Happy Halloween Month! Let this serve as your annual reminder that, yes, there are certain things that are off-limits on this day of dress-up. Check out the infographic below to determine whether or not you should don that topical-but-questionable costume on October 31.
This story was originally published on October 9, 2015.
You’ll hear this a lot during Halloween: “Relax — it’s just a costume.” Translation: I don’t care that much about the implications of this costume, because those implications don’t affect me.” And in the past, especially in homogenous communities where — for the most part — the people you’re surrounded by look like, think like, and have lived lives like yours, you didn’t have to worry about any of those things. A racist costume isn’t a problem if you’re a racist, and all your friends are racist, too! But with camera phones, social media, and the digital world, the implications of any costume can easily slip beyond the four walls of the Halloween party you’re attending. Long story short: If you are not comfortable seeing your face and name attached to your costume on the front page of Reddit, don’t wear it. Halloween isn’t a free pass to promote things you would never do the other 364 days of the year.
Just like you can be edgy, clever, provocative, and opinionated in your everyday life, your Halloween costume can be those things, too. The last thing anyone wants (except killjoys) is for everyone to dress up as school supplies and Disney characters. But a couple of chuckles from like-minded peers isn't worth looking like the Village Asshole, especially if that's not a reputation you're gunning for. For a little help in determining whether a costume is actually truly offensive, just edgy, or totally harmless, run it through our flowchart to figure things out.