Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Halloween Anewed

By Cathy Peterson

Now that we’re into October I thought I’d share a very profound “a ha moment” I had in my counseling therapy session last Thursday. Dr. Jill and I were almost finished with our weekly 50 minutes when she made a quick reference to Halloween coming up later this month. She asked if I was going to do a costume for any parties or events. I said I didn't have anything planned as yet. Then she said something that really made me think.

"With so much acceptance of your being out all year long as Cathy and you being so comfortable in public, seems to me that Halloween is no longer that special one day of the year it used to be where you could feign your dressing up as a woman simply as a ‘costume’ for fun or to get a laugh. In fact, you don’t want to get any laughs, you want to be seen, treated and accepted as a woman all year long when you’re out, so you no longer need a costumed-Halloween to give you license to dress as a woman.”

Wow! She was so right. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, maybe even the early 2000s, Halloween was my big chance I waited for all year, where I could be out in public dressed entirely as a woman and be able to hide behind it as a costume for fun.

Like you Stana, I always took my costume waaaaaaaay beyond the typical guy-in-a-dress for laughs, as I would show up at Halloween parties or events in 100% female mode from my full lingerie to my perfectly coordinated outfit, matching jewelry, flats matching shoulder purse, expert tasteful make-up, my own hair in a very traditional “female” style, all finished off with pretty nails and perfume.

Just as Stana has told those wonderful stories of going to her office on Halloween in the same “full female mode” and sitting in her cubicle as people came by to see how amazing she looked, I also got “those looks” that what I was wearing and how I was presenting myself was not a costume; something much deeper was going on!

Think of how far our society has come with so many popular TG women celebs all the way through to TG staff at the hotel front desk, Macy's makeup counter, hostess seating us at the restaurant, receptionist at the day spa, sales clerk at Kohl’s, barista at coffee shop and even the cute reference librarian at LA Public Library.

I quickly agreed with Dr. Jill and she hit it right on point with, "Cathy, why not find a really great costume that any woman would be likely to wear for a Halloween party or event. Then you’re out and seen as a woman who’s having fun for Halloween. In fact, why not shop the thrift stores or costume shops as Cathy, a mid-60s woman out to find a great costume for her office party?”

So simple, but so profound as my “a ha moment.” This past Saturday, I went as Cathy to Adele’s of Hollywood and Sylvia’s (also in Hollywood), Happy Halloween and the Spirit Halloween shops on both Wilshire and La Brea. I was a woman out shopping for my costume. The sales gals who helped me look treated me every bit aa a woman and we looked at costumes “appropriate for a mid-60s woman.” 

My three favorites were: go as witch in black gossamer and lace with black stockings, hat and broom or a classic 1920s flapper in silky crepe dress, long satin gloves to my elbows, stockings, straw hat with flower, fluffy boa and faux cigarette holder à la Some Like It Hot or  medieval queen in gown with flowing headdress or Cleopatra in a flowing gold gown and crown with heavy eye make-up.

About 15 to 20 years ago, dressed up in my full female attire, looking like a typical business woman in an office, folks realized that was my costume, so they knew right away I was not a woman and was dressing up (but going waaaaaay too far with it all).

Now, I can show up at the Medieval Faire as a 16th Century European queen. Or I can be a witch while working the ticket entryway for the “live” haunted house. Or be a ’20s flapper taking bids at the Halloween silent auction fundraiser. Or be the queen of Egypt while doing kids’ face painting for the local elementary school community Halloween party. And I will volunteer myself as Cathy Peterson, mid-60s woman, happy to volunteer and help out and with a great “female” costume that any woman would probably wear, that is, not a costume of being a “female.”

I am so excited to see which opportunity I will do on the night of October 31!

(Editrix’s Note: Reminds me of my old Halloween routine… I would go to work and out among the civilians in office girl drag, but when I attended my support group’s Halloween party, my costume was a typical woman’s costume… schoolgirl, cheer leader, Playboy bunny, etc.)

Source: Rue La La
Wearing Lilly Pulitzer

Funeral in Berlin.
Michael Caine encounters a femulator in the 1966 film Funeral in Berlin.
Click here to view this scene on YouTube.


  1. Sometimes a costume reveals more than it hides? Paula G

  2. Bang on point! Dress age appropriate. I somehow have chosen to present as a business woman as well at my age. I chose this for my first real out and about. A skirt, heels and a blazer. I ran errands like copying the youtubers by using the atm , getting gas and mailing letters. Once I got more confidant I went to the mall to window shop then make purchases. I am sure if I did Halloween my presentation would be too perfect. Hmmmm….I would go as mrs Doubtfire or Anna Wintour. If I was 25 , it would dress as marilyn monroe. Hugs Brenda

  3. My only interactions with fellow humans has been on Halloween. The first time it was a knee length floral dress in jade with a black floral print, black heel and hosiery, and all the proper undergarments, blond wig and makeup/nail polish. I got compliments. The next year it was a knee length black dress. Yes, I suppose it was seen as a proclamation of who I am. Now, if I can muster up the courage to venture forth I guess this mid 70 year old guy would go as a wicked witch; no longer that young slim guy.

  4. The first Halloween I brought Amy to my office, I did the classical witch costume - black dress from HolyClothing, black heeled Victorian boots, lace fingerless gloves, hat, broomstick, and wand, and even pentacle jewelry. I won the office costume contest. Nobody had to know that it wasn't "male self in a costume" they were seeing, it was "Amy in a costume."

    The following year, I was a fairy princess, complete with pink evening gown, wings, and tiara. I got second place.

    Eventually, I no longer won the contests...but my coworkers had increasingly gotten to see Amy walk among them. It helped out once I transitioned and Amy was there full-time.

  5. My first Halloween as a girl occurred in High School. Being on the swim team, our coach demanded that all the boys shave their leg to "minimize drag" in the water. Then my school began to have this annual (no idea if it's still done) that the boys on swim team, for a pep rally donned pantyhose and sat behind a curtain with our legs revealed for a legs contest.

    My girlfriend told me that my legs were so cute that we should dress up as each other for the school Halloween dance. To my nervous delight, she and her sister dressed me up in a lovely dress that the older sister had worn when she was a bridesmaid. No detail to my costume was overlooked and I was a girl from head to toe.

    It was a fun event and the pinnacle of my femulating life.


    1. Hi Sara. What an interesting tradition! I'm sure that if I were required to participate in that pep rally, I would have been outwardly protesting but inwardly rejoicing at getting to wear pantyhose in public. Thanks for sharing!

  6. As mentioned in this post, I've always thought that the greatest Halloween would be not to dress as a woman, but to be dressed a woman dressed in a feminine costume. To spend the day as Elise and then let her get dressed in the sexy, playful, pretty costume that suits her whims that year:)