Our country, and for that matter our world, has provided us with more than enough current events to keep us laughing this year. And naturally, there have been many tragedies, as well. But whether comedy, tragedy, ridiculous celebrity stunt, or anything in between, there is a Halloween costume for everyone and everything under the sun. Don’t believe me? You will after reading this list of costumes that are representative of the year 2016.
Not shockingly, you will have the Donalds, the Hillarys, and the obvious choices like that. But did you know events around the globe can be personified into a costume? There is Brexit, transgender bathrooms, even the Zika Virus that can be an outfit. And let’s not forget all the people that made 2016 so memorable- celebrities who have passed away, Olympians, Brangelina, and so many more. What would our world in this day and age be without them? (Boring- the answer is boring).
This list could have been 100 items long; I saw a traditional Latin dancer costume from Havana (representing the U.S. and Cuba restoring relations), costumes of water (so dull, but portraying the Flint Water Crisis), and even bloodied Japanese costumes characterizing the mass stabbing that occurred in Japan. I have even seen people dressing as Native American Indians in traditional attire, depicting the controversy over the Dakota Pipeline that is currently happening. But for now, we will stick to the more obvious choices for a costume if you want to embody the biggest headlines of this year. Here are 15 of the best…
15. Transgender Bathrooms
Upon first glance, this is not the most exciting costume in the whole entire world (ok, or the most romantic couples costume), but there is more to it than meets the eye. I am talking about the whole issue of transgender bathrooms that has largely emerged in 2016. Earlier this year, the Justice Department told North Carolina that its new law regarding the use of sex-segregated bathrooms being used only by people of the corresponding sex, was in violation of federal civil rights laws. The schools got more heavily involved, and pretty soon, the transgender bathroom issue grew even larger than it ever has been since it all started up a few years ago. Safety and privacy are arguably the two biggest concerns when it comes to deciding if transgender people should share a bathroom with their biological gender, or the gender they identify with. Want to be a part of all the fun (gag)? Make your own transgender Halloween costume and make a statement this Halloween. Just look at how cool it looks!
14. The Zika Virus
Didn’t think there was such a thing as a Zika Virus Halloween costume? Well, you would be wrong. The World Health Organization has declared the Zika Virus (which is a disease spread by mosquito bites and can cause birth defects if the mother is bitten and infected while pregnant) a global emergency. Brazil’s world-famous Carnival took place in the spring, but inspired costumes that will no doubt be prevalent for Halloween, as well. It boasted people wearing the personification of this deadly virus. The Zika-inspired costumes were worn despite the growing concern over the virus, and people partied on for the Carnival. There, 100,000 people have been infected, but hey, if you can’t beat the disease, mock it, right? So if you are in need of a costume this year that gives the middle finger to the Zika Virus (or illness in general), you might as well consider dressing as Zika. The costume is creepy enough to be Halloween-scary too, as it resembles the beaked masks worn by plague doctors and is representative of death.
13. The Kid Who Fell in the Gorilla Enclosure
Remember when that kid in Ohio who fell into the gorilla Harambe’s enclosure in the Cincinnati Zoo earlier this year? The story was everywhere and people were outraged at this child’s mother, who “allowed” it to happen. I’ll bet that mom never thought her kid (and for that matter, Harambe) would become a Halloween costume together by the time Halloween rolled around. It is just around the corner now, and the duo- the four-year-old little boy and the 17-year old (now-deceased) gorilla- are a, shall we say creative, option to dress up as this Halloween.
Last May, little Isaiah fell 10-12 feet into the enclosure, and was tossed around by Harambe to the screams of everyone helplessly watching in horror from above. Zookeepers had no choice but to shoot the endangered Silverback Western Lowland Gorilla, who died as a result. There was a global outcry, a petition, and repeated calls for the parents to face charges for neglect and for the gorilla’s death. But in the end they were not charged. Fun costume choice!
12. Sinister Clowns
Recently this year, people dressing up as creepy clowns have been lurking around different cities and towns across the nation. They are not necessarily threatening, but in a sense, they are because they look very scary and you don’t know what their intentions are. It all began in Green Bay, WI back in August, when a man was seen walking around in black and white clown makeup (it was later revealed that he was doing promos for a horror short). Then children in South Carolina said they saw clowns who were trying to lure them into the woods.
