The Ebola epidemic is making an impact on Halloween this year in a strange way that has heads turning. The idea of wearing a health-care worker containment suit as a Halloween costume has become one which has stuck, and even become popular. Some think it is distasteful, some bizarre, and some just shake their heads, but the craze is taking off. While most major costume manufacturers are running from the very concept, there is at least one company which has decided to capitalize on the trend and begun to sell Ebola worker garb for Halloween at $79.99. They are selling like crazy. Most people deciding on this costume will don something homemade, but there is apparently a market for the Ebola worker wannabe and BrandsonSale.com is taking advantage at nearly 80 dollars a pop.
It is not just Halloween costumes which are being impacted by the headlines and current events during this year’s holiday season. There is a growing debate being played out in haunted houses and attractions across the country. In light of the public beheadings being conducted by the Islamic State, and the public outcry and collective horror at those tragedies, there is a little more sensitivity in some parts around the use of some of the more gruesome Halloween displays. Some theme parks with holiday attractions have chosen to remove portions of their offerings which featured headless bodies or severed heads for the sake of not disturbing patrons. Specialty shops have received pressure in some parts of the country to remove similar items from public view or not to sell them at all.
The debate over the issue of adjusting sensibilities for holiday displays goes deeper than merely whether or not some people will be offended by the graphic visuals usually associated with the season. The larger concern in some people’s minds is whether or not to allow the actions of terrorists to dictate even things as mundane as holiday celebrations for Americans. The patriotic spirit has risen in response to the matter of adjusting traditional celebrations in response to the actions of murderers whose intent is to damage the collective psyche of the country. Many feel that to do so is to give in to these terrorists, and allow them to win moral victories to some extent. For that reason, the debate is heated on both sides. The outcry about the strange Ebola worker costume being a tasteless choice of Halloween garb is tame by comparison, but they speak to the same psychological issues.
There is an interactive relationship between tragedy and death of the Ebola crisis or ISIS beheadings in the news and the collective morale of the country. There is a line being walked between a perceived need to be sensitive and appropriately aware of the gravity and impact of events, and the desire not to be overwhelmed by them to the point where sense of holiday spirit and celebration is lost. For some people, it is more than a question of sensibilities and offending people, but rather a matter of patriotic pride. Many feel that changing our traditional celebrations is giving the terrorists responsible for these gruesome events exactly the type of moral victory they are looking for. The resistance is based solely on a determination not to let them win in any way, shape or form. Even wearing an Ebola worker costume is, for some, simply a way to combat the overwhelming nature of the day’s news.
The concept of holding the line and defending the American way of life is taking a different form this Halloween. Standing strong, and not allowing the events of the day to cause revelers to lose their sense of humor may be a different type of protest for some. The choice to wear a Ebola worker or headless horseman Halloween costume may have more thought behind it than some people think, and may not be as strange a choice as it appears at first glance.
By Jim Malone