The annual roundup of “offensive” Halloween costumes: you vote!

Insider has taken it upon itself to show the 16 most offensive Halloween costumes of the year, and why they’re offensive (I didn’t see any of these in person, but I didn’t go to a party or trick-or-treating). Insider‘s description and comments are indented.

I’ll ask you to vote on each costume in a poll following it: is it offensive or not? (You can view the results after you vote.) PLEASE VOTE, as I’d like a decent sample size (of course the readers here aren’t a random cross section of Americans!)

If you have no opinion, don’t vote. You are likely to find at least one or more of these offensive, so please give your reactions to any specific costumes in the comments.  Here we go!

“Sexy Shooter Happy Hour”

This Yandy offering comes complete with a “poncho-style” minidress and a sombrero, both of which draw on exaggerated stereotypes of Mexican culture and could be considered offensive.

“This Dream Catcher Costume could be considered cultural appropriation”

“Men’s Arab Sheik Costume.”

It’s harmful to reinforce negative and misconceived notions about a region, religion, or group of people, like this Kmart costume does.

The “Golden Geisha” Costume

Wearing a geisha costume, like this one from Yandy, could be seen as cultural appropriation.

“Rasta Costume Kit.”

This Walmart costume includes a dreadlock wig that could be deemed offensive.

“Anne Frank/World War II Girl Costume.”

The site that was selling it under the name “Anne Frank costume” removed it, but you can still buy it (under the name of “World War II Evacuee”) from Walmart.

“Dia De Los Beauty.”

If you’re not Mexican, it would be offensive for you to dress in Day of the Dead-inspired garb, like this costume from Yandy.

“Inflatable Ballerina.”

Try to avoid costumes that could be interpreted as body-shaming, like this one from Target.


This mock uniform from Spirit Halloween manages to be both ageist and body-shaming to women at the same time.

“Reality Star in the Making.”

Although it might seem topical, this Yandy costume, which is intended to look like a reportedly pregnant Kylie Jenner, also has body-shaming implications.

“Upside Down Honey.”

Yandy makes the controversial “Upside Down Honey” costume, which some argue unnecessarily sexualizes Eleven’s iconic outfit by lowering the dress’ neckline while shortening its hemline, swapping sneakers for platform heels, and replacing ankle socks with thigh-high socks. [JAC: This appears to come from a t.v. show, “Stranger Things”.]

“Sexy Convict.”

Incarceration is not funny, though this Yandy costume tries to suggest otherwise. [JAC: The note also says the costume “could be interpreted as trivializing the U.S. prison system”.]

“Restrained Convict.”

By presenting a straightjacket as a joke, this Yandy costume downplays a serious issue. [JAC: The description adds that “this reinforces harmful misconceptions about mental illness in prison.”]

“Hobo Nightmare.”

Homelessness is a serious issue, although this Wonder Costumes getup does not present it as such.


On its own this Yandy costume is fine, but implying that it is the animal that was controversially killed in 2016 would be problematic.

“Snake Charmer.”

This Yandy costume not only appropriates Middle Eastern culture but also has disturbing sexual undertones. [JAC: ???]

h/t: Melissa


  1. Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    They’re the “most” offensive ones??

    Any maybe I’m out of date, but aren’t Halloween costumes supposed to have a scary ghosties and ghoulies theme?

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      So out of date! You can’t manufacture offense and victimhood out of traditional ghosts and ghouls.

      • dabertini
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        What about ghosts being white?

        • Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

          Some are tasteless but to me none are offensive. Unless someone has slandered me, I don’t find anything offensive except blood and guts in movies. The tastemehoney is exactly what fashion models look like in magazines! Anorexic knockneed angry zombies!!!! Perfect for Halloween. So some people get offended by some images…..big DUH. I personally am offended by burqas, nijabs and all those other straitjackets forced on Muslim women.
          Take them off please….PLEASE!!!

          • Merilee
            Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink


          • W.Benson
            Posted November 2, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

            To me, all the costumes are wonderfully offensive, like they should be,to provoke a smile call out the prudes. I personally would object the the “Anne Frank” getup if it really was made to be such, and not a “WWII refugee”.

  2. GBJames
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink


  3. Danny Kodicek
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I’m definitely more on the ‘offended’ side than the average, but come on people, surely we can at least agree the Anne Frank one is in unforgivably bad taste! Renaming it ‘evacuee’ isn’t fooling anyone.

    • Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Unless the tag says Anne Frank, it’s unlikely anyone would know what the costume represents. But knowing the identity, that was one that stuck out as truly distasteful. I also found the Rasta costume offensive and the Hooters costume in bad taste but not offensive.

      • GBJames
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Without the label I would have said “That’s an American Girl doll costume.”

        • Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          What offends me is that these are all stock photos/models. To be truly offensive they need to be shown on the actual wearer, who paid money for them and probably thinks s/he’s clever.

          No one would get the Ann Frank reference, and if you have to explain how you’re trying to be offensive… it already didn’t work.

          BTW- *None* of these can compare with the *vileness* in costumes the year Obama was elected president.

          Downvoted the Snake Charmer, as the “snake” looked like a *dog,* making it offensively stupid.

          • GBJames
            Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

            “To be truly offensive they need to be shown on the actual wearer…”

            I don’t think that’s right. Offensive is in the mind of the beholder so there’s no limit to what would be considered offensive to someone. Which illustrates how shallow this whole “offensive costume” think is.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

            Agree about the Anne Frank. Without a label on it, nobody would get it.

            It’s a Halloween costume, anyway. They’re supposed to be offensive (and as a consequence, I didn’t find any of them so far beyond the limit as to be offensive – to me, in context.)


            • Posted November 2, 2017 at 5:27 am | Permalink

              Nothing wrong with an evacuee costume, but labelling it Anne Frank is in very bad taste. In the UK everyone would instantly recognise it as an evacuee, (complete with label and gas mask box) from all the WWII movies and TV series we get here

      • Danny Kodicek
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        The interesting thing is that I felt like I really recognised it from a picture of her and I went searching for it but I must have been imagining it. There are a couple of images here that are similar but it’s definitely not as straight a copy as I thought.
        The rasta one was another one I thought was fairly obviously offensive too, although it’s hard to define why it’s significantly more egregious than the Native American or Arab ones, both of which also went in the ‘yes’ category for me.

      • bbenzon
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Thought the Rasts costume was just silly. I regularly wore dashikis from the 60s into perhaps the 80s, though in the 80s it was perhaps more as performance dress (I’m a jazz musician). I know reggae musicians who dress a bit like that, but they’re not Rastafarian and they are white, even blonde (with dreds too).

      • Danny Kodicek
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        Oh, and the ‘sexy Eleven’ costume was also unforgivable for me. If you know the show (and if you don’t, why not? It’s one of the best SF shows out there!), it’s unambiguously sexualising a young child. That’s way over the line as far as I’m concerned.

      • Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        A Norwegian minister got in a load of trouble for this type of thing…

        View this post on Instagram

        Høstfest i Finansdepartementet 😁

        A post shared by Siv Jensen (@sivjensen) on

        • Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          oops – did not know that would embed – apologies for breaking da roolz 😦

          • GBJames
            Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

            I don’t there is a rool that you broke.

      • Curt Cameron
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, I really can’t imagine what was offensive about rasta man. Why do you find that one offensive?

        BTW, I did vote a few as offensive, including the first two, mainly for the “punching down” effect. But I don’t see that this would apply to rasta man.

    • rom
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Funnily enough the costume itself is completely inoffensive (at least to me). Only when I read what the costume was meant to depict did it give me a cause for thought.

      So to get some offense, I now have to conjure up some intent for the costume.

      Essentially the claim seems to be is we can’t make fun of some recent distasteful history. If we had a costume where some Tudor dude who was carrying his beheaded head would probably be OK.

      • Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Offensive to Kings…

      • Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        I think, what it comes down to is whether Halloween costumes are making fun of the subject or whether they are in honour of the subject.

        About the only costume I found offensive was the Droopers one.

        As an aside, I can’t believe they censored the nipples on the obviously fake breasts.

        • darrelle
          Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          I can understand why it would be offensive to some, but it made me laugh out loud. I can guarantee that my mother would laugh her ass off if she saw it.

          • Bill
            Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

            Do we have no sense of satire? Droopers is making fun of the whole concept of Hooters, not the specific women who work there.

  4. rudolphpaul
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Do you think people would find it offensive if I dressed as an ATM dispensing $100 dollar bills?

