Ah, Halloween. ‘Tis the season of spooks, thrills and getting creative in your costumes! But not every costume is actually a good idea. Many costume ideas may seem like a good idea because, well, they’re costumes, right? But when a costume takes form in another culture – in particular, one that is oppressed – it’s pretty offensive. So, we’re sharing with you 7 controversial celebrity Halloween costumes that are a total no-no and offer some more creative alternatives that are approved for everyone!
Heidi Klum as Hindu Goddess Kali
It looks like a totally extravagant and well-put together costume, right? But dressing as something as sacred as a god or goddess ain’t cute.
Commenting on Heidi’s stunt, Hindu cleric Rajan Zed said: “Goddess Kali is highly revered in Hinduism and she is meant to be worshiped in temples and not to be used in clubs for publicity stunts or thrown around loosely for dramatic effect.”
So what’s the alternative? Well, really, we shouldn’t use any kind of religion as a costume that isn’t our own religion. If you are religious and want to go down that route for a costume, perhaps consider celebrating religious figures from your own tradition that you admire. Maybe there is a saint whose social justice work you love? It’s a great idea to celebrate powerful figures from your own faith during Halloween. But, don’t go thinking you’re a smarty pants by claiming you’re part of a faith just to dress up as your desired costume, because you’ll soon enough get called out.
Ashley Benson as Cecil The Lion
In 2015, “Pretty Little Liars” star, Ashley Benson, decided to dress as Cecil the Lion. To refresh your memory, Cecil was a 13-year-old lion whose murder by an American dentist caused a national outrage. Animal cruelty is definitely not something we should be mocking or treating as a costume. It’s something that many activists have been fighting against for years and animals have rights, too.
So, who should you go as instead? It’s not that the costume is even individually resembling Cecil. Essentially, it’s just a lion costume. But, the fact that Ashley decided to name it Cecil because it was a hot topic at the time was not cute. An safer option would be perhaps Simba from “The Lion King” or the Lion from “The Wizard Of Oz“. You know, the classics!
Kylie Jenner as a Sexy Eskimo
Back in 2015, Kylie Jenner made headlines when she decided to strut her stuff as a sexy Eskimo for Halloween. The term “Eskimo” is typically considered a slur and is offensive to the Inuit and Alaskan natives.
So, how can we make a more appropriate winter-friendly costume? Kylie quickly changed the caption of the snap to “Snow Princess” which is definitely a better option. You could also be an abdominal snowman and call it sexy if you don’t want to go full costume.
Shawn White as Simple Jack
Olympic gold medalist, Shaun White, dressed as Simple Jack from the movie “Tropic Thunder“. This was criticised by the Special Olympics as this costume character choice was mocking disabled people. As a disabled person myself, I can personally comment about how tired the disabled community are of being mocked and not considered actual human beings. We exist and we are not a joke.
So, what to dress as instead? If the disabled character you want to dress as is from a film/TV show you admire, consider going as an abled person instead. If you’re thinking of a disabled individual – say, Stephen Hawking – look at someone who is equally as inspirational where the costume wouldn’t be a mockery of an oppressed group.
Chris Brown as a terrorist
Oh, boy. Where to start with this one? Terrorism is a serious issue to start with, so why anyone would think this is a funny idea for a costume is beyond me. But also, the fact that Chris also chose to target the stereotypes of what society perceives terrorists as is racist and xenophobic as heck. Because guess what? White people who are behind mass murders and shootings are also considered terrorists, but for some reason, a huge percentage of people only see terrorists as Islamic.
So, a costume alternative for this would be? None. Don’t do it. Just don’t. Don’t even think about it. If you really want to be “evil”, go as a Disney villain, dammit.
Miley Cyrus as Pocahontas
A big controversial choice is Pocahontas and any Native American costume. For some reason, many people love to dress as Indians, particularly this Disney princess/real life historical figure. Yes, she was real, for those who didn’t know. And beside the cultural appropriation factors, Pocahontas was a 14-year-old victim of rape who was kidnapped from her home and taken to another country, so the truth is a far fetch from the Disney movie which we assume is for fairytale purposes.
If you are dressing as a Disney character, try to aim for one that either has the same culture as yours or doesn’t actually have a storyline that involves their culture at all.
The Chainsmokers as E-bro-la
EDM-pop duo, The Chainsmokers, decided that while there was an Ebola outbreak that was constantly a huge talking point, they would try to create a relevant costume by going as the virus but with a twist. Thus, E-bro-la was born. Y’know… because it’s a play on bros… yeah, hilarious.
As we are aware, Ebola was no joke. More than 21 months on from the first confirmed case recorded on 23 March 2014, 11,315 people were reported to have died from the disease in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, the United States and Mali with a total reported of cases being at about 28,637. It was such a huge issue that over in the UK, Bob Geldof brought back Band Aid and recruited the likes of One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora, Sam Smith and many more to re-record their original Christmas hit, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in order to raise funds for Ebola relief. So, like yeah… it was a big thing and not something to make fun of.
So, if you want a costume that is currently on topic, go down the root of memes. You got your Donald Trump, your World Record Egg from earlier this year, Powerful Shaggy from Scooby Doo… like the list is endless!
So, there are 7 Halloween fails as brought to you be celebrities that you should definitely try to stay away from this year and some alternatives to try instead.
Let us know what you’re going as this Halloween by tweeting us at @THPMag!
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Creative Director of The Honey POP. Disney and pop culture enthusiast.