Culture vs. Costume

It seems as though we can’t go one Halloween without a celebrity parading around in an offensive costume.  Whether its culture appropriation, misguided knowledge, or black face- countless of famed individuals have made their mark with an offensive Halloween costume.

In 2013 Julianne Hough dressed as ‘Crazy Eyes’ from the hit Netflix TV series Orange is the New Black.  Not only did Hough wear an orange jumpsuit, but she also donned black face.  Though I understand Hough’s devotion to the character, I do not condone her choice in blackface.

Previously actress Jodi Sweetin dressed in Catrina (A depiction of a female skeleton seen during Día de los Muertos) garb.  While some showed interest in the starlet’s decorative attire, others criticized the costume choice.  Día de los Muertos or The Day of the Dead falls on November 1 and 2 of each year and is meant to honor the deceased.  Although both Halloween and Día de los Muertos are cause for celebration, candy, and decorative grab; they are two distinctly different holidays.  One Instagram user posted this:

  • flowercglezUm…. That is NOT a Halloween costume. It’s the way my people celebrate the lives of those who have passed on. Please stop appropriating a tradition you don’t fully practice or embrace.

Recently Hilary Duff and boyfriend, Jason Walsh, came under fire because of their Halloween couple-costume.  Duff wore a pilgrim costume, while Walsh dressed as a Native American.  Duff and her boyfriend have since issued an apology.  Duff recently tweeted, “I am SO sorry to people I offended with my costume.It was not properly thought through and I am truly, from the bottom of my ❤sorry.”

While it’s important to embrace diversity; it’s also important to recognize that cultures are not costumes.  Within the past years, the media has become obsessed with overly racy, obscene, and insensitive Halloween costumes.  Costumes are no longer colorful and handmade, but are instead manufactured and overpriced.  Next year, I say we skip the Native American and Día de los Muertos ‘costumes’ and stick with something more traditional like… clowns.  Then again, let’s skip the clown idea…we’ve had too many problems with those this year too.


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