By Jordan Reisman
Halloween is upon us. The annual appearance of pop-up Halloween costume stores remind us that it is time to get into the spirit. To some, Halloween costumes are a chance to show off the breadth, width, and depth of their creativity and sense of topical humor. To others, it is a contrived and childish ritual that has lost all of its original meaning and acts as a hollow excuse for a cultural practice. These killjoys are usually the ones that go as “themselves.” However for a select few, Halloween serves as a means to channel their brand of off-colored humor that would not even be found on Tosh.0. In recognition of everything awful in the few days up to and including October 31st, here are five costumes no one should ever wear again.
1. The Overtly Racist Costume
This is the costume that gets its wearer to say, “Come on, you KNOW it’s true” as everyone else walks away and averts their attention to the girl at the party dressed as Lady Gaga. Since Halloween is the one day a year where it is totally acceptable if not encouraged to dress as something outrageous, these folks see that as a way to let their bigotry show. Examples of this caliber of autumnal horror include the Muslim Terrorist (there are versions of this that are made for CHILDREN), the Mexican (complete with donkey, poncho, and sombrero), and The White Guy in Black Face (“Can’t you guys tell that I’m Lil’ Wayne?”). Students at Ohio State University recently started a campaign called “We’re a Culture, not a Costume” targeted against racist Halloween costumes. Kudos, OSU.
2. The “Going as Myself” Costume
Okay, just admit it. When you say you’re going as “yourself,” you were too lazy or uncreative to come up with an original costume. When you tell people what your completely new and innovative costume is however, they can’t accuse you of not participating because you said it’s a costume.
There’s a few things wrong with this logic. The first being that going as “yourself” is completely self-indulgent and egocentric. If proposed as a serious submission for a “good” costume, it is basically saying, “I’m so recognizable that even if someone else was wearing this costume, you’d know it was me.” I’m guessing that what you consider to be your mark of distinction is your $3 fedora that you got on St. Mark’s Place, which is owned by every virgin in New York.
The Fedora Guy.
Image courtesy of deviantart.com
The second being that the “yourself” idea is the default for every low functioning wise guy. There’s no craft in it. It’s like the guy in freshman year of college who says marijuana should be legal because, “Then they could tax it, man” and expects the Macarthur genius grant.
3. The Trashy for the Sake of Trashy Costume
We’ve all seen it. Every Halloween party and college campus is filled with the wide aray “sexy” costumes. Sexy police officer, sexy Disney character, sexy nurse…it never ends! It has been said by scholars that Halloween is the one time of year where a girl can dress like a total slut and no one can say anything bad about it.
Well, I for one have a bone to pick with that sentiment. The issue here is not the so-called sluttiness (what straight American male could really complain about that?) but it’s the lack of creativity! Going online and buying a sexy sailor costume three sizes too small takes no more mental dexterity than creating a poster for a Nicholas Sparks movie. Furthermore, the conversation that starts with, “What are you supposed to be?” couldn’t be more dull when the costume is prefaced with “sexy.”
A “sexy grinch” costume.
Image courtesy of Yandy.com.
It’s not just the ladies though, who rock the hormone-laced Halloween costumes. The male counterparts to this are the ones who display their testosterone like a peacock (no pun inte…shut up). Examples of this breed of moron include Sperm Man, Breathalyzer (Blow Here), and finally, anything that involves a Catholic Priest (you all know what the funny part is). Donning any of these costume ideas will guarantee a very sexually frustrating Halloween.
4. The Not-So Childlike Children’s Costume
At a certain age in a child’s development, their ideas for costumes are pretty limited: pirates, princesses, yada yada yada. Many parents see it fit to step in and live vicariously through these tikes, at least in terms of costumes. They will go to certain lengths to buy a costume that reflects the child’s supposed interests or dreams, or simply make a thoughtful yet innocent costume for their kid.
Image courtesy of spirithalloween.com.
However, as in the other cases, there are the few that go beyond the realm of normal or acceptable costume decisions and pick out one for their child that is so wildly inappropriate that the child’s future is placed in jeopardy. The aforementioned Muslim Terrorist costume goes right at the top of the list as the child doesn’t look like he knows what he’s wearing. Other winners include the Pimp costume (who knew that so many kids have seen Taxi Driver?), and the girl’s Little Black Dress costume (see image above, its ambiguity only accentuates how dark the costume truly is). Who am I to antagonize these parents though? They’re single-handedly creating the next generation of sad reality TV stars.
5. The “Too Soon” Costume
Two San Franciscans dress as Chilean miners for a “Too Soon” party.
Image courtesy of SFWeekly.com.
Every year our nation goes through a few distinct tragedies where its citizens come together in solidarity. I’m talking about the kind of tragedy that gets Jon Stewart to deliver a deadpan monologue. For every national tragedy though, there are bottom feeders who prey upon our collective grieving and create a cheap Halloween costume out of it. Such notable gems include the BP Oil Spill costume (just a jumpsuit with the BP logo and oil smeared all over it), the three-person September 11th costume (Google it), and, though this is not our nation’s tragedy, I have personally seen a Chilean Miner’s costume (like the one above). The worst part of all of this is that there are some companies actually designing these costumes, meaning that they essentially wait for a tragedy to hit and a few months later crank out a Halloween costume out of it. Yay capitalism!
For brevity’s sake, I only included five costumes. There are a LOT more costumes that irk me to no end,
and besides, any costume you pick will probably offend at least one person on the planet (just look at
the tag that says “MADE IN TAIWAN”). If you really want to have a great Halloween, just think beyond
the same go-to costume ideas and have a little fun with it. When I was sixteen, I was a laugh track
because I was and am very clever. This time of year is about stepping out of the profane existence of
everyday and into the sacred world of make believe. So go pretend to be something you’re not, except a
terrorist. Don’t do that.