    • BJ
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Dressing as an ATM trivializes the damage that a capitalist society does to its citizens. It also mocks minorities because capitalism is a white supremacist system.


    • Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Don’t you use touch – RFID tagged cards – to pay? Does anyone still use cash?!

      • BobTerrace
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        Bitcoin all the way.

  5. Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The “sexy whatever” costumes seem more sad than offensive to me. If there was a pattern to what offended me it was the costumes that made fun of physical characteristics, rather than those that celebrated a different culture.

  6. Simon Hayward
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    None of those rattled my cage. Although I’m on what Matthew’s tweet yesterday showed as the British attitude to Halloween/trick or treating. I sat and nursed a drink and let my wife (who for some inexplicable reason likes this stuff) deal with the incessant doorbell ringing, last night.

    At least it didn’t go on late, and this year there were no pictures on the local website of coyotes following the kids around the neighborhood – which did happen last year (wildlife in the Chicago suburbs) It’s about the time of year that the cat stops going outside unsupervised.

  7. Paul S
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I find none of those costumes offensive. Who cares about bad taste, it’s Halloween. The entire point is to shock and scare or just dress silly.
    If you’re offended by a Halloween costume that’s a good thing. Maybe it will get you to ask yourself why you’re offended.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink


      I find Halloween silly (as I do many other traditions). But part of the idea of Halloween is, I guess, to dress in weird or shocking or risque costumes. It’s all in the context. As such, a Halloween costume would have to be waay beyond the pale for me to find it offensive.

      (Confession: I started out with the presumption that I was going to say “No offence” to all of them. And as it happened, I was able to honestly say no to each one without even a twinge of self-doubt that I was deliberately skewing my replies.)

      Would I find a realistic Adolf Hitler offensive? Or Joe Stalin? Or Caligula? Or Donald Trump? No, it’s Halloween!


      • Posted November 2, 2017 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        (Confession: I started out with the presumption that I was going to say “No offence” to all of them. And as it happened, I was able to honestly say no to each one without even a twinge of self-doubt that I was deliberately skewing my replies.)

        Me too. I hesitated over the Anne Frank one, but only because it was thus designated.

        Your Adolph Hitler comment reminded me of Springtime for Hitler – bad taste perhaps, but not offensive, and actually very funny.

  8. Stephen Barnard
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    The Inflatable Ballerina made me literally laugh out loud.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      I thought that and Anne Frank were the worst by far. I don’t like people laughing at others for their appearance. I think it’s cruel.

      • Steve Gerrard
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        Ditto, with “Droopers” added to those two.

        All TV and movie characters are fair game, which covers a lot of ground.

        I didn’t like the prisoner restraint one, but if you make it Hannibal Lecter, then it’s good.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          I thought of it as Hannibal Lecter, and as such, I didn’t have a problem with it.

      • Voltaire
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Agree in the case of the ballerina. In the case of Anne Frank, no. I think whoever use that costume probably will be informed about the Shoah and that is a positive.

        I didn’t have any problem with all of them, except the ballerina by the reasons cited by Heather Hastie.

        A third category was needed: Bad taste.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted November 1, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          I actually voted No on the Anne Frank costume because of the WWII evacuee wording. When I think of WWII evacuee, I think of the kids sent to the country from London etc. If I saw the costume, I wouldn’t think of Anne Frank. It looks like any kid of the era to me, not specifically her. I didn’t notice the label. As an Anne Frank costume, or any kid sent to the camps, it’s definitely offensive though, hence my comment above.

          • Posted November 2, 2017 at 5:44 am | Permalink

            The label is what defines it as an evacuee costume. It stated the child’s name, home address, school and destination.

        • Dani
          Posted November 2, 2017 at 6:06 am | Permalink

          same here!
          I voted offensive on the ballerina because I tought if my body naturally looked like that, I would be really sad to see the costume.
          About Anne Frank, I just find to be strange that parents would like their children to dress up like a world war victim…
          But now I guess I’m understanding why both of this can be offensive. Is only offensive if you are dressing as something that might be a struggle for others. Maybe, no one would find funny if somebody dressed as a Cancer victim…Some fat people might be ok with their body, some not. I think to be part of a ethnicity / culture shouldnt be a struggle for anyone. If it is, something is wrong…stereotyping is stereotyping, not offending..

