Random Ephemera

Terrible Halloween Costumes Available This Year, and Why to Skip Them

Halloween in America seems more popular than ever, being the one day out of the year that even the meek and mild at heart can let their inner weirdo out without feeling bad the next day. Adults are nearly as likely as children to have a variety of Halloween activities planned for themselves during this spooky time of year, and a lot of us spend a lot of effort creating the perfect costume for ourselves. While some people have the skills and time to make their own amazing costumes, and begin planning months in advance, a lot of us will head out to a costume shop or order something online, and hope for the best.

Lots of terrible costumes are available to a person with either a lack of taste or sensitivity, and I'm not here to police the costume choices of other adults. However, folks should understand that if they show up at a party wearing the costume equivalent of a junior high fart joke or some kind of racist or sexist stereotype then some people might not want to be around them. With that in mind, I scouted a few costume shops and websites in search of the types of bad costumes that I'd personally want to avoid.

4. Burger King Goth Burger and "Sexy Poop" Combo.

The "Ironic Sexy Costume" is a popular choice this year, judging by some of the entries in the often terrible "Sexy" category, and this one has to be near the top in awfulness. When Burger King recently released its "Halloween Whopper", with its black bun, reports hit the Internet shortly afterwards that... Well, to put it delicately, eating one could turn a person's shit green.

Naturally, it was only a matter of time before someone responded with a DIY tutorial for making a sexy green poop and black whopper couples costume. The instructions call upon modifying the company's already existent "Tough Shit" costume, because of course that's already a thing some people want to dress as. The Halloween Whopper portion of this fecal horror show is made from a generic looking cheeseburger costume the website suggests using a sharpie to color the bun black with. There are so many questions this brings to mind. When this couple's future children see photos of their mom dressed as a green turd 20 years from now, how will that go over? If someone has the time to spray paint a poo costume green, and to use a marker on a hamburger costume, don't they have time to find better costumes they could work on? Also, I'm positive I don't want to hang out with people who use the words "sexy" and "poo" in sentences together.

3. Other Terrible "Sexy" Costumes.

I'm not sure why so many Halloween costumes marketed to women seem to fit the often "stupid and offensive " category, but they are. I'm a guy, and I'd be pretty unhappy if 90 percent of the costumes aimed at my gender consisted of less material than a handkerchief is made from. I don't have a problem with sexy costumes as a concept, but surely not every woman who wants to get dressed up for Halloween is attending a frat house party or hanging around strip clubs?

In any case, it seems like costume designers are drifting away from the classic stuff like "Sexy Red Riding Hood" and "Sexy Vampire" towards strange "sexy" versions of things most people don't think are sexy. These tend to either be kinda funny, or gross, and not going to post a bunch of examples of the gross ones, but in a world where "sexy green poop" and "sexy tampon" are real costumes, a person discovers there are few limits. One I saw and genuinely liked was "Sexy Pizza Rat", based on the recent viral video of an industrious rat carrying off a whole slice of pizza. 

2. Caitlyn Jenner

Seriously, I'm not the most sensitive person in the world, but dressing like Caitlyn Jenner is just going to make whoever's doing it look like a complete asshole. And before anyone shouts "You can't tell me what kind of costume to wear!", they're correct. I'm not. In fact, by all means wear the "I'm trolling people in real life" costumes, that makes it much easier for the rest of us to figure out who the creeps are. However, no one has to support someone else's choice of wearing something, and if a person's idea of a great Halloween is stirring up shit and offending lots of people while also avoiding any level of creativity, then maybe he should just stay home.

1. Chief Long Arrow and Other Racially or Culturally Insensitive Costumes.

Oh boy, and are there a bunch of them. While it might've been acceptable for white dudes to dress up like "Mexican Bandidos" or "Indian Chiefs" 30 or 40 years ago, one doesn't have to attend sensitivity training to know on some level that it's not considered cool now. When I went into a large costume shop recently, I was surprised, but not shocked at the number of lame costumes available that fit into this sad category. First there was "Chief Long Arrow", a dumb looking "sexy" costume for men that manages to mix cultural theft in with a silly dick joke. Judging by the photo of the model on the bag, I'm guessing this is aimed at white guys. There were also plenty of "sexy Geisha" and other ill-conceived costumes scattered around the same shop. As a rule of thumb, reducing an actual culture or racial group into a stereotyped sexy outfit, is not something considered cool anymore.

Then I stumbled across the "Rasta wig with cap" a few aisles over. I've argued my stance that a white person with matted hair isn't necessarily appropriating anything from black culture. There are many arguments on both sides of that debate, but one thing is sure - It may not be cultural appropriation when a white person simply has that hairstyle, but it sure as heck is if they buy a wig and hat that's intended to make one look like a Rastafarian. A hairstyle is one thing, but specifically dressing up as a person from a minority culture one doesn't belong to is completely different.

Let's face it, there are lots and lots of bad costumes out there, and no one can force a person to not dress up in an offensive or mean spirited outfit for Halloween. However, if someone doesn't want to be known as an insensitive jerk, avoiding costumes designed to be offensive or just gross is probably a good idea. Dressing like "Quaalude Bill Cosby" or "Jared From Subway", might sound like a funny idea, but dressing like an accused rapist or alleged child molester might not get the reaction most people want.

Halloween is a great holiday, and one where a person's creativity can be put on display. Why screw that opportunity up by picking a crappy or mean costume to wear?

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Chris Lane is a contributing writer who enjoys covering art, music, pop culture, and social issues.