KARI KERNAN and Amy Frock, both of Livermore, don the costumes they will wear to a Halloween party. Kernan is a sexy firefighter and Frock is a sports referee with a Playboy logo. Halloween Web sites and stores offer an array of racy costumes for women. (Jay Solmonson - Staff)
Women visiting http://www.buycostumes.com/ can find a variety of racy guises to try on for Halloween. There's the Seductive Evil Queen, who's holding a tempting, glowing red apple, her ample bosoms pushed up high, a fishnet clad leg jutting out from the slit in her dress.

They could also become the Show Me Your Can Can girl, the Lusty Lieutenant, the Open 2 Anything Adult or the Mile-High Stewardess, where turbulence is good.

Of course, the more traditional witch is also available, but Halloween Web sites and stores are offering a huge array of ways to bring out the inner sex kitten.

So when a women trades in the innocent Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" for the Sexy Dorothy, who wears a short blue gingham dress with white, thigh-high stockings, is she slapping feminism in the face or just having some fun?

Lauren Tarne, marketing director for Halloweenmart.com, the company that sells both versions of Dorothy, said women are just enjoying themselves.

"They want to not be themselves for a day," she said.

To spice things up, Halloweenmart.com just added costumes licensed by Playboy this year. (Hugh Hefner is very popular with guys.)

Two young women from Livermore second Tarne's opinion and are looking forward to dressing up for a Halloween party.

Kari Kernan, 28, will don a sexy firefighter outfit — a black leather, one-piece, long-sleeve, short dress that shows off some cleavage.

"It's Halloween,"


Kernan said, "so you can get away with anything."

Kernan's friend, Amy Frock, 31, said a woman dressing sexy is "appropriate for any adult-themed (Halloween) party. I'm not going trick or treating in it," she joked.

Her black and white, short-sleeved shirt for a sports referee costume is a laced up on the sides and bears the Playboy logo — she bought the outfit from the Playboy collection online.

Frock, a mother and nurse who said she'll enjoy not wearing scrubs for the day, said, "I think it's empowering to get in touch with your feminine side."

**Debbie Mandel Qoute**And that's exactly how women should view Halloween, said Long Island-based author and radio host Debbie Mandel.

"I really believe we need to honor our different identities," Mandel said.

Mandel, the author of "Turn on Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul," a book about stress management and self-confidence, said women can sometimes suppress their sexual sides.

"We can become too sexually starved," she said, even when "there's a hunger inside to be yourself."

However, Debra Condren, a psychologist and author of "amBITCHous: A Woman's Guide to Reclaiming Ambition as a Virtue," strongly disagrees.

"I think it's a bad idea. Halloween or not, it's how you are presenting yourself," she said.

Condren said exotic Halloween costumes are an unconscious backlash against feminism and harms a woman's self image.

"There's nothing wrong with looking attractive, but you don't need to cross the line so you look like a pole dancer," she said.

To contact Cheryl Winkelman, call (209) 832-6144 or cwinkelman@trivalleyherald.com.