It will never cease to amaze me what some people consider to be funny. My one solace is that sometimes (meaning very few and far between as costumes such as these take forethought) people think up this crap while less than sober. Other times, it is just plain ignorance, but worst of all is when it is neither. When truly offensive Halloween costumes are the product of sheer bigotry, racism, or hatred of any kind, it is unacceptable. People like to say that in 2016, we get “butt-hurt” way too easily, and I tend to agree; not everything has to be P.C. all the time. But the fact remains that there are always things you just don’t joke about, such as rape, race, and death. Sadly, there are way too many people who just do not get that, and who carelessly make light of others’ suffering. In the end, it is they who end up looking stupid though, so at least there is that.
Basically, I hate teenagers, who are largely the culprits that make up this awful list. But even worse than them are the grown-ass men and women who know better, but dress in these costumes anyway. Maybe they are attention whores, maybe they actually don’t know better and are simply ignorant, or maybe they do know better and just don’t care, which in my opinion is the worst scenario, as it speaks to what our culture is and who we are as a society. And the fact that social media is accepting and even supportive of some of these costumes illustrates our shortcomings even more.
These 18 highly offensive Halloween costumes should need no explanation of why they are offensive if you have not been living under a rock the last few years, but nevertheless I have provided in-depth reasoning on why it is a terrible idea to emulate any of these.
18 Coat Hanger Abortion
This costume is representative of a so-called "coat hanger abortion" (at first I thought it could also be miscarriage, but if you look closely she is holding a coat hanger) and is extremely offensive to multiple groups of people: those who have experienced it or those who oppose abortion. But even if you do not fit into either of those categories, let’s be honest- who wants to look at that? It is not cute. It takes a holiday that is supposed to be light-hearted and fun (even though All Hallow’s Eve does have dark origins) and turns it into something ugly.
Especially this costume, I do not understand why someone would do this. This girl obviously put a lot of time and effort into her costume, and it is a good costume, artistically speaking. What pisses me off about it almost more than anything else is that she looks happy...smug. But I cannot even think of a place where such an outfit would be allowed, much less accepted by people. I think if she showed up anywhere other than a house party, she would be run out of the venue by offended fellow Halloween revelers. I cannot say I wouldn’t be one of them. This “costume” is insensitive and disgusts me as a woman, as a mother, and as a decent human being. And sadly, this is far from the only costume of this sort that I came across.
17 Amy Winehouse Getting High
As we all know, sadly Amy Winehouse died of accidental alcohol poisoning at the age of 27 in 2011. She had a reputation as an unstable party girl, but even so, making light of someone’s death (or even just their struggles in life, such as Amy’s struggles with addiction) is not cool. Plenty of people fight every day of their lives with addiction, alcoholism, or similar afflictions, and even more people know someone who does. It is a real problem in so many people’s lives, and not something to make fun of, especially when you are clearly impersonating a person who succumbed to their poison and lost their life. Dressing up as Amy Winehouse the talented singer would be acceptable, and very different than portraying Amy Winehouse the drug addict/alcoholic, with a syringe in her vein. That is just morally depraved and I hope that her loved ones do not stumble across this photo of some assh*le pretending to be Amy with a needle in her arm.
16 Blackface and Racists
This picture is of three white people, one dressed as a black man, the other two (presumably a couple) from the Neighborhood Watch. They are both white, and pointing a “gun” at the black man’s head, and he also has blood splatter on his chest. Obviously, and with no need for explanation, this “costume” is extremely racist. In the light of all of the gun violence and racial tensions this year, and the Black Lives Matter movement that is tied closely to said gun violence, I would not be caught dead (excuse the phrase) walking around in that costume. People have been shot for far less, and in times of not as heightened sensitivity surrounding race. Aside from their own safety while wearing this costume (if you can call it that), these three people are disregarding the feelings of everyone they see, and everyone who sees them, which is a lot considering their photos were taken, and are now plastered all over the internet for all of eternity. That is ballsy, I'll give them that.
