Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love the spooky stories, delicious treats, and above all, the costume parties.
Dressing up as anything you like for a day is very liberating, but with this freedom comes great responsibility (possible costume idea?).
It is imperative that we keep our costumes from perpetuating horrible stereotypes and treading into racist territory by remembering that “[We’re] a culture, not a costume”.
To clear up any doubt about if your proposed costume is offensive, consult this checklist: Is my Halloween costume racist? or choose one of the (friendly) international inspired options below:
- Mexico: Frida Kahlo. The New York Botanical Garden is honoring Ms. Kahlo with an incredible exhibit that will feature more than a dozen of her original pieces, history on the artist, and to commemorate El Día de los Muertos, beginning on October 23, a traditional ofrenda (an altar decorated with flowers, sugar skulls, and other mementos) will be on display. Grab some faux flowers, a beautiful graphic dress, and a colorful shawl to replicate Kahlo’s famous style.
- Ireland: Banshee. According to Wikipedia, “The banshee or ‘woman of the barrows’ is a female spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from another world. In legend, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die. Alleged sightings of banshees have been reported as recently as 1948.” Basically, a screaming female ghost. This costume is an easy one if you’re short on time, ideas, or love the idea of a super “smokey” eye.
- Romania: Vampire. Invoke a classic vampire look inspired by Romanian folklore. If capes aren’t your thing, go more modern by channeling one of the many movies/TV shows featuring the fanged villains.
- United States: Michael Jackson. Six years after his death and I’m still mourning MJ. Celebrate the King of Pop with any of his iconic outfits from live performances or music videos – just make sure you have some dance moves to back it up.
- China: Fa Mulan. Dressing up as Disney princesses is nothing new, but did you know that Mulan was a possibly a real person? Given that she is a regular badass, this costume celebrates female strength and perseverance – just avoid the opening scene’s geisha style costume (for a myriad of reasons, one being because geisha culture is not Chinese).
- England: The Corpse Bride. Sure to offend no one, this blue face costume is fairly easy to put together if you can source a white prom dress or wedding gown from a vintage shop or goodwill (I used an old formal dress and purchased tulle for the veil). Buy yourself some flowers a few weeks in advance, let nature run its course (corpse?) and you have the perfect bouquet for your big day.
- Worldwide: Wear it Wild. I know some jabroni will inevitably dress up as the infamous dentist or as Cecil, but combat the negativity of the story and situation by wearing a fierce animal costume. Pick your favorite furry, scaly, or hairy friend and sign up with the World Wildlife Fund’s Wear it Wild campaign to raise funds to protect endangered species and their homes. You can decide if you want to raise funds on your own or challenge your friends and family to join you in making a difference.