7 Problematic Costumes That Deserve A 'Boo' This Halloween

7 Problematic Costumes That Deserve A 'Boo' This Halloween

Every Halloween, it seems like people are getting more and more creative — and not for the right reasons.

Every Halloween, people get more and more creative, but not necessarily in a good way. If you're looking for some Halloween costume ideas, here are seven costumes I suggest you do NOT to wear.

1. Anything discriminating African Americans

Painting your face black to look like an African American person is rude and discriminatory. If you want to dress up as a celebrity, this is not the way. If you want to honor an African American historical figure, this is not the way. Instead, go on Pinterest or Google and search up nonoffensive costumes. And you do NOT have to paint your skin to prove you're an African American historical figure! As long as you put effort into dressing up as they looked, you should be fine.

2. Geisha Costumes

If you ever travel back in Japanese history to the time when geishas were prominent, you'll find zero pics of them wearing chopsticks in their hair, zero of them wearing a low-cut, chest-baring tight polyester dress and zero of them flaunting around looking like the cover of Playboy magazines. Geishas were actually people from both genders who specialized in arts and entertainment (and rarely of the sexual kind either).

3. Native American Costumes

Despite all the stereotypes about Native Americans, not all of them wear leather clothes or sport two braids. The culture of Native Americans vary widely across the nation and cannot be combined into one costume. And don't claim that it isn't cultural appropriation, because chances are (even if you are "part Cherokee") you're dressing up as someone whose ancestors were probably raped by yours.

4. Mexican Costumes

Most "Mexican costumes" portray the Mexican culture as lazy or too wild. But like all cultures, the Mexican culture is diverse and cannot be summarized in exaggerations like these. And using traditional holidays like Cinco de Mayo for monetary gains, well, what can I say?

5. Costumes making fun of eating disorders

Eating disorders are nothing to make fun of. About 30 million people in the United States suffer from various eating disorders per year. They are a common thing, and you probably know someone who suffers from them. Think of it like this – would you make a Halloween costume out of depression? Or anxiety? Probably not.

6. Homophobic Costumes

Dressing up as Caitlyn Jenner isn't just transphobic, it's homophobic. Again, this is giving a whole community one stereotype, and as we've established before, that isn't right. Everyone is different and unique, and we shouldn't let a Halloween costume define us.

7. Middle Eastern Costumes

Like all the aforementioned costumes, cultural appropriation. Sorry to inform you, but not all Middle Eastern people wear satin palazzo pants with a linen shirt and a tiny vest to go with it, along with a silk turban. Don't mix the diverse culture of one culture into one stereotype.

Obviously there are many more costumes than these that are offensive, but this is meant to serve as a guide to us hopefully being less ignorant and rude. Avoid political costumes, racial costumes, sexist costumes or costumes that may potentially offend a culture or group of people. In fact, if you think someone is going to be offended by your costume, don't wear it.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.


Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

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6 Ways You Can DIY an Outdoor Hangout This Summer

Turn that tiny cement square of a "patio" into a place you can actually relax.


Summer is here, which means you're done with classes and ready to get outside. There's so much you can do during the summer you can't do in any other season, especially when you're dealing with a full load of courses during the school year.

Hanging around outside with your friends can help make the kind of memories that will stick with you long after you graduate, and even be therapeutic. Relaxing or doing something fun outside can also recharge you for the coming semester.

Most of what you can do outside depends on where you live and what's around you. If you're in the mountains, you can hike all day long or go rafting. Living by the beach means you can jump in the surf or tan until the sun goes down.

Cities provide a space to roam and people-watch. But that all means you need to travel somewhere to have fun, which means paying for gas or even for the entertainment. On a college student's budget, that's not always possible.

Instead, why not make a DIY outdoor hangout this summer? You can have fun outside in the space you made, which will save you time and money.

No matter what your outdoor space looks like, you can create a place to fit whatever you want to do.

Read up on some ideas for inspiration and then get going. Your summer fun might be only minutes away.

Whether you have a patio or just a patch of grass behind your apartment, there are plenty of things you can try to make the perfect hangout spot for your friends.

Decorate with lots of colors or hang a hammock up for a few hours. You don't need to have your own pool or be able to host a neighborhood barbecue to do something fun.

Make a reading nook for yourself or a nice place to enjoy a meal. Whatever you decide to do, your outdoor hangout space is going to rock.

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Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

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