Things To Avoid Wearing This Halloween
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Things To Avoid Wearing This Halloween

You can still look fly as Hell without making others uncomfortable.

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Things To Avoid Wearing This Halloween
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Ah, Halloween. The most wonderful time of the year. Pumpkins are everywhere, sweaters and boots have made a comeback, everyone is listening to the Spooky Scary Skeletons remix on a loop (no? Just me? Whatever). And everyone is planning their perfect spoop-tacular costumes. Witches, comic book characters, vampires, cops, Barbies, Lana Del Zombae, the wall from "Stranger Things" - there are so many classic, fun, witty costumes out there! But there are a few costumes that don't fit any of those adjectives; enter cultural appropriation and thinly veiled racism. I'm here to tell you what you should probably avoid adding to your outfit this Halloween, if you don't want to look like an *actual* creep when you're going out.

1. Bindis

Look, I get it. They make your eyes pop and it's just a body gem, right? Well, sure. But they mean so much more than that to the cultures who gave us this pretty accessory. In South Asian cultures that practice Hinduism, it can signify a few different things, but mainly they are associated with marriage and/or symbolizing the Third Eye. If you have no idea what that is outside of Third Eye Blind, it's a pretty good indicator that you probably shouldn't be sporting it across your forehead. The blending of cultures and cultural style is a great thing, but only if you're educated on where it comes from and why.

2. Indian Headdresses

This one is hugely controversial, due in part to the fact that Coachella and other ~aesthetic~ festivals are constantly under scrutiny for the presence of white and other non-Native goers wearing what is one of the biggest honors in Native American culture. Feathers and war paint are to be earned through valor and helping one's tribe. Those massive headdresses you wear that trail halfway down your back? In Native American culture, they're to be worn only by chiefs and those who have earned similar levels of respect by their tribe. If it's extremely offensive for someone in that tribe to wear it if they haven't earned that regard, how is it even remotely close to it being better for someone who has no Native background to justify wearing it? (Bonus: Dressing up as a Native in general is just something to be avoided - clothing isn't just culturally bound in Native groups, many other forms of clothing other than feathers have religious or ceremonious meaning and assuming that all Natives of all tribes dress the same is just silly).

3. Sombreros and Mustaches

And then say "I'm a Mexican, duh." Okay, stay with me - do the Mexicans you know actually wear those things? Bonus points if you do this on Cinco de Mayo (which actually isn't widely celebrated in Mexico) and use it as an opportunity to drink tequila. Just don't, guys. Please.

4. Blackface


And, of course, Blackface. Or Brownface. Or Yellowface. Or Redface. Or Whiteface. Basically, if you're not that race, it's okay to dress up as your favorite character as a salute to them - but, please, for the love of God - DO NOT PAINT YOURSELF TO LOOK LIKE A DIFFERENT RACE. If you're going as Mystique, paint yourself blue! If you're going as the Hulk or Gamora, go green! Aliens and monsters aren't actually real people with racially sensitive histories (well, maybe aliens - but we'll cross that bridge when they decide to contact us about that). But don't change your race just to say you went all-out. You run the risk of looking super racist, not only because going too black or too white or too yellow or too red or too brown makes you look like all people of that race are that color (Beyonce is light-skinned and I can guarantee people have done Blackface and gone too dark just to clarify that they are, indeed, going as a Black woman), but it also kind of signifies that you think the most important component to recognizing that character is the color of their skin. Shouldn't the clothing you wear say enough?

There are so many others - Asian conical hats, Gypsy costumes, the list carries on. But, basically, it comes down to this: If you are not part of the community you are choosing to represent, and you don't respect that culture enough to learn the history of it and carry that knowledge with you, in lieu of buying a Sexy Native costume off the rack because it's quick and easy, please just don't wear it. If your child's favorite Disney princess is Pocahontas, I'm not telling you to tell them they can't dress like her. But do make sure you're using a costume that replicates the Disney film's creation, and not a random beige-colored dress that you add beads to to make it look "like something a Native American would wear." If you practice Hinduism in some parts of your life and truly respect the culture and religion, wear a bindi. Just don't do it flippantly, because that is what continues to perpetuate poor race relations and we as a people should really strive to be above that.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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