Editorial: Be mindful of your Halloween costume


Sarah Henry/Iowa State Daily

The weekend of the Homecoming game for Iowa State usually falls on or around Halloween, which gives many students a reason to dress up for the tailgates. The ISD Editorial Board urges students to put consideration behind their Halloween costumes to make sure they aren’t appropriating a culture. 

Editorial Board

Halloween falls on a Thursday this year. While mid-week isn’t the most ideal time for the spooky holiday, the upcoming week and weekend starts the costume parties and festivities that will be throughout Ames and the rest of the state.

Some people are very into dressing up for the holiday, while others would rather wear their typical party attire. As a college student, spending a lot of money on a costume you will only wear a time or two isn’t very practical, so many people turn to Pinterest and the internet for cheap, DIY ideas that they can throw together last minute.

There are some really good, easy costume ideas that fit into that category: a scarecrow, a pumpkin, certain characters from TV shows and movies. Or a scary mask that has been lying around since last year’s halloween.

But there are also a lot of offensive, inappropriate costumes that are cultural appropriation. There are so many easy, entertaining costumes that don’t appropriate culture. Halloween isn’t a free pass to be racist or treat someone’s religion, race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexuality as a joke for others to laugh at.

A lot of these offensive costumes are based off of cultural stereotypes that are harmful. 

So before you decide on your costume this year, check your privilege and examine if how you are planning to dress is harmful or perpetuating a stereotype. If your friend comes to you with a costume idea that could also fall into that category, speak up. Halloween is a time for celebration, creativity and self expression. But expressing yourself doesn’t mean you have to ridicule other identities. You can have fun while still being respectful.

Although at the end of the day the ISD Editorial Board can’t control what you should and shouldn’t decide to be for Halloween, we strongly suggest actual thought and consideration for possible offensive costumes.

Believing that your costume isn’t offensive simply because you aren’t offended by it doesn’t mean it is okay to wear it. Halloween is about dressing up as something scary, and although racism is in fact scary, it is not an excuse to have it be part of your costume.