Be spooky, not racist

Column by Dylan Doyle, contributing writer

You all know the drill: there is always that one guy that comes to the Halloween party sporting a cheap sombrero and a penciled-in mustache. Someone will inevitably put on a war bonnet and smear red paint under their eyes. A white girl will dress up as a “gypsy” complete with a bindi (which is from another culture altogether,) unaware that the word is actually a racial slur.

Do not be the person who shows up wearing a racist caricature of a culture that isn’t yours to represent.

Halloween is not an excuse for you to wear blackface, it’s just that simple. However, let’s ignore the racist thing for a second: the last day of October is the most magical and fantastical of the year, and you’re better than a tacky Indian costume. Surely you can come up with something a little more creative than that, right?

We can all do better than costumes which will offend and hurt others – that’s the opposite of the spirit of Halloween.

Make no mistake, I’m not saying you have to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a costume; if you are stuck on what to be, stick with the classics (you will find that a lot of them are inexpensive – if all else fails, you can be a bedsheet ghost!)

If you are really that committed to face paint, you can always be the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West (or the orange-skinned Republican presidential nominee.)

Just make sure you avoid the browner tones that appear on actual human beings with feelings.

Dress up as something you are passionate about, something sexy, something purposefully not sexy – whatever catches your eye. There are no rules to Halloween costumes except the golden one: treat others with respect. Ask yourself this question: is my costume racially or culturally based? If so, it’s probably racist – and you, being a smart cookie, will probably be able to recognize it right away if you are honest with yourself.

There are many serious and controversial issues surrounding Halloween, including childhood obesity and diabetes, candy-apple razors and predator concerns. Let’s focus on these and not have to spend time worrying about someone wearing an offensive costume.

That said, someone will do it, and look ignorant and rude in the process. Make sure that person isn’t you.