Unless you’re a total ghoul,
you probably also get at least a little bit excited about Halloween. Dressing
up in elaborate Halloween costumes, eating a truly ill-advised amount of
candy, carving a pumpkin and then praying the squirrels don’t eat it
before the trick-or-treaters come — what’s not to like?
But as we all start
mood-boarding our Halloween outfits, parties and general revelry, consider this
your evergreen reminder to make sure the tribute you’ve got in mind won’t rain
on anyone else’s parade. Every year, at least a handful of people (celebrities
very much included) come up with cringe-worthy, harmful and offensive Halloween
costumes that ruin everyone’s good time. And it can happen where you least
If your outfit makes fun of a
marginalized group of people, it’s definitely a no-no. Take this “tranny
granny” costume, for example. It got pulled from Walmart shelves
after consumers pointed out that not only does it make a joke out of
transgender women, it also uses a transphobic slur right in the name. Dressing
up as a gender presentation other than your own is not funny, especially not in
a year when trans rights are under fire all over the country.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
A pandemic that has killed
over a million people (and rising) in the United States alone isn’t a costume;
it’s a horrible tragedy that has significantly impacted many people’s lives.
Resist the urge to dress up in a medical hazard suit, anything resembling a
virus or as a victim of the virus itself. This is where specificity matters.
Generic doctor and nurse costumes are fine. Specific get-ups that reference the
pandemic in particular, not so much.
Do we even have to say this?
Dressing up as Osama bin Laden, Dylan Roof or even a generic member of ISIS are
all in extremely poor taste. This falls under the same heading as making light
of tragedies. While we’re at it, let’s cross people like Hitler, Putin or
anything that involves the Confederate Flag off the list too.
Zombie Versions of Deceased Celebrities
We get it, you want to pay
tribute to one of your dearly departed favs. Go wild with your best Ziggy
Stardust, your Purple Rain homage or even an Amy Winehouse bouffant. But don’t,
we repeat, do not add zombie makeup. It’s always too soon to wear anything
reminiscent of someone’s corpse. Period.
A Mentally Ill Person
stereotypes creep into our speech before we even realize it. How often have
many of us called a difficult person “crazy” without thinking about
how the term might feel to someone living with mental illness? Halloween
costumes that make light of mental institutions fall under the same category.
Wearing a straitjacket, or any other equipment typically associated with the
institutionalization of people with mental illness, trivializes that