Sexy Halloween costumes used to mean tight dresses, short hemlines and tall heels all reminiscent of a sex shop fantasy outfit. But now we have Sexy Pizza Rat, Sexy Cecil the Lion, Sexy Donald Trump and Sexy Minion.

The trend has inspired fierce debate across the Internet, including one essay titled, "I Have No Problem With My Tween Wearing Sexy Halloween Costumes." "Tweens and teens are supposed to experiment with their image, their gender identity, and yes, even their sexuality. It’s normal," the writer argues.

Critics of the sexy Halloween movement, however, argue that sultry costumes degrade women by defining them by their appearance instead of other attributes, such as intelligence and kindness. For many, the trend can especially be problematic when sexy costumes are aimed at a young crowd. "Can’t we still have children parade around the neighborhood for candy looking like some version of Big Bird or a Bumble Bee, rather than a, well, a slut?" argued an Atlanta Journal Constitution writer. "Men may be the only ones having fun with their Halloween costumes. Because the pressure is rarely on them to look hot or sexy, they can enjoy the one night of the year when we’re supposed to look terrible."

In case you think the people behind sexy costumes have no standards, Chad Horstman, CEO of, which made sexy versions of Pizza Rat and Cecil the Lion costumes this year, said he does follow certain guidelines. "We try to stay away from religious things," he told Maxim. "You know, like nuns and priests. Just anything religious we don’t sell. I feel bad saying this because I’m not gonna to word this correctly ... like we didn’t sell Bin Laden, because it was basically just a Muslim outfit. So we stay away from anything religious, which a lot of companies do. Sometimes one or two sneaks in just ‘cause we carry like five thousand. We also left Hillary alone. We didn’t think that would be good."

But here's the thing: Who says dressing sexy has to involve flashing inches of cleavage and thighs? One study found men reported traits such as courage, honesty and individuality as sexy. At the same time, for most women, expressing sexual confidence means being in a loving, long-term relationship.

Below are 14 ideas for how to dress sexy this Halloween, because it's your body and you get to decide what sexy means to you. "We need the regular sight of diverse reality to wear away the plastic-stereotypical-perfect image against which we've each been taught to measure our selves," feminist icon Gloria Steinem has said. "The impossible goal of 'what we should look like' has worn a groove in our brains. it will take the constant intimacy of many new images to blast it out."

Wearing scary face paint? That's sexy.

RTR4CDMG A woman attends "Horror Nights" at Filmpark Babelsberg in Potsdam, Germany, on Halloween, Oct. 31, 2014. Photo: Reuters


RTR4CDVQ An woman in costume takes part in the Greenwich Village Children's Halloween Parade in the Manhattan borough of New York Oct. 31, 2014. Photo: Reuters

RTX14UW7 Participants wearing costumes and makeup as zombies march in a Halloween event to promote the U.S. TV series "The Walking Dead" at Tokyo Tower in Japan Oct. 31, 2013. Photo: Reuters

Caring for your pet? Totally sexy.

RTR4BL2T A woman poses for a photo dressed as Daenerys Targaryen from "Game of Thrones" with her dogs during the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade in New York Oct. 25, 2014. Photo: Reuters

RTR4BL2X A woman poses for a photo with her dog during the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade in New York Oct. 25, 2014. Photo: Reuters

Double the lipstick? Way sexy.

RTX14VY6 A woman who drew part of a face on her cheek, stands among the crowd at a costume party to celebrate Halloween in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, Oct. 31, 2013. Photo: Reuters

Pink princess? That can be sexy if you want.

RTX14VMG An actress in a "good witch" costume walks around ahead of a Halloween reception for children on the South Lawn at the White House, Oct. 31, 2013. Photo: Reuters

Flower crowns complete a sexy natural look.

RTR39UMO A woman dressed for Halloween walks along a sidewalk in Times Square, New York, Nov. 1, 2012. Photo: Reuters

Writer Anne Rice helped start the sexy vampire trend decades ago with books such as "Interview With the Vampire."

RTR39THM A woman in costume takes part in the "Evil Spirits Parade" flash mob as they celebrate Halloween in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Oct. 31, 2012. Photo: Reuters

Surfing Wonder Woman? Sexy and tough. Yes.

RTR39O1R Kevin Schwimer, 30, as a dead bride, and Denise Waling, 33, as Wonder Woman, compete in the ZJ Boarding House Halloween surf contest in Santa Monica, California, Oct. 27, 2012. Photo: Reuters


Celebs are also big fans of sexy Halloween costumes.