  9. BJ
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I voted no on all of the costumes. We’re adults, and part of the point to Halloween — at least for me and many others I know — is to push the envelope of good taste and offense. Even so, only one of these costumes seems to seriously push the envelope toward purposeful offense, and that’s the Anne Frank costume. The rest of the costumes fall into the category of offensive only if one is looking for offense.

    I don’t find the Anne Frank costume offensive because, as I was remarking to someone last night, if somebody showed up to my door dressed as Hitler, I would give them all my candy just for having the guts to do it (assuming they were wearing the costume as a provocation/mockery, not in honor of the man).

    • Denis Westphalen
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Same here .. voted NO on all …

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

      As for Anne Frank – if it had a big label on it, maybe. That’s probably the most controversial one. But it’s Halloween. (In practice I don’t have a clue what Anne Frank looked like, so the cossie itself would leave me slightly baffled.)


  10. David Coxill
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    When did American adults start dressing up for Halloween ?

    • Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      For parties!!!!!

      • Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        If I ever get invited to a party where the “Sexy ____” costumes are prevalent I’m going to have to go as ‘King Leer’ ( as opposed to King Lear) because I will without a doubt make a fool of myself by looking too much.

    • eric
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      I dress up for all my kids’ Halloween parties! Why not, it’s fun?

  11. bbenzon
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Can’t say I was really ‘offended’ by any of these except, perhaps, the Anne Frank. Some of them were ridiculous (e.g. the so-called Geisha), but, isn’t being ridiculous within the somewhat extended bounds of Halloween dress?

  12. Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    You can buy a costume to dress up as Anne Frank for Halloween? Speechless.

    • mordacious1
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      It’s generally sold for school plays, but gets tossed in with other costumes for Halloween on the website. Besides, many people dress as people they admire. Einstein, MLK, Lincoln, etc. Why should Anne Frank be excluded?

      • Walt Jones
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Well put. Anne Frank post-arrest would offend me (as would Lincoln post-shooting).

      • darrelle
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. I’m a little surprised that so many people find the Anne Frank costume offensive. I suppose for many it may be that they feel that Anne Frank is too serious and tragic a subject for something as frivolous as Halloween. I can understand that, but I think it is difficult and possibly uncharitable to try and guess someone’s motivation for wearing a given costume. Especially a young child’s.

  13. HBB
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Several of the costumes violated my two main costume criteria: 1) does it interfere with eating/drinking (most masks do this), and 2) does it make going to the loo excessively difficult/time-consuming, taking time away from eating/drinking. As for specific costumes – I’m with Stephen on LOLing at the inflatable ballerina. I also think the WWII evacuee with her little tag pinned to the collar crossed “the line of appropriateness.”

  14. Heather Hastie
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Judging by the voting, I found more costumes offensive than most people. However, in real life whether l found the few I thought were offensive actually offensive would depend a lot on who was wearing them. For example, if someone I knew was racist was wearing a Native American costume I wouldn’t like it. But someone I knew meant nothing by it wouldn’t worry me.

    • darrelle
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      I think you’ve hit on the key factor, context. Just about any costume anyone could think of could be reasonably judged offensive in the right (wrong?) context.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      I found several to be offensive, but I would keep it to myself and not try to shame the person.

    • Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Good point — and I think really the central point of all this.

  15. davidintoronto
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Perhaps I’m being pedantic, but I’m not “offended” by any of them. Arguably, the sexy costumes are exploitative; though beyond that stipulation, I don’t think “convict” is worse than, say, “geisha.” My personal line is drawn at “Anne Frank” – not fun, not funny, not mischievously scary, etc. I abstained from that vote.

    Oh… and “Droopers.” I don’t’ get that one at all.

    • Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      It’s a depiction of an ageing “Hooters” waitress, who are forced to wear tight shorts and show off their pulchritude. I gather that this is supposed to show what happens when a “Hooters girl” gets older.

      • davidintoronto
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Okay. But… if I vote “offended,” am I commenting on the costume, per se, or the real-life (aging waitress) basis for the costume? (That seems nasty.) Indeed, if I vote “not offended,” perhaps I’m actually *supporting* the sisterhood of aging waitresses!

        Dang, being a regressive leftist is hard.

      • Travis
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        I don’t see why it’s offensive. We all know what happens to older women and older people in general lol.

