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Oct 15 2016
by Jenna Ciccotelli

The University of Florida Has Released a Statement Regarding Offensive Halloween Costumes

By Jenna Ciccotelli - Oct 15 2016
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With Halloween right around the corner, choosing a costume is up there on our to-do lists in the coming weeks. It's important to respect the feelings of others as we choose our costumes to keep everyone feeling safe and appreciated on Halloween. 

The University of Florida agrees with that. The school released a statement regarding students' Halloween costume choices this October.

The statement, published in The Gator Times, warns students about gender-specific and cultural stereotypes that may be present in costumes. 

If you choose to participate in Halloween activities, we encourage you to think about your choices of costumes and themes," the statement reads, before reminding students that "social media posts can have a long-term impact on your personal and professional reputation."

If students are bothered by any incident this Halloween, the Gator administration encourages them to take advantage of the resources available to them, including a 24/7 Counseling and Wellness Care Center counselor reachable by phone.

The Bias Education and Response Team at the University of Florida is able to respond to any reported incidents of bias, to educate those that were involved, and to provide support by connecting those that were impacted to the appropriate services and resources.

Clay Travis, a radio anchor with Fox Sports, prank called the hotline to report feeling troubled after seeing a Harambe costume. The call can be heard in full here.

While to some it may seem like the University of Florida is taking an extra step, it is important to remember that different people react to things differently, and that should be considered when choosing your Halloween costume. While you may not feel offended by something, it's crucial to realize that you don't know everything that your peers have experienced.

Individuals have taken to Twitter in recent weeks to share their take on costume protocol.

Fresh U has published a list of what not to be for Halloween this year, compiling costumes that are better left on the rack, including those depicting mental illnesses and homeless people. If you're still stuck, USA Today has a list of 2015's most popular costumes, which included Star Wars characters, minions, and the joker, or you can stick to the classics by dressing as a ghost or a pumpkin.

There are a lot of ways to celebrate Halloween while respecting the feelings of others.

We want you to all be safe, happy, and comfortable while celebrating Halloween.

Lead Image Credit: Dave Smith via Flickr Creative Commons

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Jenna Ciccotelli - Northeastern University

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