Choose Your Costumes Wisely

Halloween is a time for people to dress up and become someone else for a night. It’s a time to celebrate...unless your culture, religion, or ethnicity is being appropriated. Here’s what cultural appropriation is and how you can avoid it this Halloween.

As defined by, “Cultural appropriation is the act of adopting elements of an outside, often minority culture, including knowledge, practices, and symbols, without understanding or respecting the original culture and context.” I’m sure most of you can already think of some costumes that fit this definition. Some examples would be dressing up as a Native American, Gypsy, Mexican, or Asian, taking their culture and portraying it as a stereotype. If a costume begs the question, “is this cultural appropriation” it probably is. 

Even in 2019, cultural appropriation affects large groups of people every year. In October it’s even worse since people tend to dress in Halloween costumes that don’t take others into consideration. Sometimes it’s simply by accident and if they knew what cultural appropriation was, they wouldn’t have added it to their Amazon cart. 

The good news? You’re reading this article! While some of these costumes are noticeably offensive, it’s okay if you didn’t know that much about cultural appropriation and have accidently dressed up as Pocahontus without knowing it was offensive. What’s important is that you think about others first and ask yourself if your costume is cultural appropriation, and if you have a friend who is about to purchase a not-so-thoughtful costume, let them know why they shouldn’t break it out this October.  


Be safe, have fun, and choose your costumes wisely.