How Not To Be An As*Hole This Halloween
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and honestly, I start preparing my costume before summer has even ended. But sometimes people can miss the mark with their costumes and be controversial or even offensive.
I remember as a kid going around the neighborhood trick or treating with my family and friends, and we would all be dressed up as our favorite characters, superheros and childhood idols. Everything seemed possible, and best of all, we got to eat a ton of candy.
As I got older though there was a lot more choice in costumes that were inspired by pop culture and current events, and not all of them were good things. I was still young enough to be going trick or treating, around 8 or 9, but there were some questionable costumes going around the neighborhood.
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So here are some things you might want to consider before you send you costume-clad children out to school, a party, or to trick or treat.
- Does a costume ‘mock’ or make fun of a person or group of people?
If a costume plays into stereotypes or portrays negative thinking about a type of person or group of people, it may be a good opportunity to speak about the damage of stereotypes and the importance of having tolerance and being accepting of differences.
2. Does the costume use fashion or symbols from another culture?
If so, then how? And what is the reason for the cultural representation? Culturally influenced costumes are a tricky topic generally and it’s sometimes hard to navigate between respectful dress-up and cultural appropriation. A good rule of thumb: someone else’s culture is not a costume.
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3. Is a costume unnecessarily ‘grown-up’ or tight fitting because it’s for a girl?
Consent is a valuable lesson for all children to learn, and it’s never too early to teach children, especially girls, that their costume doesn’t have to be ‘sexually charged’ simply because a female is wearing it. Costumes for young children have no place being unnecessarily short or tight. If you Google ‘Girl Halloween Costumes’ you’ll see pages and pages of the same short and tight costumes including everything from clowns, angels, skeletons and even crayons.
4. Does the costume fit the environment?
It’s never too early for our kids to develop empathy and think about how their choices affect other people. If they are going to be around a lot of young children on Halloween then maybe the scary bloodthirsty ax-murder might not be a good choice of costume. Knowing your audience is a good life skill that will help your children in their older years. There is always room for compromise though, and it’s a good opportunity to open discussion.
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5. Is it divisive?
Is the costume political, depict a current event, or tragedy? If so, you should probably give it a miss. It will most likely bring about controversy for who ever is wearing it, especially if they’re a child.
What are you and your little ones dressing up as for Halloween this year? Let us know in the comments below!
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