Pop Culture

Halloween Costumes You Should Probably Avoid at all Costs

'Tequila Pop N Dude": Just wrong on so many levels.
'Tequila Pop N Dude": Just wrong on so many levels. Screenshot by Chris Lane
Halloween is almost here, which means lots of people are planning on wearing some kind of costume for an event or two. Not too many years ago, getting a great costume together was much harder than it is today — unless a person was handy with making his or her own costumes from scratch, he or she was stuck with a limited selection of commercially available costumes, or could go to a rental place. In comparison, today someone who really likes to get dressed up for Halloween has a lot more options.

There are cosplay forums, Etsy shops and much better stocked costume shops, not to mention countless other online sources. There's no reason most people can't put together a great Halloween costume if they are willing to spend a bit of effort and money to achieve it. But while it may be simple to put together an attention-getting costume, it's also easy to get that attention for all the wrong reasons. Here are a few costumes to consider avoiding this Halloween.

4. Racially or Culturally Insensitive Costumes
I get it. It can seem like too many people are easily outraged over things they shouldn't be. There are definitely  people who seem overly sensitive and easily set off by things that it isn't reasonable to be so upset by, but there are also a lot of jerks out there who think it's okay to push any buttons they want without anyone ever having a problem with it. It boggles my mind that it's still relatively simple to go into a costume shop and buy items like “sexy Indian brave” or “Drunk Mexican.” (Yes, those are real.)

So unless you're going to a costume party thrown by the local KKK, perhaps it's time to grow up and forgo crap like that. Or at least understand that if you think those types of costumes are cool, many people are going to think you're a total a-hole…and they'd be right. (For the record, I also think it's offensive when you see “dumb hick” or “hillbilly” costumes.)

3. Political Costumes
Man, a lot of us sure spend a lot of time arguing about political stuff, don't we? It gets a bit exhausting, doesn't it? You know what would be really great? If we all just dressed up like politicians we love or hate for Halloween. Oh, wait…I meant, wouldn't that be the lamest thing ever? I have to hear about Donald Trump every day now; why wouldn't I want to see a few of his doppelgängers running around at a Halloween bash? Sorry, if I threw a party and someone showed up dressed as Hillary Clinton or Steve Bannon, that person would be refused entry. Same rules apply to pop-culture figures who tend to elicit angry responses. Besides being the equivalent of real-life trolling, these choices generally show a lack of creativity.

2. The "Sexy [Fill In the Blank]" Costume
I don't have a problem at all with anyone dressing “sexy,” and am not about to slut-shame someone for wearing something a bit revealing. Since this article is about “costumes that will get attention,” showing a bit more skin than usual is almost guaranteed to do that, and as long as the person wearing the outfit wants that attention, then what's the harm? But there's good attention and bad attention, and things can go wrong.

Potential ways this can backfire might include showing up at the party in your super-sexy superhero costume, only to discover that your host has invited friends with young kids. So if someone is going this route, it's probably best to find out what kind of shindig the party is going to be, and to get a feel for what's appropriate before you show up wearing a thong and not much else.

click to enlarge On the other hand, the author has no trouble getting into the Halloween spirit (so to speak). - PHOTO BY CHRIS LANE
On the other hand, the author has no trouble getting into the Halloween spirit (so to speak).
Photo by Chris Lane
1. The “I Wore a Costume But Didn't Even Try” Costume
A costume party is the one environment where a person might get attention for not wearing something that outlandish. I used to host yearly costume parties where dressing up was mandatory, and it was always lame when folks would show up dressed normally except for a hastily “bought at Walgreens en route to the party” clown nose, or a set of cheap plastic vampire fangs. If that's the amount of effort you're going to spend, why even go?
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Chris Lane is a contributing writer who enjoys covering art, music, pop culture, and social issues.