Halloween costumes: be fun, not offensive

By Angie Tinker, Matrix Co-Editor

Whether you’re trick-or-treating, enjoying scary movies or exploring haunted corn mazes, Halloween is a fun time for people of all ages. What isn’t fun, though, is seeing people dressed up in offensive costumes.

People may not always think of it, but the spooky and funny Halloween costumes that seem like no big deal can actually be quite harmful. This topic was discussed last Tuesday in Stuen.

Examples of offensive costumes can be as simple as people dressing up in another culture’s traditional garb as a stereotype.

“Halloween is a goofy occasion, and some costumes make the statement that a part of someone’s culture is goofy,” junior Jessica Williams said. “These costumes are often exaggerated to make the costume a joke, and no one wants to believe their culture is a joke.”

An example might be if someone chose to dress up as a “Mexican” by wearing a sombrero and poncho.

While this may seem harmless, it still suggests all people from Mexico dress like that and have certain mannerisms associated with that stereotype.

Some PLU students have chosen to make a stand.

Resident Assistants Riley Burleigh and Jonathan Adams decided to advocate for sensitivity in costumes. Williams, another RA, helped run the event. The event focused on how costumes can be offensive.

This isn’t something new to Pacific Lutheran University, but it is something that needs to be acknowledged.

Williams explains that it has a similarity to the “My Language, My Choice” campaign PLU has recently promoted. It is also similar to the Ohio State University’s “We’re A Culture, Not A Costume” campaign.

“Most people don’t think too much about the deeper implications of their actions, language, or their costume for Halloween,” Williams said.

This awareness is an ongoing effort that doesn’t just end with “My Language, My Choice,” or promoting awareness for Halloween costumes.

It’s about a general mindfulness of how people with privilege can unknowingly be offensive and rude to others.

So go out and have a great Halloween, but don’t ruin someone else’s time with an offensive costume. 🅼

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