The clown incidents began to spread like wildfire to 20 different states and even abroad. But what do they want? Was this all because of the film guy in Green Bay? No matter the reason, the sinister clowns have caused school closings and arrests nationwide, although no one has thus far been hurt by them. I should say, no Americans have been. A man wearing a clown get-up in Sweden stabbed a teenager last week, but the teen survived. Hopefully that is the first and last injury we hear of from these weird clowns. The good news is, if you want to be a clown for Halloween, it is pretty much the easiest costume to make or buy. Plus, you kill two birds with one stone; you have a simple costume, and you get to represent 2016!
11. The Donald and Hillary
Ok, we all knew these two would make the list. Even if it weren’t for the upcoming elections (next week, yikes!), they are both pretty hilarious characters, so it is natural that they would have their own likenesses as Halloween costumes. The only question is whose is funnier (I am gonna go with Donald’s, only because of the orange-ness and those faces he makes. Oh, and the hair- can’t forget the hair). There are several versions of these two presidential candidates available on the market from Amazon, Party City, etc. Or you could get creative and fashion your own, as the people have in the picture above. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are two of the most recognizable faces on the planet right now, and in weeks, one of them will be elected as leader of the free world, which is scarier than anything related to Halloween. So why not dress up as your favorite presidential hopeful?
10. Pokemon Go
If you’re looking for a fun, light-hearted, culturally-relevant costume, a Pokemon costume may be the way to go. Pokemon is nothing new and has been around for decades, but this year the new version of the game, called Pokemon Go, has taken off and people have gone insane over it. There are many variations of the costume too, so you have a lot to work with if you decide to go this way for Halloween. However, if you are looking to be original, this may not be the way to go as the game is so wildly popular, a ton of other people may be dressed as Pokemon, too. It has been downloaded more than 500 million times worldwide. And while it is a good thing for gamers because it promotes physical movement, it has also been controversial because of said physical movement, which has contributed to players’ accidents and them being (for lack of a better word) annoying in public.
9. Ryan Lochte
A massive event of 2016 was of course the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They finished up a month or so ago, but you can keep the party going by dressing up as (or having your child dress up as, because that’s so appropriate given his activities), superstar swimmer Ryan Lochte. Before this year’s games, I would have been all for this costume, but Lochte kind of lost his role model status in my eyes when he engaged in some drunken vandalism at a gas station in Rio, and was subsequently pulled over by police, whom he accused of robbing him at gunpoint. The facts of what really happened remained shady until Lochte admitted to over-exaggerating the story. Now he is slapped with a 10-month suspension and cannot participate in the 2017 World Championship. He seems remorseful and has publicly accepted responsibility, so let’s hope this 12-time Olympic medalist is still worthy of his role model status (and having a Halloween costume in his likeness).
Believe it or not, there is a costume for Brexit, the nickname for the process of the U.K. withdrawing from the European Union. This was a major headline earlier this year in June, when the decision was made based on a vote. It was a decision that shocked the world, and also shocked those in the U.K. Combining the words “British” and “exit”, you get the new word “Brexit”. Cute, as is the costume. These girls have come up with a clever, creative, and cute way of portraying their country’s separation from the E.U., and it looks easy enough to copy if this is a look you would go for for Halloween. You can also rock our own country’s red, white, and blue national colors with this outfit. Leaving the E.U. is a long and complex process, so it could take awhile, but they are hoping to have Brexit completed by March 2019.
7. American Idol Ends
After 15 long seasons of singing, singing, and more singing, this year the show that arguably started all singing shows, American Idol, came to an end with its last-ever season. That is kind of a big deal. And whether you are sad about its end (or very happy), it is super easy to dress up to represent the show’s conclusion. Just look at this cutie who obviously got her costume in a store like Party City or something. But you wouldn’t have to. Really, since people audition and perform wearing all sorts of stuff on the show, all you would need to do is make an American Idol label for your shirt. This Idol mic is pretty cool though, but again, easy enough to make on your own if you don’t feel like spending the money. American Idol began in 2002 and was one of the most successful television shows in American television history. The last season ended in April of this year.
6. The Black Lives Matter Protestors
Again, an easy enough costume to make at home, and a very relevant one to this year. Even better is if you can go with a group, and some people dress as cops with guns (if you can find a place fake guns are allowed, that is). The Black Lives Matter movement is known for protesting quite regularly, and so all you need for this Halloween costume is to dress in normal, everyday jeans and a sweatshirt, maybe wear a backpack, and carry a sign that reads, #BlackLivesMatter. After all, the hashtag is where it all began after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Then his shooter, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for it and people went crazy, especially when a string of police killings of black people followed. This was a few years ago, but racial tensions are higher than ever, and every day this movement gains more momentum. 2016, itself, has seen several police killings of black people (and for that matter, every color of people), racial profiling, and police brutality in America.
