Opinion: Halloween Costumes Don’t Have to be Politically Correct, But be Conscious of the Statement You Make
Whether a Halloween costume should be politically correct is a difficult question to answer. It can be hard to distinguish what is politically correct these days, and everyone seems offended by something. When I think of political correctness, I think of how I act at work, in school, and even on social media. I would never purposely act or speak in a way that offends a specific group of people or encourages hate groups. When it comes to Halloween costumes, I think that political correctness can put some limitations on expression and creativity, which probably sounds cliché.
Halloween as a child was always fun, because my parents always let me pick out my costumes. I have been a witch, a Power Ranger, Barbie, a vampire, and just about every Disney princess. In today’s government, being politically correct probably means something different to each party. For example, someone wearing a Spider-Man costume may be considered politically incorrect to someone while seeming appropriate to another.
If a young woman dresses in a costume considered revealing, some may accuse her of going against feminism unless she adds some dragged-on political statement. There are too many “rules” for what is appropriate and what isn’t in a world where everything seems offensive.
I think it would be highly inappropriate to dress up as a terrorist or any other notorious person like Adolf Hitler. However, I do not find it inappropriate for someone to dress up as Pocahontas. Her story was turned into a Disney movie and people, especially young children, love it. I look at is the same way as any other Disney princess costume.
Mic published an article titled “7 Offensive Halloween Costumes It’s Time to Retire-and What to Try Instead.” One of the suggestions was a fortune teller gypsy. The costumes look fun and are in no way offensive or discriminatory so no, I do not agree that they should not be worn.
Another article titled “Infographic: Is your Halloween Costume Offensive?” published by Refinery29 makes some good and bad points. At the bottom of the article, there is an infographic that readers can follow to determine if their costume is appropriate. The graph argues that o
ne should not dress up as a China doll. I disagree. If the person wearing the costume is not disrespectfully mocking the culture, I don’t see the problem. There is a difference between expressing creativity and discriminating.
For example, it would be inappropriate for someone to dress up as a member of the Ku Klux Klan for obvious reasons. Some costumes may come off as offensive when the person wearing it meant no harm at all (like dressing up as a China doll or a gypsy). However, it is well known on the actions of the KKK. Costume ideas like this are the exception to not being politically correct. This isn’t a situation where a person can claim that it’s just a costume.
Recently in the news was a costume that was pulled off the shelves. People argued that it closely resembled Anne Frank. Anne Frank is known for her diary she kept during WWII while being imprisoned in a concentration camp, and those who have read her diary know that she never made it out. The costume did not have her name labeled on it but it was labeled as “WW2 Costume for Girls.” This is another exception to not remaining politically correct, because dressing up as someone who tragically died such as her is inappropriate.
Offensive Halloween costumes take the fun out of Halloween and so does always being politically correct. Everything seems offensive these days and sometimes we can’t do anything to help that, but sometimes we can. Think of it like this: if there is a picture of you in your Halloween costume, would you be okay with it being all over social media? Would you feel good about it if your parents saw it? Or your boss? If not, consider something else.