What Not to Wear: Halloween and Cultural Appropriation

Okay ladies and gents, it’s that time of the year again: Halloween. 

Halloween is the time of the year where people get to dress up as something they’re not. Unfortunately, this happy holiday also comes with some missteps. Along with looking for a costume to wear to that cool party on the weekend, people tend to forget what’s actually acceptable to wear out in public. Here’s some advice on cultural appropriation and what not to wear on Halloween.  

Cultural appropriation is adopting the elements of a minority culture by those of a more dominant culture. Basically, it means that taking something from another culture and using it for your own benefit (i.e. changing the name or using it as a costume) is wrong.

How this applies to Halloween is the influx of costumes and horrible choices. Every year, costume shops and Halloween stores put up their catalog of costumes for the year and it always has something that will most likely be offensive to someone of that culture or community.

Usually these costumes would be the “sexy” equivalent of the real thing. For example, sexy ninja and or geisha, sexy Native American princess, gypsy, or anything dealing with the day of the dead. Oh, and we can’t forget the create-a-costume accessories such as du-rags, chains, and an assortment of wigs and afros.

In recent years some people have regained the good sense that their momma gave them and have gone for the less offensives costumes. However, some still have a long way to go. Halloween is personally one of my favorite holidays and I wish that I could go every year not worrying about some rando walking in a costume of my culture. It’s not cool and highly insensitive.

So, this Halloween be mindful of the costumes that you choose and remember to stay spooky.