Halloween is definitely the most entertaining of holidays. When done right, it is inventive, fun and at times horrifying. However, there is a bad side to the clearance people feel during Halloween. Inventive can be mistaken for other things, and costumes can easily cross lines and offend.

Let’s start with the good. Since trick-or-treating has a cutoff age, adults and college students find other ways to partake in the festivities, usually in the form of costume parties. Celebrities, with their resources of makeup artists and designer friends to create costumes for them, tend to have some incredible costumes when they put their minds to it. Here are a few of my favorite costumes from this year’s festivities:

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As for the bad of Halloween:

When people feel they can dress as anything and turn it into a joke, they usually end up feeding into stereotypes and generally just making people uncomfortable. This might come off as being PC and overly sensitive, but it falls in line with last week’s article on Navajo exploitation in fashion. Just because it’s not part of the mainstream culture, does not mean that it’s up for grabs. Dressing like an American Indian can offend an American Indian, wearing blackface can offend a black person, pretending to be a ‘chulo’ can reinforce negative stereotypes and offend people, etc.

For this reason, a group of students from Ohio University began a campaign to discourage racist Halloween costumes. I definitely noticed this poster at the University Place bus stop this weekend, but now I know where it comes from, and its message should be pretty clear.

-Nadjma Sako

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