Skip To Content
  • Viral badge
  • WTF badge

Native American Chief, Anne Frank, And 15 Other Costumes You Should Absolutely Steer Clear Of On Halloween

Don't be the person who wears one of these...

1. Any costume that references a tragic world event or represents the victim of one.

Why this is harmful: Dressing up as a catastrophe or victim of a destructive world event can trivialize the serious impact of the event. It can also be seen as an attempt to mock victims.

Like this Anne Frank costume:

A girl dressed in a navy dress, wearing a satchel and a green beret

Or this coronavirus-inspired costume:

A mask that looks like a coronavirus molecule

2. Any costume that portrays someone in an unfortunate circumstance, like this costume of a person experiencing homelessness.

A person sitting on the floor holding a sign that says "Immigrant mother of 10 — anything helps!!"

3. Any costume that appropriates or pokes fun at someone's culture.

Why this is harmful: Scholar Susan Scafidi explained that costumes representing someone's culture can be disrespectful. "It makes people from those other cultures almost feel dehumanized. 'Like, what am I? A ghost? Am I a unicorn? I'm really just another human being.' [It can] make people feel as though they're essentially degraded," Scafidi said.

Like this Native American costume Jason Walsh wore in 2016:

Jason Walsh dressed up as a Native American standing next to Hilary Duff, who is dressed up like a pilgrim

Or this "Arab" costume Scott Disick donned in 2014:

And this Dia de los Muertos costume Ashley Tisdale wore in 2016:

Or this geisha costume:

A woman dressed up in a kimono

4. Any costume that appropriates someone's skin color or natural features.

Why this is harmful: Painting your face to dress up like someone of a different ethnicity makes people of color targets for mockery and disrespect. Not to mention, blackface has an extremely deplorable history in the US because of its use in minstrel shows, which dehumanized Black Americans.

Like this blackface costume of the character Crazy Eyes from Orange Is the New Black that Julianne Hough wore in 2013:

Julianne Hough wearing a blackface costume

Or this brownface costume Justin Trudeau wore in 2001:

There is a second photo of Justin Trudeau in brownface, from the same 2001 incident. This is from the school’s newsletter (he was a teacher at the time)

Twitter: @CBCKatie

5. Any costume that appropriates someone's religion.

Why this is harmful: Dressing up as a revered and worshipped spiritual figure or follower of a faith can be seen as disrespectful to those who practice that religion.

Like this Hindu goddess Kali ensemble that Heidi Klum wore in 2008:

Heidi Klum dressed up as Hindu goddess Kali in 2008

Or this "rabbi" costume:

A person dressed up as a rabbi

6. Any costume that makes fun of people with disabilities.

Why this is harmful: Portraying someone with a disability can promote unwanted stigma and stereotypes about disability. It can also be viewed as mockery, because the costume wearer often does not fully understand the experience of having a disability.

Like this costume of Simple Jack that Shaun White wore in 2018:

Shaun White is facing backlash for dressing up as Simple Jack, an intellectually disabled character from Tropic Thunder, for Halloween.

Twitter: @enews

Or this costume of a patient in a mental hospital:

Someone dressed up in a straitjacket

7. Any costume that glorifies a harmful figure.

Why this is harmful: Dressing up as an awful historical figure can promote the actions of someone who hurt many people or groups.

Like this "terrorist" costume Chris Brown wore in 2012:

Chris Brown wearing a robe and turban

Or this costume of a Confederate soldier:

A child wearing a Confederate officer uniform while holding a sword

8. And finally, any costume that sexualizes children.

Why this is harmful: Costumes that sexualize youths can encourage the idea that young, vulnerable people should be the subject of sexual desire.

Like this sexy Girl Scout costume:

A woman dressed up in a skimpy Girl Scout costume

Or this sexy schoolgirl-in-a-uniform costume:

Someone wearing a revealing schoolgirl outfit