Halloween Reminders


Katie Park

As Halloween is just around the corner and everyone is dressing in bright and exciting costumes, here are some things to keep in mind so you and your community are safe and happy on this day.


  1. Culture Appropriation and Racism

For those who are not familiar with the term cultural appropriation, by definition means “the inappropriate or unacknowledged adoption of an element or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture or identity.” There is a fine line between cultural appropriation and appreciation. Appreciation on the other hand is when one shows respect and is interested in expanding their worldly perspectives without mimicking one’s culture. 

Elements that are considered inappropriate regarding cultural appropriation on Halloween:

  • Wearing clothing items that are from someone’s ethnic/religious culture when you do not practice the religion or that ethnicity. Clothing examples: turbans, hijabs, Native American clothing items, qipaos, etc.
  • Darkening one’s skin tone to appear a different race: On all levels, this is inappropriate and racist. Something like this should not even have to be thought about based on the harm this could cause.
  • Hairstyles: wearing black hairstyles such as afros, dreads, box braids, and cornrows can be seen as harmful ot the black community because of the history of black hair (many anti-hair discrimination bills were passed against African Americans) and how proper credit is not always given when due.

  1. Dressing up as serial killers


The Netflix series Dahmer has caught the attention of the public in addition to the high interest in criminology/serial killers on social media. As the interest in this topic is more widespread across the country, it is important to consider the factor of how these murderous events were real. In any circumstance, it is not appropriate to dress as a serial killer. It is inconsiderate to the victim’s families who have to relive the trauma caused by these people and/or events. Additionally, it has sparked a debate on whether the interest in criminology is actually a good thing because it has led to issues such as the romanticization of serial killers.


Now that you are aware of some things to consider, please additionally keep this questions in mind:

  • Does your costume mock or appropriate cultural or religious symbols? 
  • Does your costume stereotype of an entire culture or ethnicity?
  • Does your costume unkind towards people of any identity, with particular regard to race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and ability?
  • Does your costume have any association with a negative historical figure?
  • Are you using makeup to alter your natural skin tone?