Halloween or Hallow-Not?

Has Halloween become completely different over the years?


Nafisa Kahin

After this years Halloween costumes, it’s become clear that during Halloween people dress up as things that they shouldn’t. People believe that it’s “cool” and “edgy” to dress up in someone’s cultural garments or paint themselves to represent a different race, when realistically it’s problematic. The same applies to a trend of people dressing up as Jeffery Dahmer or other infamous serial killers as a way of being “trendy” when it’s really people just being insensitive and ignorant. 

Here’s an idea: don’t dress up as a serial killer. Their victims’ families are still alive today and it’s a total slap on the face. Many families never received  justice, it’s terrible that people weaponize their trauma and make very insensitive jokes. As a human that has common sense, please look at what you’re dressing up as and ask yourself, “Is this perpetuating anything negative?”

I know this might be a sensitive topic but really it needs to be talked about, as the Dahmer mini-series was off the charts when it first came out. What threw everybody off was literal kids dressing up as Dahmer himself. 

Another issue on Halloween is people engaging in cultural appropriation for their “costume.” The costumes that get the most out of hand, for example, are those mocking the pilgrims and Indigneous people. It’s not okay to dress up as these things when you don’t have an ounce of Indigneous blood. It’s offensive because people blindly dress up in the culture meaning it got normalized into Halloween costumes.

There’s also people dressing up as hula dancers or wearing kimonos, sombreros, etc. People might even wear costumes from disney characters that are people of color (POC) themselves and not realize it’s racist. It’s racist because these are either cultural appropriation or stereotypes which are obviously inappropriate and completely disrespectful. In many ways, it makes POC feel as if their culture is nothing more than a costume.

No one is paying attention to how POC are feeling after being mocked by using their culture as a costume. It’s not a joke where you can play dress up because it’s someone’s culture at the end of the day. We live in a society where racism has been overseen and dismissed by everyone like it’s some sitcom.

POC feel ignored when people can just come out of nowhere and try to wear their cultural clothes as costumes and mock them. People need to open up their eyes and see how cruel society can be when they do things like this  in this world.

Stop wearing problematic costumes that’ll upset people and embarrass you There’s a difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. Appreciation is educating yourself about the significance of the cultural clothing and having a valid reasoning to wear it. For example, going to a South Asian wedding with a cultural dress code and wearing clothes that appreciate the culture with pure intentions would be an example of appreciation. Appropriating is wearing an article of cultural clothing while not educating yourself on the cultural significance and/or wearing the piece as a way to take it and claim it as yours, follow trends or simply mock the culture. If you educate yourself, you would know right from wrong when it comes to appropriating and disrespecting a community by wearing their culture as costumes.