Halloween is quickly approaching us, along with costumes that are wacky, spooky, or somewhere in between. While we enjoy a night of tricks and treats, it’s still important to be considerate of others. Cultural appropriation is notorious for occurring on Halloween, by those who know it and those who don’t. Cultural appropriation is the act of taking or using from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing you understand or respect the culture.
There are many easy ways to maintain your cultural competence, which is being conscious of another culture. Sticking to your favorite characters who are from your own culture is a great idea for ensuring you stay considerate of others. One great way to dress up this Halloween is to go as your favorite book character!
Because many characters’ appearances are left to your imagination, it can be fun and creative to dress up how you think that character would. Dressing up as your favorite character can also be sustainable by shopping at thrift stores to find the perfect outfit, or simply using clothing from your own closet! This ensures your costume is completely unique, and you won’t have to worry about someone wearing the same costume.
If you are feeling really creative, get punny with your costume! Things such as ‘seal of approval,’ ‘ceiling fan,’ a ‘smart cookie,’ or the phrase when ‘life gives you lemons’ can make a great costume. Wearing a nametag saying “Life” and handing out lemons is surely a conversation starter and will have everyone laughing.
If you are still uncertain of whether your costume is culturally competent, consider these questions:
- Is the character from another race or culture that requires traditional cultural clothing?
- Is this costume based on stereotypes that may not be true?
- Is the character easily identifiable to others?
- Do you have to wear heavy makeup to be recognizable as this character?
- Does this costume represent cultural or religious traditions of others?