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9 Popular Halloween Costumes For Kids That Are Actually Cringeworthy

For the most part, kid's Halloween costumes are exactly what they're supposed to be, and that's imaginative, silly, fun, cute, clever, and maybe spooky. But there are some popular kids costumes to avoid this Halloween, too. It's kind of amazing what's still marketed to children in 2018.

By this time, most everyone has an idea of what makes up an offensive Halloween costume, according to Bustle. So when an adult decides to wear a costume that's generally considered inappropriate, then they know what's going on. It's a deliberate choice to be shocking or edgy or something along those lines. But because kids don't have a full understanding of what makes these costumes potentially problematic yet, it's kind of unfair to them. Plus, getting a little kid to wear a costume for adult reasons isn't going to be that much fun. The kid probably just wants to dress as a Paw Patrol character and call it a night.

And aside from the whole appropriation or parodying angle, these costumes are just kind of lazy. Seriously, there's a whole wealth of awesome costumes for sale both in stores and online, as well as more options for DIY creations than ever before. Why have your kid dress as something that's been done a thousand times before, when there are so many options for wildly creative costumes now?


Native Peoples

Just avoid appropriation altogether. "Many times people think they are respecting or representing indigenous people when they purchase the outrageous costumes online. They are doing the exact opposite," said Isabella Zizi in the Richmond Pulse. There are so many other costumes to consider.



There's a surprising amount of prison-related costumes for kids on the market, mostly of the black-and-white striped, kind of cartoony variety. Maybe leave incarceration out of Halloween this year, though?



To be honest, I thought this was a costume that fell out of fashion decades ago. But a quick search reveals several "hobo" and "bum" costumes for children on sale at major retailers. "This Halloween, please don't dress up like a person experiencing homelessness," wrote the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH). Pick something more humane.



Yes, geisha costumes for children are a thing. And yes, treating an ethnicity as a costume is still bizarre at best, according to HuffPost.



Given the harassment of Roma in Europe, "gypsy" costumes are not the kindest option, according to Refinery 29. Plus, the word "gypsy" is seen as a slur to some Romani people, so it's best to just pick another look, according to the National Organization for Women.


Latinx Appropriation

This is another costume I assumed was long out of vogue. But a quick search revealed a kid's costume complete with sombrero, fake mustache, poncho, and maracas for sale. "Yes, wearing a sombrero is racist if you decide to wear it as a costume with a mustache, two plastic maracas and a poncho," said Stephanie Amador in Ball State Daily. It reinforces stereotypes, for one thing. Plus, it's just lazy costuming. There are so many more creative costume options for kids that don't involve belittling someone's culture.


Body-Shaming Costumes

Granted, some of the inflatable costumes are hilarious, and it's perfectly OK if they aren't making fun of a person in particular. (I'm thinking about the inflatable Morphsuits, which seem pretty silly and harmless.) But costumes that make fun of a specific person or character for certain bodily characteristics are not the best option.


Psych Ward Costumes

There are plenty of straight jacket and "state mental hospital patient" costumes available for kids. But really, let's give the next generation better ideas about mental health. There's a whole history of people with mental health issues suffering abuse that's very frightening, but not in a fun way.


Politically Charged Costumes

Parading around in satirical, politically charged costumes can be hilarious and cathartic for adults. But unless your kid has an express interest in politics, leave all that stuff out of the Halloween costume. Your kid still has a few years to enjoy dressing as a ghoul, goblin, or witch, so give politics a rest for the evening. Let kids enjoy Halloween without the adult world messing it up.