Warning, saucy photos of females to follow.

About six years ago, my husband was chatting with a friend of ours about how we need to have an UnSexy Halloween Party where you take the unsexy and try to make it sexy. My husband was super excited to go as Sexy Dungeon Master (from Dungeons and Dragons) and our friend was so excited to see that costumes she decided to host the party. The party was a hit, I went as Sexy Barry Manilow song and other costumes included Sexy Monopoly Man, Sexy Helen Keller, Sexy Groucho Marx, Sexy Where’s Waldo…you get the idea. The party is now one of THE social events of the season and people plan their costumes for months. We really do have to research the nnsexy because, costumes make EVERYTHING sexy these days.  Nothing is sacred, not even Big Bird or Honey Badger.

This year as the party was rounding the corner, I thought that I might look into a sexy bird costume. I thought I could do some fun make up work, a few years ago I got my face painted as a Northern Goshawk:

I couldn’t do goshawk for the party because let’s face it: goshawks are a sexy bird. But I thought I could do some form of brown bird. As part of my research, I thought I would see what sexy bird costumes were out there. And though the overt sexual nature of female Halloween costumes are nothing new…I was fascinated:

Here is a Bluebird Costume (I’ll even go so far as to say it’s trying to be a Mountain Bluebird). Can I take a moment to say how disturbing that this is for sale on a site called Kids Halloween Costumes?

Here is a Northern Cardinal costume. This could arguably be called an Angry Birds costume but I think all reasonable birders can agree that the red bird on that game is clearly based on the cardinal.


Here we have a Ruby-throated Hummingbird costume.  Interesting, a cute idea but there’s something that’s nagging at me about all of these bird costumes. Let’s take a look at one more:

The Peacock costume has been around for years and in several incarnations like here, here and here. What fascinates me about all of the above is that they all sexualize women, but do it with male plumage. I know, I know, the males have the prettier plumage so if you want to make birds sexy, the easy thing is to go with the flashy pretty plumages. I was curious if anyone made a male version of the costumes and I found one company in the UK that does:

They advertise it as a couple’s costume so even a heterosexual couple could go out as two male Peacocks hitting the town. Although I think would be funnier if you kept flashing tails and fighting each other over territory at the party. I couldn’t find a men’s hummingbird costume but there are bluebirds and cardinals yet they are not nearly as sexy as the above men’s Peacock.

Curious to see what other birds are popular costumes I found:

Sexy Scarlet Macaw (with eerily vacant eyes like a blow up doll) and yes, men you too can dress like one, however you get far more clothing than women.

Here’s a Snowy Owl costume and kudos to the makers for a slim attempt at accuracy, she has some darker feathers and we know that the males are the ones that are mostly white.

I couldn’t find a Snowy Owl costume for men, but I did find what I think is a Great Horned Owl Costume. And though the picture shows a modestly dressed man…he could show solidarity with all the ladies out there and forgo the shirt and pants and maybe have on some feather themed underwear.

Speaking of owls, one site is advertising Owl Feather False Eye Lashes. These are either highly illegal or false advertising. I suspect the latter based on price, they are most like guinea fowl feathers.

And if you did want to mix it up with a partner, one of you could go as an owl and the other (only female because though I can find several versions for women, I can’t find a men’s version) could go as a Common Raven and mob the owl.

Perhaps birders will never wear these costumes, but I could see them becoming part of a birding couple’s boudoir routine. “Honey, I’ll be the owl tonight, you be the corvid and I’ll mob you, wink, wink,” Or, “I have a nectar feeder for a naughty hummingbird…”

And let me say for the record, I’m not trying to turn this into a whole men vs women issue. I’m very comfortable with my sexuality and am no stranger to wearing a corset in public. But I find the overt sexual nature of the women’s Halloween costumes fascinating and am surprised at how it reaches far and wide, even into birds that we know and love to watch. Heaven help us if costume makers ever take note of warblers in spring plumage. Will we ever have the day of Sexy Parula Costume? And we are in total trouble if the costume designers read about duck anatomy.

Written by Birdchick
Sharon Stiteler was given a Peterson Field Guide to Birds when she was seven years old and snapped. She loves birds - it’s just the way she’s wired. Since 1997, she has made it her goal to get paid to go birding. She runs the popular birding blog, Birdchick.com, and has been in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on NBC Nightly News as well as making regular appearances on Twin Cities’ TV and radio stations. She’s a professional speaker and story-teller and her writing can be found in several publications including WildBird Magazine, Outdoor News, and Birding Business. She wrote the books 1001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know, Disapproving Rabbits and City Birds/Country Birds. When she’s not digiscoping, tweeting or banding birds, she’s a part-time park ranger and award-winning beekeeper.