        I think it’s funny because we know someone like that wouldn’t have that job for multiple reasons

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

          Ahem. Some of us here are already older people. Watch it! 😉

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 2, 2017 at 2:13 am | Permalink

            That’s a dreadful case of gynaecomastia the poor guy’s got.

            Some males find, to our dismay, that any surplus, errm, fat, inevitably gravitates towards our boobs. As any observation of persons whose displacement has developed in tandem with their age will sadly confirm.


            Wot, me? No, never. And you can’t prove it.

  16. Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I can accept an offensive costume if it’s something clever that the person has used some creativity and imagination in putting together. But buying an ‘Anne Frank’ costume off the shelf is just lazy and what offensiveness it contains is not mitigated.

    • eric
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Yep, agree. I’ve seen some very tasteless costumes that were unique and creative rather than store-bought. If you’re going for shock value, try and do better than buying mass market.

  17. Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    If it wasn’t labelled as “Anne Frank costume” I wouldn’t have known, and instead thought ‘French girl’? ’50’s flight attendant’?

    I laughed at the ballerina.

    Droopers was the only one I considered offensive, and just because I wouldn’t want to keep seeing the costume at a party.

    Personally the concept of cultural appropriation is ridiculous to me. When two cultures interact, they exchange ideas, building on each others work. We wouldn’t have rock music without white and black cultures interacting. Arguing “you can’t do that because that’s my culture” means that some of you shouldn’t be allowed to participate in Hallowe’en, or you can’t use paper if you aren’t of Chinese descent, etc.

  18. Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    None are offensive. Well, some are to good taste, I suppose.

  19. Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I found the Rasta costume offensive. Everyone knows he should be holding a joint.

    • darrelle
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink


  20. Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I think life is too short to be seriously offended about these costumes. (The “Anne Frank” name for the one seems poor, especially for “sexy” costumes, but the costume itself isn’t.)

    I think my offense energy is better spend opposing the privatization of our public lands than on this stuff.

  21. Paul
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Even if they’re offensive, so what? If I see one being worn I can think “that’s pretty tasteless” and then get on with my life 🙂

    The zombie, blood spattered ones are pretty grim though. My son, who has Asperger’s is completely terrified by it all.

    Actually, for him and other people who find social stuff difficult, living in a world full of people desperate to take offence, is not going to be easy…

  22. Jeff Rankin
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    No offense on any.

    The “droopers” one is just awful, but I’ll get over it.

    • Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      I found it offensive and hilarious. Really depends on which party you wear it to.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 2:23 am | Permalink

        Context is everything.


  23. Terry Sheldon
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I voted “offensive” on a few, the most egregious IMHO being the Anne Frank reference. If there had been a “stupid” or “in bad taste” button, those would have gotten more of my votes but “offensive”, not so much.

  24. Peggy Cook
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Oh for the love of…no. Just that. No. Idiots.

  25. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I’m disappointed that the Anne Frank costume wasn’t hyper sexualized for little girls.

  26. Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    As someone who’s BEEN incarcerated (in Florida State Prison), I can definitively say that not only is the Sexy Convict costume NOT offensive, I would have loved it if some of the convicts had looked like that.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      As someone who’s spent a lot of time in stir during the course of legal visits (including at Raiford), it occurred to me that none of my incarcerated clients would complain about that outfit either.

      Can’t say what women inmates might think, as I haven’t spent nearly as much time in their company.

  27. Curt Cameron
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Before reading other comments:

    Yes to the mexican “shooter” girl. It does play on Mexican stereotypes.

    Same with the “dream catcher.”

    No to the sheik, geisha girl (yowza!), rasta man.

    Yes to Anne Frank – too soon! It’s just not a subject to be made light of.

    No to the rest, except the “Eleven” girl from Stranger Things. That’s disturbing because it’s sexualizing a little girl.

  28. Aaron
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I also don’t find a single one of these offensive. Granted it’s kind of annoying when people think they’re clever or funny just because put on some “shocking” pre-made costume. But like others have said, the point of these costumes is to push the envelope and it’s ridiculous to take it seriously or act like it’s affecting people’s real attitudes towards things like mass incarceration.

