Halloween Costumes – which ones take things too far?

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These costumes are fine. But some just won’t ever be okay.

We all know that yesterday was October 31, aka Halloween, aka one of the best days of the year. Everyone can find something that speaks to them on this particular holiday, whether they’re a three-year-old dressed as Buzz Lightyear, a college student going to a party, or a resident in a nursing home watching a scary movie marathon.

And yet, we always have the people who almost ruin it for everybody.

I’m not talking about the kids running around egging cars or taking baseball bats to pumpkins, although they are irritating in their own right. I’m talking about the people who think it’s a good idea to dress up in offensive costumes.

Yes, you can all collectively groan at the idea of having yet another conversation about PC culture, because we are all tired of hearing it. And that’s fine. PC culture is  an exhausting and often unproductive topic of conversation even among people who feel strongly about it. But like it or not, some individuals cross the line time and time again, and their costumes aren’t the typical I’m-dressed-as-a-Native-American offensive. They’ve reached a whole new level of truly offensive.

Like these girls, for example:

Two Kansas high school girls reportedly dressed as "rape victims" for Halloween

Fortunately I was not the one to take this picture – these girls are high school students in Kansas, and the media publication company Mic covered their story. I post this because I didn’t get a chance to snap a photo of the two girls I saw on my own campus at the University of Iowa at around two in the morning over Halloween weekend who were also wearing rape victim “costumes.”

I don’t know if these four girls (who are relatively close in age) understand the true nature of being a rape victim or not, but I’m going to go ahead and assume they’re ignorant, mostly because that’s easier to stomach than the suggestion I got from a classmate that they were doing it to be “ironic.”

I could include a whole slew of other offensive costumes that I’ve seen in my 22 years, but I’ll stick with this one for today, mostly because the climate we live in has thrown sexual assault into the spotlight in recent months.

Brock Turner, Alec Cook, Daniel Drill-Mellum – these are all young men who have been accused of sexual assault in high-profile cases on three different college campuses this year. Even the Republican nominee for President has been accused of multiple sexual assaults over the years.

Sexual assault is an especially heinous crime, and just as we all know not to don blackface for Halloween, we should all be able to agree not to trivialize the horrors that so many people have experienced globally for the sake of a shitty costume.




Author: Cailin Smith

I'm a Journalism and Mass Communications major and senior at the University of Iowa. I love Netflix, sushi, running, and dogs, and I've been known to burst into random dance moves without prompt.

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