Halloween Costumes to Avoid

With Halloween just around the corner, we can expect to see some offensive costumes. If you don’t know what costumes are inappropriate, here’s a list of costumes to avoid this year:

Costumes involving blackface

The practice of Blackface was common in the past, but it has a painful and racist history in African-American communities. It’s simple to avoid and also easy to dress up as someone who has a different skin color without being offensive.

Transphobic costumes

Shortly after Caitlyn Jenner came out as transgender, a “Call me Caitlyn” costume was made based off of her. More recently, Walmart  removed a “tranny granny” costume from their store. These costumes are criticized for mocking transgender women and using transphobic slurs.

Homeless people

Homelessness affects millions of people including children who face extreme poverty and domestic violence. Dressing up as a “hobo” for Halloween is very offensive to those without basic necessities who are suffering.

Mentally ill people

About 450 million people in the United States have a mental health condition, so dressing up in a straightjacket or carrying fake weapons to seem like a violent mentally ill person can be extremely detrimental to someone with a mental illness.

Body shaming costumes

Many online Halloween stores received negative feedback after selling a costume called “Anna Rexia.” An eating disorder costume can be traumatizing for the 30 million people in the United States who have experienced or are currently experiencing an eating disorder. Even wearing a fat suit to dress up as something like a sumo wrestler may seem harmless, but it is another form of body shaming.

Anything relating to national tragedies and its victims

In 2013, two people dressed up as the Twin Towers from 9/11 and just last year, stores pulled an Anne Frank costume because of the backlash it received from customers. There are many ways to commemorate victims of historical tragedies but exploiting them by using their suffering as a costume is not one of them.

Sexual Harassment costumes

Flasher costumes may seem like a joke and an acceptable Halloween costume, but for others, it is a reminder of their sexual harassment experiences. Another particularly disturbing costume people have worn in the past include Bill Cosby costumes after the sexual assault allegations were made against him. Costumes like these can cause victims to relive their trauma from past experiences.

Anything that is culturally offensive

Dressing up as someone from a culture outside of your own is offensive to those who are part of that culture. Avoid native American dresses, kimonos, sombreros and other traditional clothing. Even characters from TV shows and movies like Moana should be avoided. Additionally, don’t dress up as a member from the Ku Klux Klan. This is extremely hurtful and worrisome for many people.

These particular Halloween costumes are certainly disrespectful to many different people, but there are plenty of appropriate Halloween costumes that won’t offend people. Make sure the costumes you choose do not discriminate against others or make others feel uncomfortable.