Halloween season is the best time of the year.
People get into it – decorating, making party plans, picking out a costume.
But there’s one thing that, without fail, can ruin my Halloween spirit: Offensive costumes.
You’d think that by 2022, we as a society would realize that some “costumes” shouldn’t be, and should have never been, acceptable.
I know some of the people reading this are already rolling their eyes. I get it, this topic has been talked about a lot already. But I still think it’s important to say this again.
Walking into a party store around Halloween, or even browsing on their websites for less than a minute, means being barraged with costumes. Costumes with names like, “Egyptian Queen,” “Day of the Dead Senorita,” and “Dragon Empress.”
I didn’t make those up, you can find them online.
And even worse than those examples – if I even have to say it – is when tan-, brown- or blackface comes into play.
So, let’s say you want to dress up as your favorite celebrity, or as your favorite movie or TV character. Let’s then say that the huge library of white characters in media doesn’t do it for you. That doesn’t mean that you can turn that person’s race into part of your costume.
If you have an outfit that just screams “Kanye” and you want to dress up as him, fine. But that doesn’t need to come along with blackface or a shitty impression of African American Vernacular English.
And if you want to dress as an Egyptian Queen, a Day of the Dead Senorita or a Dragon Empress, ask yourself this: What are you really dressing as? Who is this costume based on? What is the intention behind it? Why are these things viewed as costumes at all?
Likely, if you consider these questions long enough, you’ll realize that Halloween costumes like that are based on stereotypes and are almost solely used to ridicule people of other cultures. People who have been discriminated against for wearing cultural clothes that you now have a cheap imitation of. People who have had to monitor the way they look in order to function in society. People who have been made to feel othered in this country for as long as it has existed. They don’t need a reminder that you can put on their culture for one night and then go back to real life and not be forced to acknowledge the struggles of people of color.
If nothing else, I hope this serves as a reminder. A reminder that Halloween is fun, dressing up is fun, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of a marginalized group of people.
– Lily Doton