    I also like how it’s apparently okay for a Mexican to dress in Day of the Dead garb but no one else. So this writer is admitting there is nothing inherently offensive about the costume, but it’s wrong for a white person to wear it because cultural appropriation I guess. Yes, cultural appropriation is so horrible. Instead, let’s keep all cultural groups completely divided and isolated from each other. That will make for much better relations between them and it’s not like they have anything to gain from each other.

  29. Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    If I was at a party with people wearing all of these costumes, I’d think nothing much of it. I’d probably label the man in the Droopers costume a bit of a tosser and if I was told that the evacuee girl was Anne Frank, I might raise an eyebrow.

  30. Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    If a costume is worn to a party and no one there takes offense, is it offensive?

    • GBJames
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Only if someone shows a photo of it after the fact. Then all hell will break loose.

  31. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    The Rasta-man looks like a standard-issue Trustifarian, you ask me.

    And, while you’re asking, the reality star looks more like a preggo Penélope Cruz than the less lovely-and-talented Ms. Jenner.

  32. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I have major major problems with the Anne Frank costume and fairly trivial ones with ones that imply “body-shaming”, and none with the rest!!

  33. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    “World War II Evacuee” — I vote “not offensive,” but it gets my vote for worst new euphemism. 🙂

    • Posted November 2, 2017 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      Have you not come across the term before, or am I missing the joke. WWII Evacuee is a standard description in the UK.

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 3, 2017 at 3:36 am | Permalink

        I’ve certainly never heard it. (I’m a USian.)

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 3, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          I think the point is, that it’s a known term in the UK, but the costume was (I assume) sold in the US.

          So maybe it was conceived of as Anne Frank and the ‘evacuee’ was a retrospective euphemism.

          OTOH, they could have left off the name tag and called it ‘French girl’ and it wouldn’t have seemed odd.


          • Diane G.
            Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:12 am | Permalink

            Which raises the question of how would US marketers have come up with the term if it’s not well known in the US? 😉

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        I’ve heard “WW2 evacuees” used before regarding what’re referred to in the US as “displaced persons.” I’ve never heard it used euphemistically before for people killed in Nazi death camps.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          Not so much a euphemism, as a possible alternative description of the costume. I wouldn’t recognise it as Anne Frank.


        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:12 am | Permalink

          I agree with cr. I don’t think the intention was to create a euphemism, more an attempt to limit damage caused, by changing the original description.

  34. DrBrydon
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, last night I hardly spared a glance at the costumes the trick or treaters wore (although we didn’t get any Golden Geishas), and could tell what most of them were. I think I would have thought the little girl was a French schoolgirl. If it were one of my children, though, they would not have worn that costume.

  35. Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    One (wo)man’s offense is another’s parody. Or satire. Or homage.

    Of all the things in the world to get panties twisted about, this one ranks as one of the most ridiculous.

    • GBJames
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Panties? You lowdown sexist bastard.

      • Jeff Rankin
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink


  36. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Some of these costumes are “offensive,” I suppose, if you squint at ’em just right (and I wouldn’t parade around in any of them myself). But I think you’ve gotta be walkin’ around daring people to knock a chip of your shoulder to squawk about anyone else wearing one.

    Of course, I say that as someone whose own ox wasn’t gored by any of ’em. I mean, maybe I’d feel different if they had a “Dumb Bohunk” costume (the generic term for fellow people of middle-European descent my folks sometimes used affectionately, the way some black folk will call themselves the N-word). I’m pretty sure I’d laugh it off anyway — but then, being a third-generation, one-half “dumb bohunk” is at the periphery of my self-identification.

    I voted the straight “no” ticket.

    • GBJames
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      As 1/4 Bohunk I take offense at that. It’s the other 3/4 that is dumb.

  37. AD
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I recently worked in Oman for a few years working for a large French company. Our huge, open plan office had up to 100 people in it at any time, about half of them Omanis, quarter Indians and the rest Europeans.
    On the Oman national day each year, most of us Europeans wore the Omani traditional dress into the office and as far as I could tell it was much appreciated by the Omanis. I never picked up any bad vibes about it. I expect they would be baffled by any talk of cultural appropriation.

    • Ray Little
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      I agree. The guy looks great. If the clothes remind us of ISIS, that’s ISIS”s fault, not Omanis’ or other peaceful Arabic people. Some Muslims might object to someone getting wasted while wearing this, however. However, the offense would be the ‘getting wasted,’ not wearing the costume.

