Halloween is notorious for offensive costumes. In fact, it wouldn’t be Halloween without the
standard run of the mill “they took it too far” costumes. Interestingly, it hasn’t always been this way.
The holiday began as a Celtic festival in the 19th century. By the 20th century, it became closely associated with the costume culture that we recognize the holiday for today. Originally, the costumes worn were meant to be scary. Today, we see costumes ranging from scary, to fun, to sexy, to straight up offensive.
This shift in Halloween costumes is problematic. While many people are fully aware that some costumes can be seen as disrespectful, just as many don’t care. Here are three examples this year that most definitely hit the mark when it comes to offensive costumes:
Pocahontas: While this childhood costume is a Disney classic, it is also a reminder of the systemic oppression faced by Native Americans. In fact, any costume that is a representation of another race should probably be avoided at all costs.
Cecil the Lion Killer: In the aftermath of the gruesome hunting of a 13-year-old lion, a lion killer dentist costume has surfaced. It comes complete with a blood splattered shirt and a severed lion head. This costume turns the slaughter of a beloved animal into a gag joke.
Caitlyn Jenner: Unsurprisingly, some people may decide to dress up as one of the biggest cultural figures of the year. The Caitlyn Jenner costume trend is growing and is sure to be a huge hit this year. Unfortunately, this costume is insensitive to the journeys faced by the trans community.
In defence of the above-mentioned costumes, some claim “it’s all in good fun,” but it’s not. Before choosing a Halloween costume for this year, remember:
- most cultures prefer not to have their history put on blast
- it’s not alright to turn serious issues into a gag joke, and
- appropriating sensitive issues is not okay