While it’s true that Halloween is the best holiday, it also comes with some of the worst costumes. After all, what makes Halloween great is its duality; adults get to conquer our fear of death by poking fun at it, and kids get to show off their fandom for particular characters from their favorite shows, movies, and books. But all that light-hearted celebration should not come at someone else’s expense. When people dress up or dress their children in offensive, inappropriate Halloween costumes, they’re never just “in good fun” if they’re hurting someone else.
We’ve heard some people complain about how “PC” the rules are when it comes to Halloween costumes now. Since when is it political to make another child feel marginalized, disrespected, or ridiculed? And yes, we know that neighborhoods were once filled with kids dressed as cowboys and Indians, hobos, geishas, and the like on Halloween. But that doesn’t mean those costumes weren’t hurting people then. It’s just that we weren’t talking about it. Now that people have spoken up, how can you ignore them?
Cultures, hardships, and religions are not a costume. Period. If you didn’t get the memo on blackface, brownface, and yellowface, how are you even on this website? And guess what? There are SO many other children’s Halloween costumes you can choose instead, and your kid will be every bit as happy about them!
Maybe we’re preaching to the choir here, and you already share our opinion on how absolutely repulsive it is that someone would dress their child up as a Confederate soldier or general. In which case, we know you just want to see which really awful inappropriate children’s costumes we’ve managed to unearth. Well, enjoy this mildly nauseating stroll through the dark recesses of children’s costume makers’ imaginations.
‘Psych Ward’ Patient
With the huge array of available — and appropriate — Halloween costumes out there, do we really need to choose one that makes fun of serious mental health issues? Especially given the fact that treatment facilities no longer use physical restraints like these?
No. No, we don’t.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide. Trivializing a religion that has been attacked for millennia is not cute.
Yes, that’s what this costume is called, and it’s marketed as a vampire costume … for kids ages 0-10. We don’t see much vampire, but we do see a little girl in a very sexualized outfit. And that’s the really creepy part.
Former President Trump
Can we all agree that toddler costumes depicting a certain controversial former president is a cruel joke — on kids?
Dressing your child as a mind-altering substance…need we say more?
According to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, “eskimo” is a derogatory and outdated term to describe Inuit and Yupik people. And since we know that culture is not a costume, let’s practice what we preach.
We’re not sure if this is more offensive to children or the incarcerated. Either way, just don’t.
Twenty percent of kids between the ages of 12 and 18 experience bullying, according to the government website Stop Bullying, with many citing exclusion, name calling, and aggression. Parents, do better than this costume.
Twitter user @seanconner2023 wrote of this QAnon costume for kids, “Halloween ideas? How about wrapping your child in a cloak of paranoia, fear, and dissociative disorders?” and we couldn’t agree more.
Hey parents: Instead of dressing your kid up as a conspiracy theorist who thinks Chrissy Teigen eats babies, you could easily just let them be the Grim Reaper if you wanted to go for the creepy factor. It’ll offend a lot fewer people.
What is going through the minds of the people made this costume? Well, the fact that the description calls the Civil War the “War of Northern Aggression” may give you a hint.
1) Rastafarianism is a religion. 2) Black people are still getting fired, and Black kids are still getting kicked out of school, for wearing their natural hair in dreadlocks. Do we need to explain more?
The costume site selling this costume wants you to believe this is depicting any child of the 1940s, perhaps even the British children sent away from London during World War II. But c’mon, we know that beret look, and we do not want our children dressing like Holocaust victims.
If you’re not ready to explain the nuances of sex work to your child, they’re not ready to dress as a pimp.
Pocahontas & Every Other Native American ‘Costume’
Native Americans have grown to dread Halloween every year, because of just how often they have to explain what’s wrong with appropriating their cultures (including ceremonial headdresses) as costumes. To anyone who argues that Pocahontas is a Disney princess, so her costume is fair game, we recommend reading the true history of how she was an exploited young girl shuffled between men for political purposes before her death at age 20.
Biohazard Quarantine Costume
Just picture being a child who’s relative recently fell victim to a virus so contagious that no family members could visit them before they died. Now picture being that kid and seeing someone in a hazmat suit, making fun of our current, messed-up state of health. Not fun at all, is it?
Before Moana even hit theaters, Maui costumes made headlines. Not only is it wrong to appropriate tribal tattoos like that, it’s wrong for white kids to be wearing a brown person’s “skin.”
Brownface is out, guys. Especially considering how this country has traditionally treated Mexican immigrants.
Día de los Muertos
Sugar skulls are beautiful, and we truly admire anyone who can replicate this makeup. But also, the Day of the Dead is a religious holiday that you don’t get to steal.
“When a white person goes out dressed as Mulan, they’re praised for their costume; however, as a Chinese-American, when I wear that same costume as a part of my culture, I am often ridiculed for it,” writer Ashley Wen said on Odyssey. Let your child admire the Disney heroine, and then direct them to a costume that doesn’t make other kids feel like their culture is better off as a costume than as a way of life.
So this retro “hobo” look is cute, and I definitely dressed as a “bum” on more than one occasion as a child. But now I know better, and so should all parents. As the homelessness crisis worsens in this country, affecting many children worst of all, it is not something we can take lightly anymore.
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