A Safe & Respectful Halloween

As Halloween approaches, it’s important to keep in mind that the holiday is best celebrated in a safe and respectful manner. When conjuring up your costumes, please consider some of the following tips to ensure every member of the Mustang family feels safe and included.

A few things to consider when planning your costumes:

Blackface – Blackface is deeply rooted in America’s legacy of racism and the inequality of African Americans. Blackface minstrel shows were popularized in the 19th and early-20th centuries as a form of cruel entertainment that played on and perpetuated many negative stereotypes of African Americans. Costumes that employ blackface, or painting your skin darker to imitate someone of another race, or wearing wigs to simulate hair textures and styles different from your own, are racist.

Fat/Body Shaming Costumes – Body and fat shaming appears in many ways, including through critiques of our own appearance and the appearance of others. Body and fat shaming can contribute to depression and eating disorders. While body and fat shaming have historically been seen as policing women’s bodies, increasing awareness of shaming men’s bodies has shown the negative effects are the same. Costumes that exaggerate different body shapes and sizes for the purpose of a laugh are not ok.

Sexist Costumes – Sexist costumes perpetuate stereotypes about men and women. They position men as more dominant and successful, and women as weak and of lower status. These costumes often sexualize and fetishize women, and can help perpetuate a culture of sexual violence. The way a person dresses is never an open invitation for sexual advances. No always means no.

Costumes Based on Stereotypes – Similar to blackface, costumes that play on exaggerated stereotypes of groups of people are mean-spirited and hurtful. Dressing up as a person from a different racial or ethnic group, appropriates traditional styles of dress, essentialize cultures and ethnic groups, and employ imagery that is often incorrect and is grounded in racism and sexism. Similarly, dressing up as a person from a disadvantaged socioeconomic status background perpetuates negative stereotypes about social class and trivializes social inequalities. 

Costumes that Mock Different Gender Identities, Expressions, or Abilities – Costumes that attempt to make fun of another person’s identity or abilities are demeaning and hurtful. A person’s identity or ability should not be subjects of ridicule or derision, and should not be represented as part of Halloween festivities.

To read more about cultural appropriation, visit:  https://www.thoughtco.com/cultural-appropriation-and-why-iits-wrong-2834561