In the year 2021 people are still wearing racist, insensitive, culturally appropriated, and canceled Halloween costumes and it needs to end. It’s not right to deride and degrade someone’s culture by wearing a caricature of it. As a rule of thumb, if it’s a stereotype of something or someone, it’s a no-go. Stay away from dressing up as religious figures as people of faith will most likely be offended. Avoid figures of religious or cultural significance to a particular group to which you do not belong. For example, the pope is not a great idea.
We don’t know who needs to read this, but if you go as a specific person, that individual should not have committed genocide, mass murder, heinous crimes, or a terrorist attack. An Osama Bin Laden costume is just plain wrong. Further, there’s generally no good reason for darkening your skin tone. If you’re worried that your costume might be potentially racist, avoid the possibility of shame and embarrassment by choosing something not so problematic. Here are 25 canceled Halloween costumes that you most assuredly should not don. Many of these costumes are rather infuriating and you better believe they could trigger some rage. Consider yourself forewarned!
Avoid These Canceled Halloween Costumes to Save Yourself from Embarrassment & Ridicule!
Who in their right mind does this? The KKK is a domestic terrorist organization that actively hates, terrorizes, and sews divisions in our country. They’re not a thing of the past. By wearing their dumb sheet costumes, you’re endorsing their mission which is hate. Yes, a clansman is scary. No, it’s never okay. Don’t spread their hideousness with one of the worst canceled Halloween costumes on this list.
“People need to understand that when they are wearing that Calavera, that it’s not just a mask or something to decorate their face with,” Yreina Cervantez, a Chicano/a studies professor at California State University, Northridge, told the Inquisitr. “What they are wearing is the symbolism of that eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth.”
So, unless you were raised in Mexican culture, you should avoid these canceled Halloween costumes as you probably have no idea the significance they hold for others.
“To this day we are still fighting to tell our own stories because minstrelsy is the origination of our cinematic history before we ever had the chance to represent ourselves,” the person who posted this still writes. The image is a still from Birth of a Nation, a horrific film about the rise of the KKK. In the movie, white actors don blackface and act as offensively as possible. Blackface is a disgusting, enraging, hideous, and racist practice that some people still think is perfectly fine. It’s not. It’s never okay.
We eye-rolled so hard when we saw this image. Are you tired of these canceled Halloween costumes yet? Do not wear a crude “terrorist” costume on Halloween. Costumes that equate clothing associated with Middle Eastern culture as “terrorist” outfits perpetuate disparaging stereotypes. They often include items that imply violence, ultimately reducing a diverse group of people down to a single, stereotypical monolith.
Members of the Armed Services
“Sexy soldiers” and civilians in military fatigues are not too nice for the people who served our country. Imagine risking your life and then going to a Halloween party and seeing a costume that belittles that sacrifice. If you want to protest a war, fine! But, do not insult members of the military with your silly, canceled Halloween costumes. It’s not a game for them.
Stereotypes of Asian People
Again, a cultural stereotype does not justify a costume. Costumes of “men from the Orient” were big in the US starting in the 1920s. Hollywood began to crank out movies that vilified Asian men and women and academics now refer to them as Yellow Peril Films. The demand for racist costumes surged at the time. And, apparently, are still being made today despite being roundly condemned as canceled Halloween costumes.
Gaelic boys and men have been wearing kilts in the Highlands of Scotland since before the 16th century. They are made from tartan fabric and symbolize Celtic or Gaelic culture. They’re not funny or novel. That’s someone’s traditional culture you’re mocking with these canceled Halloween costumes.
The term “Voodoo” itself is offensive to some with many preferring the alternative term, Vodou. These “voodoo priests” and “priestess” costumes are offensive as they often equate “black magic” and Vodou. That’s not too great for practitioners of the religion who see these canceled Halloween costumes as mocking their spirituality, traditions, and beliefs.
Members of the SS & Nazis
Because a costume is marketed as being from a movie, in this case, Inglourious Basterds, does not make it any less stupid. You’re still dressed as a Nazi if you put on one of these canceled Halloween costumes. Some will argue, “No, this isn’t offensive because I’m so-and-so from the movie and not an actual Nazi.” At the end of the day, you’re dressed as a Nazi which means to many folks that you don’t care about the heinous crimes they committed. Get a grip!
While we’re on the topic… Adolf Hitler is “scary” but not in a way that’s suitable for Halloween. He was a real-life monster who thrust the world into a bloody war and he oversaw the systematic killing of millions of Jews. It’s no laughing matter and you should not dress up as him or else you’ll look like a complete toad.
An Egyptian Deity
The religious and cultural traditions of a group of people have no place as Halloween costumes. Just because marketers put the word “sexy” in front of the name of a costume doesn’t make them less offensive. In fact, the opposite is true. “Sexy Egyptian goddess” costumes and the like are super offensive.
“Pharaohs, Cleopatra costumes, Nefertiti costumes, anks, etc. is not for white people to wear [sic].” a writer for Bustle notes. “The Ancient Egyptians were basically the only Black, African civilization given any exposure or respect, and even then their blackness is systemically denied.” As with the “Egyptian goddess” costume, all in this class are canceled Halloween costumes.
“Even after ten years in the field of Roma representation and rights, I sometimes wonder: How is it possible to get away with stereotyping the Roma people in such a disparaging way?” Cristiana Grigore wrote for Newsweek. She urges everyone and journalists, in particular, to call out cultural appropriation when they see it. “It takes access to a respected place within mainstream society for Roma and our allies to see that we Roma are still represented by grotesque or exotic Gypsy imagery.”