15 Child Soldier
Not shockingly, the most offensive costumes are the ones portraying the things we are most sensitive about, which in turn are things happening in our world such as injustices and heartbreaking current events. Child soldiers may not be on the front page of every newspaper, but we all know what is going on in terms of children being used in war, particularly in Africa. Just because we do not see it every day does not mean it isn’t happening somewhere, and that it is some other person’s reality. I guess the only positive here is that these children’s mothers (many of whom lose their little boys when the militia or resistance kidnaps them to fight) will never see these photos, and hopefully never know that across the ocean, Wal-Mart is profiting from their plight. Wal-Mart faced much controversy for this Israeli Child Soldier costume, which includes a shirt, trousers, belt, and hat. The uniform has Hebrew writing on it, resembling uniforms worn by the Israeli Defense Forces. While not an African soldier, it is still dressing up a young child as a soldier.Wal-Mart also sells fake latex noses advertised as “perfect for an Arab sheikh”, and not surprisingly, they got flak for that, too.
14 Cecil the Lion
These two very different costumes of the same thing are equally offensive. Now to be honest, upon first glance, I would have thought Ashley Benson’s costume was just a cute lion outfit, had I not read about the outrage over it. The Pretty Little Liars star did cause an uproar over this Instagram post of her Halloween costume, Cecil the Lion. And then we have another version of the Cecil the Lion outfit, albeit a more direct, and supposed-to-be-humorous version. I am not sure which is worse: making a sexy Cecil the Lion, or making a funny one. I guess either is pretty bad. This costume is so offensive because of the nature of the controversy. If you don’t know, Cecil the Lion was a well-known lion living in the Hwange Game Reserve in Zimbabwe. He was killed illegally, and then shortly after, his species of lion was added to an endangered list. His killing upset not only those who dislike and protest hunting in general, but animal conservationists and anyone who finds it appalling that Cecil was shot with an arrow, then stalked and hunted for 40 hours before being killed, and ultimately skinned and beheaded. I myself do not think it is an appropriate thing to make funny or sexy, but at the end of the day, I think I am more grossed out by the costume of the guy holding Cecil’s head than I am by Ashley Benson.
13 Hot Nazi... Or Any Nazi
Of all the things to make “sexy”, this? Really? Obviously ridiculous things are made into “sexy” costumes for Halloween all the time, but the level of ridiculousness here is twofold. Make that threefold: the fact that it is a Nazi costume alone is horrible, but then that it is sexy makes it worse, and that the world-famous model Alessandra Ambrosio is the one wearing it is even worse still. Yes, let’s make it sexy (and probably “cool”, in the eyes of her fans) to portray a soldier who aided in murdering millions of innocent people in what was the world’s biggest genocide. It is insulting, and there are many people who are still alive from that time who would undoubtedly say that it is not “sexy” in the slightest.
Dressing up as a Nazi- sexy or otherwise (and trust me, there are plenty of Nazi costumes on the market)- is distasteful, disrespectful, and downright classless. It is minimizing the hell that these people lived through, and almost mocking it. Making light of the Holocaust is not OK, ever, in any way, shape, or form. It is insensitive and unnecessary, and frankly, I am shocked at how many versions there are out there of different Nazi-inspired costumes, all of them offensive in some capacity, not the least of which is this Sexy Nazi. Hey, to each their own, but personally, that would never turn me on. In fact, it would do quite the opposite.
12 Blackface Crazy Eyes
Julianne Hough got some flak for dressing up as Suzanne Warren/“Crazy Eyes” from Orange is the New Black. It is not that she was portraying the character that offended people, but that she was portraying a black woman by painting her face. Personally, I love Crazy Eyes, and I love Julianne Hough, so my undies are not in a bundle over this one, although I can see where people are coming from. I actually think it looks more funny than anything because of her bright, baby blue eyes (I mean, she couldn’t have sprung for some contacts?) Julianne says she loves the show and Uzo Aduba (who plays the endearing Crazy Eyes), and wound up apologizing for her costume. Uzo was not offended, calling it simply an “unfortunate event”, and everyone moved on. OITNB star Laverne Cox probably said it best when she addressed the outrage: “I thought it was a shame that she is in this country, that she would wear blackface and not understand the historical implications of that. I don't think Julianne is making a specific informed choice to comment on blackness. I just think it's out of this ignorance. That's really sad.” Well said, Laverne, that pretty much sums it up.