5. Brangelina Breakup
There is a costume for everything under the sun, so why not good old Brad and Angie? Some people love them, some people hate them, some people love to hate them, and some people love to dress up as them for Halloween. The folks in the photo above did a pretty damn good job of it, I must say. Complete with their brood of children in the slings, Brad’s signature tweed cap and sunglasses, and even Angelina’s foreign script tattoo on her arm, this is a great likeness to one of the most famous (and beautiful) couples on the planet. And yet again, one costume that is very easy to replicate. Can you believe it has already been 12 years since the movie star and Jolie first got together? It took awhile for fans to warm up to them, but they eventually did, and now that they are divorcing, it has a lot of people bummed out. Not me. #TeamJen.
4. The Country’s First Penis Transplant
Thomas Manning of Massachusetts underwent a 15-hour surgery to receive a new penis after his own was removed due to cancer. I am not sure of all the logistics here (how did he pee? How do you “match” donor and recipient? Also, he is crazy for letting doctors who admitted the surgery is “experimental” and “uncharted waters” perform it on him?). The organ he received came from a deceased donor, but Manning said he had experienced hardly any pain, which is frankly surprising.
Only two other penis transplants worldwide have been successful thus far, and those were in South Africa and China. Given the psychological toll, a penis transplant could be lifesaving, and it is thought that there are many veterans who would benefit from the operation. While Manning, for one, was not quite ready to look at his new appendage just after surgery, you can dress up as a penis for the whole world to see this Halloween. Better yet, have a buddy dress up like a doctor like this duo did, and make it glaringly obvious what you are portraying at your Halloween party.
3. Oscar Pistorius Sentenced
Back in June, Oscar Pistorius was finally convicted of murdering his girlfriend, and sentenced to six years behind bars. His trial has gained worldwide recognition, and lasted for over three years. Originally, he had been sentenced to manslaughter in 2014, but last year a higher court reversed it to murder. Now, unless there is an appeal, this will be the final sentence for Pistorius, who was an Olympic sprinter. He was charged with killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day 2013. He shot four bullets through a door, because (according to him) he thought she was an intruder. According to the Prosecution, however, he shot her because they had a fight. Only Oscar will ever know the truth, but this story gripped the whole world, and if it gripped you, why not dress up as South Africa’s favorite murderer/Olympian/Paralympian gold medalist this Halloween? This costume here is available on Ebay, and comes complete with his Olympic outfit, a “gun”, and legs that look to be prosthetics like Pistorius’ in real life.
2. Prince’s Death
As everyone in the world is well aware, Prince Rogers Nelson (known professionally as Prince) died on April 21, 2016 of a fentanyl overdose at the age of 57. His death took over headlines for weeks, although yet another rock star/famous figure to succumb to an overdose is hardly a surprise anymore. People loved Prince as an artist partly because his music embraced so many different styles all at once- funk, rock, R & B, hip hop, soul, pop, and the list goes on. Interestingly, the singer was a Jehovah’s Witness and a vegan for part of his life. Initially upon his death, the sales of his music spiked by an impressive 42,000 percent. I think it is safe to say that like Michael Jackson, Prince had a huge impact on the music industry and will go down in history as an amazing and talented artist. Even though he struggled with addiction and pain management, he is definitely someone who will be memorialized this Halloween. As we can see, even babies can dress up like the iconic Prince!
1. Syrian Refugees
This costume perhaps should have been on the list we recently published of the most offensive Halloween costumes, but it also has a place here. It has been called “one of the most insensitive costumes you will ever see”, and I can see why people would say that, given the situation over in Syria and other places around the world right now. Thousands of people are suffering, dying, and losing their loved ones every day, so it is hardly something to be made light of in a Halloween costume. That being said, obviously people will do as they please, as did this woman, Abigail Dapron. She is (somewhat surprisingly) a missionary from Missouri who caused an uproar online with her depiction of a Syrian refugee- baby, hijab, and all. Offensive? Maybe. But I gotta hand it to her, this costume is definitely relevant in terms of current affairs. According to themuslimvibe.com, 73% of people polled were, in fact, offended, while the other 27% were not. Are you?