  38. Hempenstein
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Most all kinda weird and far less creative than many homemade costumes I’ve seen. But why would any costume company even think of making a fat ballerina or Anne Frank – did they seriously think they’d sell.

    Or maybe I’m insufficiently underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

  39. Ray Little
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Most of the voters were men, right?

    • BJ
      Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Why do you assume that?

      • GBJames
        Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Women aren’t allowed to vote?

    • Dani
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      Probably most readers are man. I’m a woman! interesting question. what is the gender ratio of jerry’s readers??

      • Posted November 2, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        I have no idea. But we could take a poll! That’s a great idea!

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted November 2, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          A binary choice poll won’t work. You need a sliding scale representing the gender spectrum. 🙂

          • Posted November 2, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

            These day sex/gender distinctions are not good enough. Some days I identify as a horse, dog, or cat. With winter looming in Chicago, I self-identify as a bear and am preparing for hibernation.

  40. Dave
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    None are offensive on their own. For one they are all intended to be used as Halloween costumes. Second, some are parodies of extreme stereotypes (fictitious by default), third, others represent outright fictitious charterers, with or without some extra poetic license who aren’t going to be offended, and the rest may just say more about the wearer’s tastes and propensity to troll or pay homage to than they are offensive. I have better things to do at Halloween than to go looking to be offended. One at least might want to ask why first, before judging on appearances alone.

  41. bonetired
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    German Railways (Deutsche Bahn) has just named one of their railway locomotives “Anne Frank”. I can see why they did it, as an act of remembrance, but I think that they could have thought that one through a bit …..

  42. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Having costumes portraying real people (Frank, Jenner) and people that does not look as yourself offend my sensibilities. Why only women in the first case, and why make fun of different body types instead of enjoying the experience?

    But I would not prohibit their wearing. After all, a Trump costume would be truly scary and fitting.

  43. enl
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I actually found none of them offensive, per se. I found many of them in poor taste or just plain sad/pitiful. I am curious what the results would have been if the poll choices included poor taste as an option? I am not offended by poor taste, though I sometimes am by the people that exhibit it.

  44. Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    The only one I voted “yes” for was the “Droopers” one. I wasn’t necessarily offended, nor do I agree with the implication that old women have saggy breasts is “body shaming” since it’s a fact of life, I just found it a bit crass to be wearing in mixed company. At a college Halloween party, I have no issue with it. At a family Halloween party, I think I’d ask them to put pasties on…

    • Posted November 1, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I will admit that my initial reaction to the Anne Frank costume was a bit surprised and a bit offended. After a minute’s thought and looking at the costume, I quickly realized that I didn’t actually find it offensive and that I actually found my initial response to be more inappropriate than I found the costume. Many young readers read Anne Frank’s diary and she is considered a hero by many, so why wouldn’t you honor her by imitating her? Kids “honor” superheroes all the time, why not actual heroes? More kids should dress up as real icons.
      (side note: there was a teenager trick-or-treating in a “League of their Own” costume in our neighborhood last night and I thought that was a great choice that, I would be willing to bet, very few teenagers would even recognize.)

    • Posted November 2, 2017 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      Cornish pasties, presumably.

  45. Charles Sawicki
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Handed out way too much candy and the only interesting costumes I saw were inflated Tweedledum and Tweedledee. They don’t sell these puppies in Fargo!

  46. Posted November 1, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I think at some point I would like to have a discussion about how the kind of harmless fun that is involved in a costume is ‘harmful’ to a group of people, or why something is called cultural appropriation if it does not involve actual harm or loss to anybody whatsoever. (The original idea was taking over somebody’s IP without re-compensating them for its use because they are powerless to make a case for their interests, and that makes sense; but who in Japan loses one dollar if an American wears a kimono?)

    It seems as if this works as follows:

    1. You have a costume with a sombrero.
    2. ????

    To say it with science, this theory does not seem to come with a plausible mechanism of action.

    Then again, I was made uncomfortable by the Anne Frank label, and I cannot really demonstrate any harm or loss there either, so maybe it works the same way for other people in the other cases.

  47. nicky
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Found none offensive and I’m very surprised at the offense taken of “Anne Frank”. As many I would not have thought of Anne Frank if it were not mentioned, but I fail to see how it could be offensive, it is not as if she’s being mocked.
    I had most problems with the fat ballerina, bad taste, but it looks more uncomfortable than offensive.Same for tHe Hannibal lecter costume: no arm use, no drink….