11 Dirty Priest
OK, this is pretty freaking bad. While other variations of the disgusting/impure priest/nun abound (Priest with Erection, Pregnant Nun, Knocked-Up Catholic Schoolgirl, etc.), this one is by far the worst. Not even taking into account that many children have suffered at the hands of criminal priests (so much so that it is now a “thing”, and apparently, also a Halloween costume), this is just wrong on so many levels. Wearing a “Priest with Erection” costume may not be the worst costume crime of the century, but this one pictured above sure comes close. It is very offensive to those who have experienced this sort of thing, and those who have not, as well. Plus, I mean, do we really want to look at that? It is kind of cringe-worthy. All I can picture is my five-year-old son, who is about that size. No, thank you. Even if you do not have a child that age or gender, or even if you do not have a child at all, you surely know one. And anyone who has a little boy or girl in their life whom they know or love, will likely be (and should be) very grossed out by this.
10 Muslim Street Walker
Dressing up as just a Muslim (sans the hooker part) would be insulting enough for people, and actually it is, since that costume does exist. But a Muslim Hooker? That is crossing a line. Luckily the costume does not seem to be a prevalent one in our Halloween society as of now, because I saw very few of them. But the ones that do exist, such as the above, are pretty terrible. It is like mocking an entire religion, one that is already misunderstood and disrespected by so many, especially since the terrorist attacks 15 years ago. Sometimes it seems that things will never settle down in terms of Americans accepting the Islam culture, and things like a Muslim Hooker costume do nothing but perpetuate the intolerance. At the very least, the costume is ignorant and rude, and at the worst, it is offensive and appalling, and I hope no one is too hurt if they see someone in this costume, because really, it is the person wearing it who should be uncomfortable.
9 Wounded Soldier
I personally know several people who would be very offended by this costume. This is because they have children or other loved ones who have served overseas, and were at risk for being wounded (or worse), or actually were. Then there are the people who lost their lives defending our country, and I am sorry, but that is something you just do not make light of. To fight for our country is an honor and too many people have died or suffered physically or mentally for that experience to be reduced to someone’s Halloween costume. This guy looks almost smug in his soldier outfit (clearly American by the patch on his arm and the hat), and his arm is wrapped and bloody. Being hurt in the line of duty is the worst fear of so many people, so why flaunt the fake version like this, and make it worse for those people? This is one costume that is a big no-no.
This costume could be considered cute, and I can see where the parents were coming from in dressing their baby up as a homeless dude (and for the record, there are a ton of baby/child/adult homeless costumes, which is admittedly a very easy and cost-effective costume to pull off). These parents made one of those cutesy, artsy blog posts, a how-to in fact, about their baby’s costume. It is offensive because being homeless and hungry is a lot of people’s reality, and it is not a pleasant reality.
No matter why they are in their situation, it is a hard life. Even if their homelessness is their own fault, it is still a social issue that needs addressing, and not in this way. I can just see these picture-perfect parents with their pinterest costume ideas and their parenting blog, dressing up this kid and putting it all over the internet for the world to see, while down the street from their Beaver Cleaver house and white picket fence, a real human being really is hungry, and a person who really would work for that piece of candy. Smh.
7 Police Pig
People hate cops this year, but that sentiment extends beyond the borders of the U.S. This picture was taken in England, where one man named Steven Peers hated cops so much, that he dressed up as a pig in a police uniform. Obviously, his not-so-discreet message was that cops are pigs. But he was arrested in Manchester England for impersonating an officer. If you ask me, they clearly knew his “impersonation” was not him actually trying to fool people into thinking he was a cop (because he hates cops, obviously), but trying to get people on the hating cops bandwagon, and the actual cops were really just pissed off. And I mean, I get it. Police put their lives at risk every time they go to work, and even when they are off-duty sometimes, and regardless what you think of them, they deserve our respect. I always digress to the argument of how you may hate cops, but at the end of the day, we all need them. After all, would you not want them to come if you were in an emergency situation and called 911? If you are honest, you know you would. That said, for what it was, his costume was pretty good.
And then we have the now-overdone terrorist costume, which I believe has been popular since 9/11. It is sad that people like to take tragedy and turn it into something fun. And if ever there was a tragedy we could all agree on, it would be the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. We will all remember that day for the rest of our lives, even if we were not one of the unlucky ones who lost a loved one or were part of that day. Again, as with all of the other ridiculous costumes on this list that are offensive because they poke fun at something serious, dressing up as a terrorist is a bad idea because it is making a joke out of something so deeply personal to so many. What was our country’s worst day in decades, a day where more people lost their lives since Pearl Harbor, is apparently a good Halloween costume. And the people who wear the outfit of those who carried out these attacks, can then pose happily for drunken photo-ops like it is nothing, at all.
