By Catherine Brown —
Halloween costumes promote necessary inclusivity and prevent discrimination of the person underneath the costume because they allow everybody to be treated based on their choice of costume.
Stores sell popular supernatural costumes, like Frankenstein’s Monster or Dracula, but they also supply common character archetypes like the princess or ninja. Many stores even sell “sexy” versions of costumes or generic versions of a trademarked character (‘Where’s The Stripey Dude?’ instead of ‘Where’s Waldo?’)
That being said, costume wearers should still be mindful of their choice of outfit. Cultural appropriation remains a controversial topic around Halloween, and for good reason.
Jessica Hickam of USA Today writes in an article that costume wearers should avoid anything suggesting blackface, Geishas, Native American princesses, etc. These costumes represent minority groups with a long history of oppression by white settlers and conquerors and should not be represented at your next Halloween get-together.
So how do you prevent culturally-appropriated costumes at your next Halloween function?
One tip is to set a dress code. Think of a dress code policy similar to that of an office party at work, where everybody can remain appropriate but still have fun. Hera S. Arsen, a lawyer for law firm Ogletree Deakins, said dress code and anti-harassment policies help avoid insensitive costume situations. Be forward in your approach. If you come across someone wearing an offensive costume, initiate a conversation about how their costume, explaining the connotations of their costume and how it may offend others.
You can do your part to prohibit discrimination for inappropriate Halloween costumes this year. If you witness inappropriate behavior this Halloween season, explain to the other person why their behavior is inappropriate, and let them know what they can do to fix it.
Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal