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6 Disturbingly Common Halloween Costume Ideas to Avoid at all Costs This Year (and Every Year After That)

So, Halloweekend has —once again — crept up on you like a Sanderson sister. You’ve heard people talking about it. You’re a little scared but mostly curious what it’s all about. And you have the feeling it’s about to steal just a little bit of your youth.

But, as it always goes, you’ve procrastinated on your costume. What is one to do? Stay home? Go as another uncreative “Jim” from The Office (seriously, guys, we get it… You own a suit and think you’re too cool to spend time or money on a real costume) or a “basic” cat (still a classic— no judgment here)? Or spend all of your non-existent $$$ at a close-by costume store?

We’re not going to tell you which route to take. But if you’ve chosen #3, this is a reminder that just because it’s sold at a store and comes in a sealed plastic bag doesn’t mean it’s an okay thing to actually put on your body and wear around in public.

Though the “PC police” get a bad rap sometimes, Halloween — and any other time costumes resurface — is one occasion where being PC really is the best way to go… especially if you’re in college. Let’s face it. You’re trying to make new friends, flirt, post on social media, etc. Do you really want your costume to be the thing that ruins that for you? And, even more importantly: Is a lame “joke” or a flattering accessory really worth perpetuating racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive/hurtful/triggering ideas?

So, to avoid that, here is a list of a few TERRIBLE choices that you are sure to come across in almost any generic costume store but that you should definitely, definitely not buy ever…

1. Anything Involving Painting Your Face, Styling Your Hair, or Accessorizing Your Clothes to “Look” Like a Different Race

Let’s start with the most obvious one. Must we really still have to say this? …Yes. Yes, it seems we must, since blackface on campus is somehow still shown on the news pretty much every November 1st. C’mon, guys…

In the eternal words of Coach Carr, “Just… don’t do it. Promise?”

2. Religious Icons


You might think it’s funny, but we promise you, other people won’t. Religion is the most personal and genuinely meaningful part of a lot of people’s lives, so you really don’t need to appropriate and ruin that for them. And, by the way, we won’t even get into how problematic it is to sexualize and objectify nuns, okay?

3. Anything That’s Supposed to Represent “Native American” or “Egyptian” Culture/History/Icons


We get it. Pocahontas and Cleopatra are total hotties in the Hollywood film world.


But Hollywood doesn’t always get it right. And dressing in racial stereotypes and inaccuracies won’t make you look like a hottie. Just a dummy.

4. Anything with “Mexican” in the Title




2017 has been hard enough. Leave the sombreros and fake mustaches at home, people. Or better yet, throw them out for good. Yeah. Do that, please.

5. The “Hobo”

Who even thought of this for a costume? You’re walking around at night, strolling right past where homeless people have to sleep at night. You really want to be making a joke out of their misfortune, while you’re in their living space? Check your privilege. Wear. Something. Else.

6. The Prison Jumpsuit and the Army Uniform

These are a couple of less obvious no-gos.

OITNB is a gift from the Netflix gods, and we love those ladies with all our hearts, but do we really need to dress up as them? We talk a lot in college about “triggers” in the contexts of abuse and violence. Let’s not forget that war and prison are two of the most traumatizing experiences of a LOT of people’s lives. You never know who’s going to see you when you’re out and about, flaunting a costume that means nothing to you but everything to someone else. Oh… and this should go without saying, but leave (or toss) those fake guns at home with the sombreros.

Happy last-minute preparations!

Stay spooky.

Gifs Courtesy of Giphy

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