5 Sexy Twin Towers
Following that line of thought (and I could say the same exact things for this costume), we have the Sexy Twin Towers. Take out “Sexy”, and it is still one of the most morally depraved costumes I can think of. And it is worse than dressing up as a terrorist because at least with a terrorist, we collectively hate them so while making fun of it is still a painful and tasteless reminder, it is ultimately insulting the bad guy. This is insulting the people who died in those buildings that day, and that is simply unacceptable in my eyes. All I see when I look at it (well, besides idiotic co-eds who think they are being cute) is the Falling Man, and the smoke when those buildings came down, killing thousands of people within seconds. This is one of the worst, if not the worst, costume I have come across, and as with the abortion costume, I don’t really know where one could go wearing this other than a house party.
4 Jerry Sandusky’s Child Victims
There are a select number of children in Pennsylvania who are suffering lifelong consequences for the disgusting actions of convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky. It is true that the number of victims in this case is substantially less than, say, the victims of 9/11, but all across the country, and for that matter, the world, there are victims of sexual abuse and child sexual abuse. So costumes such as these are minimizing the experience of all of those people, not just those who suffered at the hands of Jerry Sandusky.
And going beyond that, seeing this “costume” out in public may bring back feelings from a similar experience, and even ruin a Halloween celebration for some. It leaves me wondering, why? Is dressing up like this- or like any of these costumes- really worth it? I mean, I totally get that people are selfish assh*les, but still... Like I have said and will continue to say, not cool. They should be ashamed of themselves.
3 Kim Kardashian's Paris Robbery
The folks at costumefish.com were obviously thrilled with Kim Kardashian's recent misfortune, which conveniently for them took place just before Halloween. Her Paris robbery has been all over the news since it happened on October 3 of this year. From what I have read, the experience was horrifying, and Kim is so traumatized that she wants to quit the long-running Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which will likely not be able to continue without her. Allegedly, Kim was alone in her hotel room in Paris (her bodyguard was out with her sister, thinking Kim was safe in her room) when men broke in, bound and gagged her and locked her in the bathroom, and made off with money and jewelry. They also held a gun to her head for a time. So as annoying and fake as Kim K. is, and as much as we love to hate her, I do feel bad for her. She probably legitimately thought she could die, and in one interview she said she thought she would never see her children again. To make fun of that, even if it is Kim Kardashian, is just wrong. And again, it is joking about that situation in general, which applies to more people than just her. I don’t care who you are; that is not a Halloween costume.
2 Boston Marathon Bombing Victim
Yet another costume making light of and minimizing another person’s tragedy. Shocking. Well, in this case, several people, although it shouldn’t matter how many people suffered, because even poking fun at one person’s tragedy is more than enough. On April 15, 2013, three people were killed and more than 260 were wounded when two brothers set off two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. That is no joke, no matter how you spin it. A seven-year-old girl lost her leg, along with 15 others, and that is just the beginning. As with all of these costumes, I get that it is the thing to do to take current events and make them into costumes. But seriously, dress up as Pokemon or Donald Trump or a celebrity (just not Kim K. getting robbed), not a terror attack victim. What the hell is wrong with people?
1 Ray Rice
Here is one we haven’t touched on yet: domestic violence. Because of course, dressing up as the man who punched his wife into unconsciousness in an elevator is a super-cool thing to do. He was suspended from the NFL for doing so, but people just seem to have that itch to make fun. I am all for making fun of the culprit, Ray Rice, but not the situation, and never, ever the victim. And thankfully, people dressing like this were given crap on social media for it, as they should have been. It is uncalled for, and in this instance, really singling out the victim. How do you think she feels looking at this? It probably kills her inside, and the fact that people think it is funny is beyond me. Her husband, the person she is supposed to love and trust above all others in her life, could have killed her. I cannot imagine the betrayal and hurt she felt. But to have that plastered all over social media in the form of a Halloween costume, and rubbed in her face, is terrible.
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