It's October! That means that Halloween is right around the corner, but as the big day slowly approaches, people will be frantically scrambling around trying to have the best costume of the year. Some people will make some good costume choices, while others make some pretty bad ones; as a decent human being, you try to be part of the group that makes good costume choices, but it's not always clear or easy!
Fresh U is here to help! Use this quick guide of ten costume categories that you should never wear to help steer you away from having an offensive and tasteless Halloween costume this year!
1. Mental Illnesses Costumes
Mental illness is a serious health condition. By putting on costumes like "Anna Rexia," the costume above, or any version of a "mental patient," this supports the false perception that a mental illness is scary, disgusting or even something to joke about.
2. Transgendered Costumes
The costume above, the Tranny Granny Costume, is the first transphobic costume to hit the markets in 2016. Between this costume and the various Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner costumes, Halloween stores are single handedly degrading and dehumanizing transgendered people by telling the public that they are just a Halloween costume and nothing more.
Be aware that many stores are still selling this costume under the names of "Granny Men's Costume" and "Manny Granny," but it is nonetheless still transphobic and offensive.
3. Cultural Appropriated Costumes
This rule is pretty straightforward and simple. Don't dress up as anything other than your own race or ethnicity (don't be apart of cultural appropriation)! This being said, things such as blackface, yellowface, Native American costumes or even Inuit (eskimo) costumes are a no go! Just to put it into perspective, blackface has been inappropriate for over 50 years, yet people still do it. As a general rule of thumb, if you have to paint yourself a different color to get a more "authentic" look, you probably shouldn't be doing it.
4. Sexy Problematic Costumes
Just to throw it out there, this is definitely not me telling women to cover up or that they shouldn't be allowed to wear a certain costume. "Sexy" costumes just usually take serious issues, such as the recent Harambe/animal rights controversy, and turn them into trivial or funny matters. Other "sexy" costumes such as a Sexy Geisha or a Sexy Native American costume, demoralize and demean certain cultures.
5. Zika or Ebola Patient Costumes
With the Ebola virus and Zika virus still not fully under control, Halloween costumes depicting these diseases are quite tasteless. While people are dressing up as specialists and zombies relating to the two viruses, it lets them stay distanced from those actually suffering and make light of the terrifying reality. Just to make you aware of how far costume shops will go, there are actually two costumes available called "Sexy Ebola Containment Suit" and "Sexy Ebola Nurse" in stores; they strangely found a way to kill two birds with one stone.
6. Pedophile/Sex Offender Costumes
Bill Cosby, Jared Fogle, Jerry Sandusky and Josh Duggar: do we need to say more about why these are bad costume ideas?
7. Homeless Costumes
Homelessness in our country is an extremely big issue. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, "In January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the United States. Of that number, 206,286 were people in families, and 358,422 were individuals." If you want to dress up as someone who has a beard and wears a flannel shirt, try being a lumberjack instead of poking fun at those who have to beg to survive.
8. Domestic Violence Costumes
Just like the other costumes, the subject matter of this type of costume is not a joke! Domestic violence, whether done by Ray Rice, Chris Brown or someone you personally know, is never something that should be made fun of on any given day of the year. As Janay Rice tweeted after she saw costumes derived from her situation, "It's sad, that my suffering amuses others."
9. Transportation Accident Victim Costumes
A Malaysia Airlines airplane with 239 people on board, including cabin crew and pilots, disappeared in 2014. Still in 2016, pieces of the plane are being found. Hundreds of families were affected as their loved ones never came home. I'm not quite sure how someone thought that making fun of people who died from a plane crash for Halloween was a good idea.
10. Recently Deceased Celebrity Costumes
In this example, each of the costumes are done extremely well. These costumes are not making fun of Robin Williams' death, such as other costumes posted online like "Suicidal Mrs. Doubtfire;" instead, they are honoring his many classic and iconic rolls. The only problem with costumes such as these relates to the concept of "too soon." It would be different if someone dressed up at Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe in honor of their accomplishments, but someone who just recently died is quite different. Just imagine that one of your family members just passed away and a bunch of drunk college kids are walking around dressed up as them. The general rule for someone who has just died is to just give it more time.
While you're trying to figure out what you're going to dress up as for this Halloween season, try to stick with costumes that aren't based off of controversial issues or make you second guess your choice. Yes, this is a country that prides itself off of freedom of speech, but it doesn't mean that you should go ahead and make certain statements. Be smart, be safe and have a great Halloween!
Lead Image Credit: MarkScottAustinTX via Flickr Creative Commons