So, Halloween is approaching, and we are likely to see some amazing costumes, creative costumes, and lazily funny costumes. But the opportunity to dress up brings out the worst in some people some of the time. So if you’re still not decided on who to be this spooky season, steer clear of these five options, because they are just never worth it.
- Blackface and Yellowface
It seems that year in, year out, we’re having to say that dressing up as another race is offensive. There is a long history of cultural appropriation, e.g. the Black and White Minstrels, but that is no reason to carry on doing it. Such costumes often draw on offensive stereotypes which demeans an entire race of people. But still, every year there is always one white sleb who comes out in a blackface or yellowface costume. Ask yourself: is my Nicki Minaj costume really worth it?
- Native American Dress
This is one that has entered this list most recently. It is only over the last few years that Native American people have come out and expressed their offense at non-Native people wearing Native American dress as costume. Symbols such as headdresses and feathers are massively important to indigenous people wearing them undermines that tradition and appropriates their culture. So please, put down the feathers and poncho this year.
- Nazis and Adolf Hitler
Now, this shouldn’t need to be on the list. It is common sense not to dress up as the man responsible for genocide. But still, every year, someone goes to a party in a Nazi uniform, or draws on a toothbrush moustache, and we end up having the conversation all over again Wiith the rise of this far right groups this year, we have to be on guard against these costumes. They are not funny, they are not a clever historical commentary, they are offensive, end of story.
- Trans Costumes
One of the most notable costumes of last year’s Halloween season was Caitlyn Jenner. Men were seen dressing up as the Trans woman – formerly known as Bruce Jenner – and getting a good laugh for doing so. Dressing up as a Trans person in order to be funny undermines the Trans community, reducing their life struggles to the level of a joke. It is insensitive and cruel. There is also a difference between going to a Halloween costume in Drag and going dressed as someone Trans: one is not offensive, as it does not undermine anyone, and the other is very much offensive. So, if you’re not planning on being a queen this Halloween, put down the chicken cutlets.
This is NEVER a good idea, whether you offend a few people or find yourself sent home by Security. Dressing as a member of IS or the KKK or any other extremist group is NOT funny. It mocks and demeans the experiences of the people affected by these groups. And it also normalises them. If you turn up to a party with a papier mache bomb strapped to your chest, prepare for people to be angry, and rightfully so.
So, if I have just foiled every one of your costume ideas, here are some alternatives that are going to be big this year:
Pennywise the Clown – IT
Female characters from Game of Thrones
Male characters from Game of Thrones
Harley Quinn – Batman
The Joker – Batman
And there are so many more awesome, non-offensive costumes to choose from! So please, stay away from problematic costumes this spooky season and have a wonderful, scary Halloween.