I know what you’re thinking: hell, here comes another Halloween and I feel pressured to go as a Sexy Witch. Or a Naughty Evil Librarian. Or a Playboy Bunny of Death. Girls’ and women’s costumes have been completely hijacked by Proctor & Gamble, porn culture, and the Beauty Industrial Complex such that if you’re not showing a lotta T&A when you go to that cocktail party, you might as well kiss goodbye any chance of getting a date, ever (or so we are led to believe).

It’s at moments like this that I suggest you ask, “What would Leslie Knope do?”
(WWLKD for short) — that is, put yourself in the sensible shoes of Amy Poehler’s character in Parks and Recreation, that bullheaded feminist whose desk is covered with photos of great women like Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright. Leslie Knope says that when you’re wondering how to dress for Halloween, think Athena!

I mean, having a spear and shield is always handy for parties, and going as Athena means you get to say things like, “I was born from my father’s head with all this great armor on already!” or “Say that again, and I’ll stick my spear straight up your nose into your brain.” Plus, you get an owl.

If you’re not really the knowledge/ reason/ heavy armor kinda gal, maybe you’d prefer going as Marie Curie (just figure out a way to glow in the dark — how awesome would that be?), or Carrie Nation, the turn-of-the-century temperance crusader who marched into bars with a hatchet and chopped them to pieces as a way of making her point that the nation needed prohibition laws.

Let’s pause on the Carrie Nation idea for a moment (I mean, that Ken Burns series, Prohibition, was just on TV this fall — people will actually get that reference!). Can you imagine how great it’ll be to show up to a cocktail party as Carrie Nation?!? That’s way more scary than a Sexy Zombie or Sexy Vampire. Plus, you get to wear that lace collar! (Sadly, the Carrie Nation outfit does not come with an owl.)

So show some imagination, people! Strike envy into the hearts of those poor wispy types shivering in their Playboy Bunny or Air Hostess from the 60s outfits, even as you steal their potential dates. Hold up your hatchet / spear / glowing arm and ask, “Did you forget to ask yourself, What Would Leslie Knope Do?

I mean, who wouldn’t want to date the glowing Marie Curie or the woman with the hatchet? I’m turned on just thinking about it. Your potential dates will mutter to themselves, “I’ve forgotten everything I ever knew. I feel impossibly transfixed by that amazing woman in the helmet. Is it possible she could tell me as much about weaving as the art of war?”

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She’s my favorite woman on TV right now. I love everything about her, such that when this month’s New York Magazine appeared with a silly slideshow of great photos, I clicked through every one (that’s where I found this one). I’m even considering pre-ordering the new book written by her Parks and Recreation character, Leslie Knope, entitled Pawnee, the Greatest Town in America.

One of my favorite running gags in the show is a description of the town of Pawnee, Indiana’s murals, which seem to show — invariably — offensive aspects of the town’s history (and they’re on display in a different slideshow at Details magazine). Take, for example, this one:

The show’s characters explain:

Leslie: What you doing in these parts?
Dave: Oh, I just, uh, I came by to see the murals. This one is pretty amazing.
Leslie: Yeah, this one’s a beauty. You know, in the 1880’s, there were a few years that were pretty rough and tumble in Pawnee. This depicts kind of a famous fight between Reverend Bradley and Annabeth Stevenson, a widowed mother of seven. The original title of this was “A Lively Fisting.” But y’know, they had to change it for … obvious reasons.
Dave: She’s got him by the hair pretty good there.
Leslie: Yeah.