It’s (almost!) officially fall, which means Halloween is right around the corner — and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year. Costumes, guilt-free candy, and parties — what could be better? Speaking of costumes, once upon a time, Halloween costumes were simple. Witches, nurses, zombie brides, vampires, and ghosts surfaced on All Hallow’s Eve as the most popular get-ups. But things have changed, and not in the best way.
These days, it seems many people have decided to use their costumes to make a bold statement. And unfortunately, more times than not, these statements are racist or anti-Semitic, like that time Julianne Hough went as Orange Is the New Black’s Crazy Eyes — blackface and all.
Fortunately, it’s still possible to find a great costume without offending anyone. Here are a couple you should definitely avoid this year — and every year.
1Anything involving “black face”
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: Blackface is never okay. So stick to keeping your skin its actual color. It’s ridiculously easy to dress up as your favorite celebrity without making a fool of yourself and offending an entire group of people. Blackface is degrading, demeaning, and just plain racist.
Sam on Dear White People perhaps put it best:
Racist costumes don’t stop at blackface. We continue to see them year after year: the Native American costumes, the sexy Geishas, the drunk mariachi bands with giant, fake mustaches and ponchos — and they need to go away. We get that you might be trying to show your “appreciation” for other cultures, but what you’re doing instead is culturally appropriating — which is actually disrespectful because you continue to perpetuate tired racial stereotypes.
As it is, the LGBTQ community is already marginalized, especially the trans community. There are endless jokes being made at the expense of trans people, and your “hilarious tranny granny” costume isn’t making things better. Transgender is not a costume. Stop it.
4Victims of abuse and their abusers
We love couples costumes! Convincing your person to dress in matching outfits for Halloween might be the cutest thing, but you know when it isn’t cute? When you use Halloween to recreate someone’s most vulnerable and broken moment and turn it into a costume. Please don’t offend victims of abuse with your fake black eyes and busted lips; don’t attempt to downplay their pain by playing dress up.
Homelessness is a serious issue all over the world; people are struggling to find food to eat and a warm place to rest their heads. You might think you’re being funny with your cardboard signs, but pretending to be homeless as a joke is incredibly insensitive.
6A national tragedy
Another note on couples costumes: Remember the couple that dressed up as the Twin Towers on a 9/11 anniversary? Yeah, you should avoid doing that.
Have you even seen the news lately? Just don’t do it!
8Anything that requires a fat suit
Costumes that require a fat suit to poke fun at someone’s body type aren’t funny, and are completely inappropriate.
Happy Halloween when it comes! Stay safe and be considerate when you’re picking out your swag.