We’ve talked about costumes this Halloween quite a bit already, but we figure that, since it’s often such an integral part of the holiday, we may as well do it one more time. For many people who dress up in costumes on a regular basis for pop culture and anime conventions, there are some basic guidelines most know about how to treat someone in costume. They apply to this time of year, too.

First, showing skin is not an open invitation for touching. Second, cool costumes are not an open invitation for touching.

In short, keep your hands off.

Of course, this doesn’t quite apply to couples and family members. We’re sure touching’s like a requirement or something there, and most of the time, those people should know if it’s OK to touch or not. However, when a lady trots out onto the dance floor in a “sexy” costume, the outfit does not mean she is asking for some strange guy to come up and be inappropriate, just as women wearing clothing are not asking to be sexually harassed or assaulted.

There are many reasons that lady maybe chose that costume. There are bound to be a few out to score a hookup, but don’t assume, because there’s a high chance that assumption is wrong. Even if she doesn’t say anything, she might be incredibly uncomfortable with a stranger touching her. Maybe she gets anxiety attacks. Maybe she isn’t feeling well and only came out to have fun because her friends wanted her to. You don’t know. She likely just wants to look awesome, and her holiday shouldn’t be ruined because some jerk thinks she’s “asking for it.”

When someone else comes sliding in decked out in a super-awesome costume, that doesn’t mean it’s an open invitation to come pry off pieces or bend them around to see if they’re made out of what you think they are (the pieces, not the person). That costume probably took a lot of time, maybe a lot of money, and oh, by the way, you’re invading someone’s personal space, even if you know them. Just as with the previous example, you likely don’t know that person well enough to know what makes them uncomfortable. Most of the time, those people won’t say anything, because they don’t want to be rude to the person being rude. It’s a sad conundrum, but a preventable one.

Costumes are fun and can make the holiday all the more enjoyable for many people. You don’t have to be a kid to dress up, but as adults, we do need to be aware of our behaviors toward people wearing costumes and for while we’re wearing our own.

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