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How Not To Be Offensive This Halloween

October is a favorite month amongst many, myself included. October is essentially Halloween month, which combines many of my favorite things—dressing up, partying, and eating candy into one perfect holiday. Halloween should be a fun and safe space for everyone and no one should be made to feel uncomfortable on account of someone else’s ignorance. Here are some costumes you can cross off your list in order to avoid being an asshole this Halloween, in case you need some help. 

Insane Asylum Patient

Mental illness is something many people struggle with every single day of their lives. If you want to dress up as an ‘insane person’, first, consider the implications of this. Those who are mentally ill face stigma every day on top of the issues mental illness already creates—no one wants to see their struggles made into a joke on halloween. 


Being imprisoned, especially with issues of mass incarceration and privatization of prisons today, is not fun, or funny. Dressing up as someone who is imprisoned is insensitive to all the people unjustly serving jail time or who are simply suffering in inhumane situations. 

Blackface/Native American/Asian/Dia de los Muertos/Any Other Culture

Please. If you still don’t understand that wearing someone else’s culture as your costume is not cool, then let this be your informant—do not wear anything involving black, brown or yellow face, and leave traditional cultural garments to those who they mean something to. Dressing up as a culture people fight every day to protect is just… f*cked up. 

Caitlyn Jenner/Transphobic Costumes

Dressing up as a transgender person is so far from funny that I’m unsure as to why this is even a costume option. Trans people do not deserve to encounter anyone making a mockery of their existence in an attempt to be funny this Halloween.

Romani/ “g*psy” 

The stereotype of the “g*psy” and the Halloween costumes made to be this culture are deeply offensive to the Romani people. To them, the word is a slur and the costume is a vulgar representation of the slur. Wearing this costume will ensure you are being insensitive this halloween.

Ultimately, of course, the decision is up to you. Try to be sensitive to the needs of others and be understanding and aware of how costumes can be hurtful. Have fun and party. Eat a shit ton of candy.


Zoe Rivera

Emerson '23

Hi! I'm a freshman contributor at Emerson College
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