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Halloween Costumes: A Fine Line

Some approach Halloween the simple way. A pair of $3 cat ears from Forever 21 will suffice as they march out the door to the nearest monster mash. Others go all out, sparing no expense and purchase their disguises weeks in advance. Costumes range from creative, funny, gruesome, all the way to the most basic ensemble that can still be considered a costume in order to gain access to the spooky event of your choice. There is something to keep in mind as you choose your costume; however, it is important to make sure that in the midst of all the Halloween excitement, we remain respectful of others and their cultures.

It is very easy for a costume to be misinterpreted or offensive to someone, and it’s just as easy to choose a costume without realizing that its significance can be hurtful. So, it got me thinking about the tradition of costumes in general and whatever happened to the princesses (every year until I was about 12) and ghosts and cartoon characters that roamed the streets on October 31. Bring back the classics! 

Some people will use Halloween as an opportunity to make a political statement or some may don a costume that they don’t even realize is offensive. Either way, it’s left to interpretation and what one person may view funny, someone else may feel insulted. That being said, there are obvious costumes that do in fact leave nothing to the imagination and they are just plain disrespectful. Stick to the basics. I’m pretty sure that’s not the intention of Halloween costumes anyway.  

Last year at The College, there were a few occurrences of offensive and racist costumes. Photos of the costumes were put on social media and the individuals involved suffered rightfully doled repercussions. This past weekend, as I roamed Charleston as a New England Patriot (#11 to be exact) and a Domino’s Pizza delivery person (pepperoni pizza in hand because props are a key element to any costume), I didn’t witness anything that I found offensive or inappropriate and as a bonus, no costumes in the form of political statements. I saw a few devils, a lot of bloody faces and fangs but nothing that would leave anyone feeling less than good about themselves. 

There are those who feel that we’ve become too politically correct and too overly sensitive, but I disagree! We as a society should be respectful and kind to each other. It’s important in today with so much hate looming that we don’t go out of our way to offend others. Take the funny route and get a few laughs….be creative…not mean-spirited.  Halloweekend is much more enjoyable when you have fun with your costume, be unique and creative not angry and controversial. Bring the fear factor with some colored contacts, hit up Party City for some inspiration, or just wing it and make your own.


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I'm a College of Charleston student majoring in Political Science.  I love taking pictures, going to the beach, and spending time with my friends. 
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