If your kids are anything like mine, they change their minds 100 times about what they want to dress up as for Halloween. One day my son is certain he wants to be a superhero and the next day he decides dressing as a mad scientist will be much better. In our ongoing hunt for the perfect costume, I decided to scroll through images online to be inspired. Much to my surprise, I was shocked to find there are more offensive Halloween costumes for kids you should never consider than I would have guessed. Within minutes, I was staring at kids dressed in ways that made my jaw drop.
For the record, I have a great sense of humor. I love a good gag gift, harmless prank, or well-timed joke, so a hilarious costume is right up my alley. But when something is created in jest to represent a type of person or group of people, it crosses the line into the realm of offensive. Since my kids are still young, they choose costumes based on what is appealing to them, so it's my job to step in and explain to them if they've chosen something that is not appropriate.
Halloween is not a free for all — it's not OK to forget about sensitivity and inclusivity just because you go trick-or-treating. Helping children understand that these 15 costumes for kids found on the internet are offensive will help them understand why they can't dress up as anything they want.
1. Baby Mr. T
Anything with black face is always offensive. Many iterations of this costume come with a dark-colored stocking mask for the baby to wear so his or her skin will look black like Mr. T's.
2. Baby Pimp
A man who makes a living selling women's bodies should never been celebrated. Yet you can purchase or DIY Baby Pimp costumes that attempt to make a joke about this issue.
3. Homeless Person/Hobo
The reality of homelessness is not something to mock. Having a child dress like someone who has no place to live but on the streets is not OK.
4. Baby Hitler
This was one of the most shocking costumes I saw online. It features a small child dressed to look like Hitler with armband and mustache. No one should ever dress as a man who was responsible for the senseless deaths of 11 million people during the Holocaust, according to the site for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
5. Harem Girl
Dressing like one of a dozen or so women who were kept by one man isn't a good message for any to send to any child, least of all a young girl. Considered sex slaves to sultans, harem girls didn't even want to dress like harem girls.
6. Gangster (With A Gun)
The sight of a child holding a gun is all too real and frightening these days. Dressing them like tiny criminals with weapons is offensive, especially to those who have lost someone to gun violence.
7. Drag Queen
This is the type of insensitivity for transgender people that makes it hard to make advancements for acceptance and teaches intolerance.
8. Native American Chief Or Princess
Anytime someone who dresses (in the costume sense) as someone of another ethnicity than them, it is inappropriate. As with any for of cultural appropriation, it is unacceptable to co-opt the experieince of a race for your own enjoyment.
9. Confederate Soldier
We respect and appreciate the women and men who serve our country in the military, even if we don't always agree with policies and practices. However, a confederate soldier costume for kids drudges up old notions of a movement that wanted to keep others oppressed.
When I saw the picture of a boy dressed as a terrorist with fake bombs strapped to his chest, I was more than angry. This is beyond offensive and is attempting to poke fun at a devastating act.
11. A "Major Flirt" Costume
This is a riff on a military costume for girls, where the bottom half of the uniform is a skirt. Our girls are more than flirts and our female soldiers deserve more respect.
12. Cartoonish Mexican
Oversized sombreros and huge mustaches turn Mexican culture into a caricature. It's not meant to be authentic and it looks cartoonish.
13. Bill Cosby
Perhaps before tons of women starting coming forward about his alleged sexual assault, dressing up as Bill Cosby might have been cute for a kid. But now that women are alleging what happened out of the public eye, it's just plain offensive.
14. Shark & Bethany Hamilton
This costume was a sibling team or shark and surfer Bethany Hamilton who lost her arm due to a shark bite. Although Bethany has never let the loss of a limb stop her from being a badass, the overall idea for this kids' costume duo is just wrong. After all, do you really want your child to think it's OK to mock someone with a physical disability?
Yet another group of women who are there for the pleasure of a man. These are offensive costumes for girls, because girls shouldn't see themselves as entertainment for men.