Halloween is today, which means we all need to take care with what costume we choose to dress up in so as not to appropriate anyone else's culture.
Halloween is always a fun time for parties, costumes and candy. Some cultures, however, have become nothing more than a Halloween costume for some people, and that’s an issue people need to be aware of as they pick what to wear.
Cultural appropriation has always been a problem when it comes to Halloween, and still is, despite the changes our society has made when it comes to inclusion. Even celebrities have been accused of cultural appropriation. In 2016, actress Ashley Tisdale posted a picture on Instagram of her costume where she was dressed in a Day of the Dead costume with her face painted like a calavera, the decorative skulls used in the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexican culture. While people were quick to call her out online for her appropriation, examples like this happen every year, and not just with celebrities.
When picking a costume that involves taking ideas and customs from a race or culture other than your own, you’re infringing upon their ideals and customs and simplifying them for a costume, something that these cultures aren’t able to take off like you can a costume.
These costumes are based on real cultures and their lifestyle. This creates an environment where biases are formed, and could potentially make that environment hostile or uncomfortable for the cultures involved in the costume.
If you’re considering going as someone important in history instead of an overall culture, being careful with those historical figures is just as important. There are ways to dress up as a specific person from another culture without infringing on their culture or customs. The easiest solution to appropriation in Halloween costumes is to do your research. Look into these customs that you’re wanting to dress up as and learn about them before you decide to pick it as your costume. Create an environment where people can feel comfortable without being surrounded by costumes that might have taken ideas from their lives. It’s tough to think about the struggles and problems that someone in a different culture might face, but taking steps so that they aren’t culturally appropriated might make their Halloween a little bit better.