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No Culture Is A Costume

October 31st is a day that takes over the whole month of October. As soon as October 1st hits, the pumpkin decorations come out along with the costumes, Halloween stores, and decorations. It’s one of the few times during the year you have a reason to be something else. There are an infinite amount of costume ideas and things to be but let’s make sure we are being respectful and conscious this Halloween. Unfortunately, a lot of the costumes many Americans wear are hurtful to certain cultures and people. Halloween has become known for being a day to appropriate cultures and people. I have seen the Pocahontas costume, the “Mexican”, the “Gypsy”, the kimono and the list goes on. These costume picks are problematic simply because it is not right to dress up as one’s culture or identity for candy, a party or as a costume/character. It mocks the people who actually are part of a certain group. I’ve seen people say they are a gangster for Halloween because they put on a hat, some necklaces and sag their pants. Does this mean that everyone who decides to dress that way is a gangster? The answer is no. These seemingly harmless costumes offend the group of people who dress like this because they are elements apart of their culture. Exaggerating, glorifying, and making people’s traditions a caricature is harmful to these communities.  

Recently there was controversy about Megyn Kelly, a news anchor, claiming that blackface is okay if it’s Halloween. Blackface is when someone uses makeup and/or paint to make themselves appear darker in order to fit a role or character. People use blackface outside of costumes and Halloween as well. She received a lot of backlash, although the bigger picture is that appropriation is real and people think it is okay. If someone on the news that is seen daily says blackface is okay, what does that say to the people watching?

When you go to pick your costume or dress, think about what you’re putting on. Ask yourself if you are appropriating a culture. Think about if your costume could be hurtful or insulting to someone. Someone wouldn’t dress up as someone with cancer or in a wheelchair, so do not dress up as someone’s race or culture. Respect the people that belong to certain groups and try to stay original this Halloween. If you’re having trouble finding a good idea for a costume there are a ton of ideas online and in articles. Happy Halloween and make smart choices this October 31st!

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