How Not To Be Offensive This Halloween
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

How Not To Be Offensive This Halloween

It's no fun being offensive.

How Not To Be Offensive This Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner and we all know people are thinking about costumes. And with costumes come ways to offend, so as a reminder to all, try not to be offensive on Halloween this year. Here are some tips to remember how not to offensive.

I know people want to dress up as characters who are black. Perhaps you want to be the badass Michonne from "The Walking Dead" or the awesome performer Beyoncé. You can do this without doing blackface: just wear Michonne’s identifiable katana sword, headband, and grimy, apocalyptic clothes (the vest, shirt, and jeans). For Beyoncé, wear her key honey-blonde hair and have an awesome (most likely sparkly) performer’s outfit. Basically, look at what memorable things she has worn during tour and try to copy that. And you’re probably wondering, Why can’t I just take brown or black paint to make myself darker like that, it's the same thing as painting myself purple! However, it is not. Those colors don’t have a damaging and offensive history that blackface has.

Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used by white performers dressing up as black people popularly in the 19th century during minstrel shows. They would wear blackface made by burnt corks, paint exaggerated red lips, and wear gaudy, ratty clothing. Later on, when black performers were accepted for the first time, they were only accepted in blackface. Blackface was a way to mock black people and their features. Overall, it’s a racist and stereotypical portrayal of black people that was used during a time of racial inequality. So don’t try to use makeup to look like a race or ethnicity. Race and ethnicity are not costumes. You’ll only be, for the most part, perpetuating harmful stereotypes.

(Don't do this.)

Just like race and ethnicity aren’t costumes, neither are other people’s cultures and identities, especially those of marginalized groups. For example, don’t try to be Native American and wear the headdress (and for the people in music festivals, please stop that). These are real-life cultures that people practice; it’s very mocking to wear their traditional garments that some have been ridiculed for as if it’s just a cool costume. It’s not a costume; it’s something meaningful to them, something they are trying to preserve; it’s not something fun to dress up as for Halloween.

And most definitely don’t go as Caitlyn Jenner. Even if Caitlyn Jenner herself declares it’s fine, it’s really not. Dressing up as Caitlyn Jenner is harmful, as it reduces transgender folks to jokes and stereotypes. The struggles many marginalized groups have faced and are still facing aren’t costumes and something to be made light.

(Don't do this either!)

Lastly, don’t try to do anything that’s heartless and tasteless. Don’t try to be stupid and be something like a student from a school shooting or Cecil the lion. Why would anybody ever think that would be a good idea? I honestly cannot say why people can be careless but if you’re thinking about doing something similar, perhaps you should not. Real-life tragedies and people (or animals, in Cecil’s case) who have died are not costumes; it’s not only disrespectful to the victims but to the victims’ families.

(And definitely don't do this!)

All in all, Halloween is a fun time of the year, when it’s cool to be your favorite fictional character or favorite celeb. But it can all be done in a respectful way therefore don’t dress up as something that promotes racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia. So guys, here's to having a happy, safe and non-offensive Halloween!

If you are still worried about your Halloween costume being offensive, you can do this flowchart on Refinery29.It’s a pretty good guide on determining costume dos and don’ts.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

100 Reasons to Choose Happiness

Happy Moments to Brighten Your Day!

A man with a white beard and mustache wearing a hat

As any other person on this planet, it sometimes can be hard to find the good in things. However, as I have always tried my hardest to find happiness in any and every moment and just generally always try to find the best in every situation, I have realized that your own happiness is much more important than people often think. Finding the good in any situation can help you to find happiness in some of the simplest and unexpected places.

Keep Reading...Show less

Remember The True Meaning of Christmas

“Where are you Christmas? Why can’t I find you?”

A painting of the virgin Mary, the baby Jesus, and the wise men

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. Christmastime is a celebration, but have we forgotten what we are supposed to be celebrating? There is a reason the holiday is called Christmas. Not presentmas. Not Santamas. Not Swiftmas. Christmas.

boy standing in front of man wearing santa claus costume Photo by __ drz __ on Unsplash

What many people forget is that there is no Christmas without Christ. Not only is this a time to spend with your family and loved ones, it is a time to reflect on the blessings we have gotten from Jesus. After all, it is His birthday.

Keep Reading...Show less
Golden retriever sat on the sand with ocean in the background
Photo by Justin Aikin on Unsplash

Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore my dog. I am constantly talking about my love for her. I attribute many of my dog's amazing qualities to her breed. She is a purebred Golden Retriever, and because of this I am a self-proclaimed expert on why these are the best pets a family could have. Here are 11 reasons why Goldens are the undisputed best dog breed in the world.

Keep Reading...Show less

Boyfriend's Christmas Wishlist: 23 Best Gift Ideas for Her

Here are the gifts I would like to ask my boyfriend for to make this season unforgettable.

Young woman opening a Christmas gift

Recently, an article on Total Sorority Move called 23 Things My Boyfriend Better Not Get Me For Christmas, was going around on social media. I hope the author of this was kidding or using digital sarcasm, but I am still repulsed and shocked by the lack of appreciation throughout this article. I would like to represent the girlfriends out there who disagree with her standpoint -- the girlfriends who would be more than happy to receive any of these gifts from their boyfriends.

Keep Reading...Show less
Two teenage girls smiling

The 2000s were a time that many young adults today can look back on, joyfully reminisce and somewhat cringe at the trends and the fads that we all used to love and adore. Here's a list of things from the golden 2000s that will have one feeling nostalgic about all of those times.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments