When it comes to Halloween Costumes, What Defines Offensive?

I’m not going to take up too much of your time today, but I’ve been thinking a lot about offensive Halloween costumes – or rather, what characterizes a costume as offensive.

It seems to come down to each person’s individual opinion. Some people find anything marketed as “sexy” distasteful, whereas feminists (like myself) are more of the mind that a woman can where whatever she pleases. There are those that might express disgust at costumes depicting bodily functions while others find them humorous.

Personally, I take offense to two types of costumes – those that are culturally insensitive and those that make light of tragedy.

Culturally Insensitive Costume

Triple nope.

It’s amazing that in the costume industry, it’s still actively encouraged to disrespect cultural heritages. A walk through any Halloween store will see costumes with such colloquial names as “Reservation Royalty”, “Shanghai Hottie”, and “Temptress Gypsy” – all trivializing the cultures in question, making costumes that give little respect to the traditional clothing they are attempting to imitate. And don’t even get me started on blackface, because I haven’t yet been made aware of a situation where it was even mildly appropriate.

Sexy First Lady Costume

Definition of tasteless — sexualizing the suit Jackie Kennedy wore on the day of her husband’s assassination .

Tragedy comes in many flavors, from personal to National. While I’m a big fan of laughing through the tears, I’m also quite sensitive to the pain of others. Making a costume that belittles someone’s grief is one of the easiest ways to ruin a Halloween celebration. It’s also a good way to cause yourself problems – just ask the woman who wore a Boston Marathon Bombing “costume” to a work party.

I suppose the point I really want to make is this: use common sense when choosing a Halloween costume. You can’t please all the people all of the time, but you can make a concerted effort to be considerate of your fellow human beings.