Good people often make poor decisions because of a lack of education and empathy. “They blatantly take certain aspects of our culture, race, religion, and use it for their advantage and ignore the people living it,” Glory Ames, co-president of the American Indian Student Association at Minnesota State University Moorhead told the Washington Post. Dreaded feathered headpieces are most certainly canceled Halloween costumes.
Historical Native Figures
“You might think that you’re throwing a nod to a fun character, but you’re actually taking a culture to which you don’t belong and turning it into a whimsical costume,” Madeleine Aggeler wrote for Bustle. “And without knowing the full sordid history behind such stories, your costume could be at most violent and at least painfully ignorant.”
“Disgusted and appalled!” the person who found this costume captioned the image. “How the ???? is this still a thing in 2020? Found this in between a squirrel costume, and a cactus costume, you know, silly things to actually be for Halloween. Who would think that such a racist caricature of a Mexican man was a great idea for a costume? My culture isn’t some plaything to be bought, and worn for your amusement for one night. The Sombrero and Serape are beautiful aspects of my people and is not something to be mocked.”
We didn’t think we needed to say this, but it’s America in 2021, so… Do not dress as a soldier of the confederate army. They fought to uphold slavery and nearly broke our country. They also lost the Civil War. If you wear a costume to “honor” them, you’re really just a loser. A good rule of thumb is that any type of soldier costumes are canceled Halloween costumes.
COVID-19 is scary, but that doesn’t mean you should make light of it with a costume. You’re wearing a costume that represents a cause of death for 700,000 people and counting in the US and over 5 million worldwide. It’s not cute or cheeky. It’s just sad. Don’t make light of a global pandemic with one of these should-be canceled Halloween costumes!
In a piece titled “All You Know About Ninjas Is Wrong,” Brian Ashcraft argues that Japanese ninjas were more akin to intelligence professionals like you’d find at the CIA than actual assassins. “Those black suits. Those weapons. Martial arts. The image of the ninja is rooted more in fiction than fact. Everything you think you know is probably more ‘wrong’ than ‘right,'” he argues. So, don’t be in the wrong with one of these canceled Halloween costumes.
Unless you’re prepared to talk at length about criminal justice reform, do not wear a prison jumpsuit as they really should be considered canceled Halloween costumes. Whether you’ve been to prison or not depends a lot on class, race, and privilege. Not everyone has had a fair shake. If you’re out wearing a prison jumpsuit on Halloween, you’re essentially saying that you don’t care.
A burqa, hijab, or turban does not belong on your body on Halloween if you don’t wear one year-round. These coverings are important religious, cultural, and traditional symbols that shouldn’t be ridiculed. Don’t even think about wearing one of these highly offensive canceled Halloween costumes.
People Experiencing Homelessness
How did this get costume even made? Who thought it would be a good idea to create a costume of a stereotype of a homeless person? Thousands of people slip into poverty and homelessness every year. And now, with the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, it’s even harder for folks to get by. Don’t insult someone’s suffering with canceled Halloween costumes that caricature pain.
Reader, did your jaw just hit the floor. “Who would buy this for their child?” the person who found this terrible costume wrote. We wonder the exact same thing! This is the costume equivalent of the movie, The Help. This is an insult to just about all people, somehow. Women, black women, Black people, working-class people, and actually the concept of fashion should all be outraged.
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“Why are ‘the other’ and ‘the exotic’ such sources of enjoyment and pleasure that they’ve become Halloween staples?” Washington State University’s David Leonard said. “What does it tell us,” he asks, “that amid all these scary things of ghosts and witches, we also have all these racialized costumes?” It’s a great sentiment that you should keep in mind to distinguish canceled Halloween costumes.
“Found an original Collegeville ‘Dragon Lady’ costume yesterday,” the individual who stumbled on this costume wrote. “This stereotype cast Asian women as mysterious deceitful and domineering, often enslaving and trafficking whites at opium dens.”
This costume was originally manufactured in the sixties. It was offensive then and 60 years later, it’s even worse. Don’t wear a stereotype, people! These are definitely canceled Halloween costumes!
Now you know which canceled Halloween costumes are the most controversial and offensive. Getting dressed up for Halloween should be a fun experience and you can find a perfect costume without offending others. It’s all about putting yourself into someone else’s shoes. If those shoes tread on a racist path, you better rethink your Halloween costume idea.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 Avoid These Canceled Halloween Costumes to Save Yourself from Embarrassment & Ridicule!
- 1.1 A Clansman
- 1.2 Imposter Calaveras
- 1.3 Blackface
- 1.4 Terrorists
- 1.5 Members of the Armed Services
- 1.6 Stereotypes of Asian People
- 1.7 Kilts
- 1.8 Voodoo Practitioners
- 1.9 Members of the SS & Nazis
- 1.10 Hitler
- 1.11 An Egyptian Deity
- 1.12 Just Don’t
- 1.13 Gypsies
- 1.14 Appropriated Regalia
- 1.15 Historical Native Figures
- 1.16 Mexican Individuals
- 1.17 Confederate Soldiers
- 1.18 The Coronavirus
- 1.19 Ninjas
- 1.20 Incarcerated Individuals
- 1.21 Muslim Individuals
- 1.22 People Experiencing Homelessness
- 1.23 Maids
- 1.24 Geisha Costumes
- 1.25 “Dragon Lady”
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