Halloween non-howlers

Looking for last-minute costume ideas? Have fun, but don't be offensive

Some of the many possible costume choices offered at Value Village. Courtesy of Value Village

Halloween is the only day of the year when people of all ages are encouraged to indulge in sweets and dress up, so you want to do it right. DIY costumes and pop-culture-inspired looks have become increasingly popular, creating even more possibilities. However, having endless possibilities leaves the door open for poor choices. Every year there is no shortage of people who turn heads because of their inappropriate, offensive outfits. Here some Halloween costumes you should avoid:

Anything related to ISIS or terrorists:

ISIS is a radical-jihadist militant group at war with dozens of nations and is linked to the deaths of millions. The headquarters for ISIS is in Syria, where 7.6 million people have been displaced, the most since the Second World War. Avoid costumes depicting terrorists and refugees alike.

Never afraid to venture into new frontiers of insensitivity, Chris Brown wore a racist Halloween costume.

Posted by SPIN on Thursday, November 1, 2012

 In 2005, Prince Harry made a royal blunder when he chose to don a shirt with a Swastika on it. The party was colonial-themed and Harry was trying to represent The Afrika Korps.  

Insensitive jokes aimed at celebrities:

Celebrities are not unfamiliar with mean-spirited jokes at their expense, however some that “cross the line,” says Nicole MacNeil, who works at Party City in Toronto. For instance, imagines that Caitlyn Jenner would not appreciate having the world make a joke of her identity struggles. “I think that would be common sense,” MacNeil says. She says the identities of trans people shouldn’t be punchlines, especially considering the violence some are subject to.


Celebrity costumes gone wrong

– Actress Ashley Benson angered animal lovers with her costume of Cecil the lion, the 13-year old lion shot and killed earlier this year by a U.S. dentist in a Zimbabwe trophy hunt. – Never one to shy away from controversy, comedian Bill Maher dressed as Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin just three months after the adventurer’s death in 2006 from a sting ray attack. The costume featured a fake bloody stinger protruding from the chest. – Model Adrianne Curry made light of singer Amy Winehouse’s addiction battles by dressing up as the singer, complete with a syringe in her arm, two years before the star was found dead from alcohol poisoning, in 2011.

Avoid anything with a Confederate flag:

After the shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina earlier this year a debate sparked in the United States about what the Confederate flag represents. Dylann Roof, the man responsible for the massacre, took a picture posing next to a Confederate flag, as well as various white supremacist symbols, which were discovered in the days following the tragedy.

Confederate Officer Mens Adult Costume – Halloween Costumes for Men 2015 Ideas Nice Quality! Halloween Costumes for Men… Posted by US.Promo.Codes on Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cultural stereotypes:

Reducing someone’s set of cultural practices and beliefs into a few simple characteristics for a costume is not an appropriate way to partake in that culture, said MacNeil. “It’s not okay to dress up as someone’s culture or religion if you don’t belong to it or don’t know about it.

Singer-actress Julianne Hough wore so-called “black face” for her costume of Crazy Eyes from the Netflix series, Orange Is the New Black, in 2013. Meanwhile, model Heidi Klum outraged Hindus worldwide by dressing up as Hindu Goddess Kali in 2008.  

Sexual kids costumes:

“A sexualized costume for a seven-year old girl is unnecessary and it’s inappropriate,” MacNeil commented, adding that most parents are responsible and won’t buy revealing costumes for their children.  Christine Riddell, a costume consultant at Value Village, says there are always ways to create “fun and tasteful Halloween costumes.” 

Former star of Jersey Shore, Snooki, dressed up as a missing child milk carton in 2010. Snooki would probably re-think her costume now that the actress is a mother.

About this article

By: Marcus Medford
Copy editor: Bogdan Stanciu
Posted: Oct 30 2015 4:51 pm
Filed under: Arts & Life Opinion