How to Know If Your Halloween Costume Makes You Look Like a Jerk

How to Know If Your Halloween Costume Makes You Look Like a Jerk
Source: AP
Source: AP

I used to love Halloween but people keep ruining it. I've come to realize that some people are unable to dress up without being bringing cultural appropriation, racism, or sexism into the mix. 

I admit it. The endless tirade against sexy costumes either bores or enrages me. I really don’t care if you can’t find something to buy that isn’t sexy, you are probably a very creative person and I believe you can figure it out. We all get it, right?

I just think Sex and the City said everything that needs to be said on the topic:


Miranda: All right, what do they got? Witch and sexy kitten. That's it. The only two choices for women, witch and sexy kitten.

Carrie: You just said a mouthful there, sister.

This Halloween, more than any other, has definitely showcased for me that there is a significant lack of awareness around how political costuming can be. It’s probably only due to my own privilege that I missed a lot of this conversation before.

If you have been in a cave sewing sequins on your gender-bender costume, you may have missed the outraged sparked by racists deciding to dress up as Trayvon Martin and Geroge Zimmerman. Here we thought, in 2013, that we could all collectively agree that wearing blackface is a bad idea. Apparently these folks weren’t cc-ed on that memo.  

Ohio University saw cultural appropriation as the epidemic it is and made a poster campaign about it:


Photo credit: STARS, Ohio University

Then there are the costumes that may not be as explicit as blackface, but go for cheap shock and outrage. This past weekend, I met a woman who told me that her costume was "a beat-up prostitute." The cheerfulness of her introduction caused me to lunge for my beer as a table of eyes swiveled toward me, the feminist writer.

I wondered if she had any idea that she was dressed like a battered women on the same streets where police officers sometimes collect the fingerprints of sex workers so that when their bodies are found they can be identified.

Fun costume, lady.

It's not that hard to keep Halloween fun for everybody. Just stop and think: is this making fun of the dead or marginalized? Am I in blackface? Saying "no" to those two questions gets you at least halfway there. Use your moral compass to take it all the way home.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Danielle Paradis

Danielle is a writer for the Identities section of Policy Mic. She writes about pop culture and identity politics. She holds a Master of Arts in Learning and Technology. She's Metis. Danielle loves Boston Terriers, long blocks of text, and binge-watching series on Netflix. She's just started running recently and hopes it will stop being so hard soon. Lives and writes in Canada

MORE FROM

New White House communications director Scaramucci says press briefings should be on-camera

If the new White House communications director gets his way, the press briefings could soon be recorded once again.

At least 8 dead, 30 injured in locked tractor trailer outside Walmart in Texas

Authorities told press that the deaths were caused by "a human trafficking crime."

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.

New White House communications director Scaramucci says press briefings should be on-camera

If the new White House communications director gets his way, the press briefings could soon be recorded once again.

At least 8 dead, 30 injured in locked tractor trailer outside Walmart in Texas

Authorities told press that the deaths were caused by "a human trafficking crime."

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort now to testify before Senate committee behind closed doors

Trump Jr. and Manafort have avoided a subpoena and will testify behind closed doors — for now.

Hope Hicks reportedly tried to rein Trump in during explosive ‘Times’ interview. It didn’t work.

The low-profile Trump Whisperer is one of the few in the president's orbit to enjoy job security.