Halloween’s Most Culturally Insensitive Costumes and What to Wear Instead

As October dawns upon us, many take to the internet to find answers to October’s most urgent and impending question: what do I want to be for Halloween?

In the midst of the Pinterest searches and last-minute Amazon finds, many fail to notice a significant recurring problem with modern-day Halloween costumes - cultural insensitivity and appropriation.

Perhaps innocuous, Halloween is notorious for costumes that appropriate or misrepresent people’s culture. Taking the cultural or religious significance out of something and sexualizing, misrepresenting or even borrowing it strips the symbol of its deep rooted meaning and in turn is offensive.

How to avoid cultural appropriation this Halloween? A safe bet would be to not buy a costume with the name of a race, country or cultural symbol in it. Another safe bet - if your costume is intended to sexualize or perpetuates media stereotypes of a certain race, it is *most likely* appropriation.

Need some examples of what to avoid and what to do instead? Before you go and buy that sexy Native American girl costume or that Dreads Bandana Wig, check out these less racially insensitive alternatives with links included!


Instead of….

Sexy Native American Girl Costume


If what you’re going for is a sexy, barbaric, animal-skin look, a Native American is not your best bet. Eroticizing Native American women into scantily-clad, savage women perpetuates a negative stereotype, and is a likely contributor to the fact that Native American Indian women are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women of any other racial minority group. So no more “Pocahottie,” this year for Halloween.


A cave woman costume


This primitive look gives Halloween-goers the sex appeal they and barbarism they are looking for without the cultural insensitivity.


Instead of….

Sexy Geisha Costume….


Hypersexualizing the Asian culture was never a good look - especially with the large emphasis on honor and respect Asian cultures practice. You are not a geisha, you are not cute. Put it down and try again.


1920’s Flapper Costume

Want that old school look with the same secretive sexiness as the geisha costume? Try a 1920’s flapper costume and pay homage to this pivotal time in American history.


Instead of…..

Adult Egyptian Goddess Costume

Lets try and find a costume that doesn’t fetishize Egyptian history.


Women’s Dark Sorceress Costume

All the mystical femininity without the racial microaggression.


Instead of...

Adult Arabian Dancer Costume


Burlesque bombshell costume

Because a can-can dancer can be just as cute and much less offensive.


Instead of...

Dreads Bandana Wig Dreadlock Costume


Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” Wig

Because let’s be real even Donald Trump is less offensive than appropriating dreadlocks.


Instead of...

Tequila Pop 'N' Dude


Men's Beer Man Costume

Because Beer Man does the same thing that Tequila Pop ‘N’ Dude does, but he doesn’t have to offend someone’s culture to do it.


Instead of...

Roma Gypsy Mistress Costume


Women's Free Spirit Costume

Because portraying gypsy women as “mistresses” is undoubtedly offensive, while being a free spirit is not.


Instead of ...

Sexy Bollywood Dancer Costume


Women's Poison Ivy Costume

Its just as related to Bollywood as the first costume, but its so much more badass.

Instead of...

Women's Sexy Sister Adult Costume…

Yeah, let’s not sexualize Christianity.


Women's Red Riding Hood Costume

Because this fairytale costume is an evergreen, and besides - who doesn’t look good in red?