Halloween is approaching quickly, which means you are most likely starting to think of costume ideas. Between the hundreds of costumes sold in stores every year and your creativity, the sky is the limit for what you can be. However, just because you can be anything doesn’t mean you should be. Despite all the great costume options stores have for kids and adults, they manage to release some rather offensive costumes periodically. I’m not talking offensive in the sense of too revealing or too scary. I mean offensive in which people of different races and cultures find your costume disrespectful and flat out bigoted. Sometimes you don’t always realize it either as you’re just trying to find something that will be fun and cute. That is why I have developed a list of absolutely off the table costumes. Some may be obvious, but I think you’d be surprised how many people need a reminder.
ANYTHING culturally and racially insensitive
Blackface is NEVER okay. Never. In no situation can a person validate doing blackface ever. However, it goes beyond just painting your face a skin color that is not your own. You should also not be dressing up in a costume that reinforces racist stereotypes. Last, no appropriation. Absolutely none. People’s cultures and traditions are not themes. Turning someone’s identity into a costume is offensive. If you are thinking of a costume idea and you start to question, “Is that racist,” stop there. Most likely, the answer is yes.
A COVID-19 costume
I understand that this may seem funny at first. However, let us go beyond your personal experiences with the virus and think about others. There have been 210,000+ deaths this year in the United States due to the virus. Adding to that, those who have recovered but needed medical assistance now owe thousands of dollars to hospitals. People are struggling with money as it continues to put them out of work. I highly suggest you do not do it.
I know that this is another one that seems like common knowledge, but apparently, it is not. It has always surprised me when I’ve walked into a college bar or party on Halloween and seen people dressed up as Nazi soldiers. I promise you that those are the people that everyone avoids in said places. No one wants their name attached to something so insensitive and offensive. On that same note, do not do Holocaust victim costumes. At one point, stores sold “Anne Frank” costumes for little girls. People did not take this well. It is important we remember what happened during the Holocaust and not try to dress it up.
Black Lives Matter Costumes
Our country is in the middle of a racial justice movement, one that we should not be undermining with costumes. You may think of it as paying tribute, but others will not. BLM is not a trend or theme, and it most certainly is not a good Halloween costume idea. There are many ways to do the work for BLM, but buying a costume with the slogan on it is not one of them. Remember, if it is not the BLM organization themselves selling costumes, then by purchasing one, you are giving money to someone profiting off the pain of the Black community. If you genuinely do want to support BLM and buy an article of clothing, the BLM website offers plenty of appropriate items.
Body shaming costumes
I know that dressing up as a fat inflatable ballerina from Target seems super funny. Maybe no one in your social orbit will be offended. However, body-shaming is the root cause of many eating disorders for both women and men. Many people deal with eating disorders in private. They are dangerous and can lead to numerous medical issues. It may seem like a petty request to some, but others will interpret your costume as offensive.
This list is not meant to stop you from having fun this Halloween. It is just a gentle reminder to be respectful of those around you. Happy Halloween!!