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Fun, not offensive: be cautious of what you wear this Halloween

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Alex Miranda, Copy Editor

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Be cautious of what you wear this Halloween -- make sure not to be offensive.

Be cautious of what you wear this Halloween -- make sure not to be offensive.

Alex Miranda

Alex Miranda

Be cautious of what you wear this Halloween -- make sure not to be offensive.

Halloween is this week, and everyone knows what that means: struggling to find the perfect costume to wear for an outing with friends or family. There are many different aspects to consider when dressing up for Oct. 31. It is the one night of the year when people are able to try on a new look, personality and identity.

For teens, Halloween is not only a night of fun, but a way to creatively express themselves. Anyone has the opportunity to transform into something that is entertaining, hilarious or downright terrifying. The possibilities are endless.

What one should not dress up as, however, is something offensive.

Whether intentional or not, it is possible that individuals may cross a line in terms of racial or cultural insensitivity when designing and wearing a costume. It is important that one is cognizant of these principles so they do not come off as ignorant or apathetic on Halloween night, or any other time for that matter. There is no worse way to ruin an enjoyable festivity than presenting oneself in a disrespectful manner.

The first aspect to consider when drafting a costume is to ask oneself if the attire and accessories are insulting to a particular group or race. One should avoid conveying a community of people as one-dimensional. Stereotyping is not something that is acceptable, in a costume or otherwise.

For example, people should avoid dressing up in traditional tribal or ethnic outfits that pertain to a specific group’s heritage. This is offensive to the history of specific groups and the struggles they have faced in the past.

Another consideration to note is that one should not add blood and gore to costumes relating to cultural or ethnic groups. This is offensive to real-world people and experiences that were truly frightening and horrific. It is demeaning to “dumb down” or appropriate these hardships for entertainment purposes, as they are not something that should be made light of.

Similarly, religions and the beliefs they encompass should not be appropriated for a Halloween costume. There is such a multitude of religions and therefore so many belief systems that should be respected and courteously acknowledged. Simply put, it is best to just avoid costumes related to religion and spirituality altogether.

Another Halloween nightmare is purposefully altering the color of one’s skin for the sake of costume attire. Not only is this unnecessary, but it is also extremely ignorant. It is never acceptable to change the skin tone of one’s complexion for a Halloween costume.

The fact that this even needs to be argued against in the first place is scary in-and-of itself.

One final thought when designing a costume: leave the weapons where they belong — on the shelf at Spirit Halloween. Just as we should make a conscious effort to avoid being offensive to cultures, races and religions, we should do the same to those who have been victimized by deadly weapons. In today’s climate, it is insensitive to make light of violence when it is such a prevalent issue in society.

Make your Halloween night a treat, and remember it’s not that tricky to have a great costume without offending others. If you are questioning whether or not your costume is insensitive or inappropriate, chances are it probably is. There’s so much creative and positive inspiration to draw from, so one should not let themselves or others settle for a costume that provokes negativity.

You don’t want to end up looking more ludicrous than the clown knocking at your door.

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Fun, not offensive: be cautious of what you wear this Halloween