    I side with Lorna that the really offensive costumes are the burkas and niqabs worn in real life

  48. eric
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I tend to give a lot of (though not infinite) credit for effort. Someone goes to the trouble of putting together a unique costume, and I find it in bad taste, well I’m at least going to appreciate that they tried. That’s sort of like failed art.

    OTOH somebody grabs their batman print t-shirt from the back of their closet and puts it on, that tends to get a lot more disdain from me. There are certainly good yet simple costumes, but there are also a lot of people who don’t seem to try…and that bugs me.

    That aside: I find many of the shown costumes in bad taste, but none of them would upset me to the point of saying something.

  49. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    So, 7% found the Hobo offensive and 5% found the Snake Charmer offensive.

    Why? I’m quite puzzled.

    The only explanation I can find is a generic (non-)explanation – that whatever you come up with, somebody, somewhere, will manage to take offense.


    • Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      Downvoted the hobo as he looked more like an *evil* hobo, in the same way that *evil* clowns is creepier than a regular clown.

      Downvoted the Snake Charmer for a hooded cobra that looked more like a dog.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 2:17 am | Permalink

        And you found those offensive?

        I quite agree the ‘snake’ looked quite unrealistic (I thought it was maybe supposed to be a mongoose) but that wouldn’t make me label it offensive.

        ‘Evil’ hobo – that’s kinda the point of Halloween, isn’t it? What would you say to a Dracula or a Freddie Kruger?


        • Posted November 2, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          Littering, poor signage, and orgs that refuse to take you off their mailing list all offend me. But I’ve never attended an adult Halloween party where the “point” was to deliberately and convincingly dress with the intent to offend.

          Dracula and Freddie have their images copyrighted and protected, as do most mainstream popular, fictional characters. Which makes them a “brand,” and unoffensive to me.

          Even a costume of the (currently) most offensive person I can think of – Martin Shkreli- has *already* been crowned “the most hated man in America.” So a costume in his image would not offend me either. None of the images here truly offend me.

  50. Stephen Barnard
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    I found the whole exercise to be exceedingly lame (except for the ballerina).

    As far as the fat-shaming offense, it’s not fat shaming. It doesn’t depict any particular ballerina. Are we not supposed to watch the dancing hippopotamuses (Hippopotamus amphibius) in Walt Disney’s Fantasia without shame? Are we not supposed to laugh at the comedy of Laurel and Hardy, Jackie Gleason, and Rodney Dangerfield?

  51. Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    The “Arab Sheik” costume is actually quite accurate, closely resembling the items (bisht, agal,head cloth) a friend of mine received from Syria and showed me (though the K-Mart costume is doubtless of lesser quality materials). The sword, of course, is an obvious toy. The combination of clothing items is often worn as dress clothing by Arab men: google image “Saudi royalty” to see many examples.

  52. Posted November 1, 2017 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t find the snake charmer costume offensive for SJW reasons. But am troubled by humorous depictions of snake charming. It is horrible animal abuse: the snakes’ mouths are sewn shut and they are incessantly tormented when not confined in tiny boxes.

    • Posted November 2, 2017 at 12:16 am | Permalink

      Had no idea they sewed the mouth shut. I should have known…

  53. Diane G.
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:07 pm | Permalink


  54. Kate
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    The only thing that I find offensive is the fact that all things “sexy” have something to do with fake boobs. How sad it is to live in a culture where the value of women is measured by the size of their breast implants.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 2:21 am | Permalink

      No, they are extremely functional. Otherwise known as Bulgarian airbags after this report –


      • Dave
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        “How sad it is to live in a culture where the value of women is measured by the size of their breast implants.”

        It is very sad indeed. You’d think that being handy with a floor mop and able to brew a decent cup of tea would count for SOMETHING.

      • Posted November 2, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink


      • Kate
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Lol 😆😆

  55. Vaal
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I’m not offended by any of them and maybe that’s because I just don’t see any use for that state of mind. I can certainly judge some in poor taste, perhaps.

    I’m trying to think of a costume that would make me feel personally “insulted” or “offended” (as opposed to being ill-advised or in poor taste), and I’m coming up blank.

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