Need more concrete guidelines?
First off, stay away from any costume with racial overtones (think Julianne Hough's "Orange Is the New Black"-inspired look" a few years back). This lesson was reinforced Wednesday when NBC "Today" host Megyn Kelly had to apologize for comments she made one day earlier saying that when she was a kid, it was acceptable to wear a costume involving blackface as long as it was respectful. ( Twitter promptly informed her it was not, even back then.)
Other terrible costume ideas: Any that make light of the oppression of a whole group of people (looking at you, Sexy "Handmaid's Tale"), appropriates the culture of an oppressed gender or race (hello, Native American Temptress), or indulges in animal cruelty ( remember the Minnesota Dentist?). It's just not worth it.
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And while it's obviously not on the same level of offensiveness as any of the costumes mentioned above, sexy versions of anything gross or grotesque (like last year's Sexy Pizza Rat, or pizza pasties for those who feel overdressed in a rat suit) are not the least bit sexy. (Oh, and while we're at it, Sriracha, while hot, is not sexy.)
Who decided all female Halloween costumes have to be sexed up, anyway? (Looking at you, whoever came up withSexy Anonymous New York Times Op-Ed Writer).
And exactly who finds a Sexy Freddy Krueger, Sexy Jason Vorhees, Sexy Beetlejuice or Sexy Chucky appealing?
On second thought, that last question is better left unanswered.