Halloween Costumes: What You Should Avoid This Holiday

Halloween Costumes: What You Should Avoid This Holiday

Madelyn Byrnes, Staff Writer

As the weather gets cooler and the leaves start to change colors, a holiday, favored by many, comes around: Halloween. The holiday presents an opportunity to dress up as anything one can imagine in order to receive free candy. Who would not want to take advantage of that? Some people choose to buy costumes, while others get crafty and create their own. Nonetheless, creativity is surely promoted through each year’s costumes. 

Although people are encouraged to design their own costumes or even replicate anothers, it is very important to take into consideration what the costume represents and if it brings upon any controversy. Especially in the more recent years, certain things are being called out for offending history. What may have been overlooked a few years ago may not be socially acceptable today. 

Culture appropriation is a term that is more used in today’s society. It is defined as when a person adopts a culture that is not their own and reaps the benefits without actually acknowledging or respecting that culture. For example, dressing up as a Native American may come with a harmless intent, but it direspects that culture when the person knows little about the history of it. Another classic example would be black face, which is described as covering white skin in black paint or black masks. However, some costumes are hard to predict if they will be considered offensive or not. A little girl may want to dress as her favorite Disney Princess, such as Mulan or Tiana; however, if she is white, this could be considered problematic. Clearly, a little girl would not dress up to purposefully mock those cultures, she simply just wants to look like her dream fairytale figures for a night. In a quick interview with a senior and member of the Social Justice Alliance club at Quakertown High School, she feels that “it is okay to dress up as Mulan or Tiana for Halloween, but doing blackface or heavy eyeliner to appear as a different race is offensive.” In general, she states “Costumes of Disney characters of other races are completely okay, but only if the costume is out of appreciation and within reason.” 

However, ordinary people are not the only ones who have experience with appropriating through halloween costumes. Celebrities, the most highly viewed and judged people in the world, have made plenty of mistakes and received backlash for their old costumes. According to Page Six Style, many different celebrities dressed before thinking. Professional snowboarder, Shaun White, dressed as Simple Jack in 2018, who is a disabled character. Kate Hudson and her friends dressed as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a leader of a bio-terrorism group, and his followers. We cannot forget about the multiple celebrities wearing different variations of Native American costumes. The thing about celebrities is that no matter how much they apologize, their past will always haunt their image. Fans were clearly not happy with these costumes, causing a lot of the celebs to speak up and apologize for their costumes.

Keeping in mind costumes and themes we should avoid, there are still many costumes that are considered socially acceptable. It is better to be safe than sorry when picking out your Halloween costumes each year. Try dressing up as an animal or a character from your favorite horror movie. Partake in group costumes with your friends. If you question whether your costume will come across inappropriate, do some research. If you are still unsure, forgo the costume and choose something different. There is no reason why a fun holiday night should be ruined by upsetting costumes.