes to Halloween is whether one's costume should be creative or slutty (it's a specifically feminist dilemma, BTW; most of the guys I know have fairly firm opinions on the matter). Halloween, when you're female, is one of the few nights you can dress like a sexy devil, naughty nurse stripper with a Get out of Cliché Jail Free/No Questions Asked About Daddy Issues card.

I have never dressed as a devil/nurse/stripper myself, although a combination of laziness and frugality did lead me to costume myself as a variety of "angels" several years in a row (Ice Angel, Sweet Angel, Girl Wearing Shirt That Said Angel On it Angel). But my two best Halloween costumes, IMO, were when I emulated my favorite sci-fi action heroines. One year I went as

, an empowering costume only slightly deflated by the endless "You should never be blond" comments I received throughout the night. Last year I went as

Alice from Resident Evil

, complete with my own Zombie, and it was the total shiznit, although I froze my ass off. (I also got props for the year I went as Amy Winehouse, possibly because I managed to stay in character for most of the night; method acting, works like a charm).

This year I'm back to a concept costume (stay tuned), but for those of you with more wherewithall, here are

Five Sci-Fi Action Heroines worth dressing up as—with my two cents for how to pull it off right.
“Pris,” Blade Runner
I personally would never be able to pull off Pris

, since it would not only require going blond again, but also going tall. Clearly, if you already have those two things down, you're just two hours worth of eye makeup away from being one bad-ass "pleasure model" replicant.

Be sure to stay in character by pretending to be a mannequin and then trying to strangle someone with your thighs

. Seriously, guys love that. Side note: As a child, I was semi-convinced that I was a Nexus 6, which I'm thinking is the super-geeky version of thinking you're adopted.



River, now that I think of it

, would be very easy for me to dress up as without any preparation: Long unbrushed hair: Check. Unpredictably combative nature: Check. Clothes that never seem to fit right: Check. Would probably have to practice catatonic stare a little bit. Maybe. Bonus: Get to spend the night saying weird stoned-sounding shit to everyone without repercussions.

Optional for staying in character: Beat up everyone in the room.

"Trinity," Matrix
As one witty poster notes on the youtube page for this clip

, "If Trinity was any hotter, her outfit would catch fire." Boo-yeah! Who says the Internet is an intellectual wasteland? The downside of the Trinity costume, of course, is lack of timeliness. The upside is, you can buy it

, and vinyl, I'm told, is rather warm. Even better, talk a man friend into dressing as


Dramatic Entrance: Enter parties fake machine guns a blazing!

This will either be entertaining or offensive, depending on what kind of parties you go to.

"Alice," Resident Evil
Clearly, the Resident Evil costume is all about the dress

. I lucked out last year because I found the exact right dress at Mess for a size 14. Then I really lucked out when my friend altered it for me. My boyfriend bought me the wig and the gun (with a bit too much eagerness, I might add, but that's another story).

. And, since it's Halloween, I can't restrain myself from posting a

, which shows the costume in action. If all that alteration stuff sounds exhausting, you could easily go with


Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I'm torn, here, between wanting to assert for the record my extreme longevity as a Buffy fan

, and not wanting to date myself too much. (Also, apologies that I don't have a better Buffy clip, youtube is a Buffy wasteland of crazed video responses dubbed and set to horrible music. I had to give up). Suffice it to say, I dressed up as Buffy for Halloween long enough ago that no one I knew then even owned a digital camera (hence the lack of photos) and the iphone was but an idea in the mind of...whoever invented it. Anyway, Buffy, I'm thinking, makes for a timeless costume, and going as Buffy also gives you carte blanche to start shit with anyone dressed—god forbid—like a character from Twilight. Also a super easy costume:

leather pants

(which I borrowed);

blond wig

(also borrowed and, returned with defeated expression on face),

wooden stake

(borrowed, although now that I think about it, why did someone I know own a wooden stake?),


around the neck. The last item can be a particularly transformative prop if your last name is Goldberg.

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