This may very well be the scariest Halloween ever, but before going out shopping for costumes, beware that some choices can come back to haunt everyone. Typically, Halloween costumes are an exercise in familiarity, a reflection of the times.
Each and every year, Michael Jackson’s familiar Thriller song plays as a costume store’s advertising soundtrack. First comes the beat, then the dancers and then the famous howl that signals the time to shop for a costume has come once again.
Now that the world is getting more and more complicated, one just might have to seek a quick lesson in costume correctness before the holiday gets underway. Walmart made a Halloween gaff when it lacked appropriate due diligence and released a “fat girl” costume campaign.
This was an unfortunate set of circumstances for those who became offended by this form of insensitivity. This can be seen as name calling, or at a minimum, evidence that an absent-minded campaign manager overlooked the fact that obesity is embarrassing, as much as it is an epidemic.
Walmart could have been misguided by the type of thinking found, after the fact, in suspect twitter threads. One or more tweets, supposedly written by men, claimed that if they were shopping for a costume, they would look for a fat man costume because they are fat. Be that as it may, this set of circumstances confirms that shoppers are to beware that Halloween costumes are often based on ridiculous creepy concepts and campaigns ranging from rude to disrespectful.
In confirmation that not all advertising is good advertising, CNN recently reported that Walmart has since recalled the campaign and apologized. There, however, has been no published recall of an ill-conceived nurse’s Ebola Hazmat sex appeal Halloween costume.
The fact is, there is increasing concern about the possibility of a growing U.S. Ebola threat. The public knows Halloween consists of make-believe for fun and games. Ebola, though, is no laughing matter, but rather an issue of life and death.
There is at least one nurse who is not laughing about the sexy Ebola nurse costume. She figuratively lost her voice after her return from West Africa. According to Dallas News the nurse, Kaci Hickox, had been on assignment to Sierra Leone working for Doctors Without Borders. She arrived back in the U.S. only to be essentially taken captive and placed into quarantine. She was questioned and, in her opinion, severely mistreated.
Later Hickox tested negative for the virus. To date, no excuses have been provided by the costume shop for its insensitivity. Instead, their promotion provided an unapologetic costume description with a side note featuring optional yellow rubber boots to wear with the costume. The boots can be acquired for additional money.
Poor taste costumes may be scary, but Halloween’s appeal continues to rise. It is still pretty safe to seek out a costume related to what is playing on the big screen. In fact, movie directors can possibly gauge that a particular film has hit classic status just by watching a Halloween parade.
Halloween costumes based on Disney movies fortunately have little risk to beware of. After shelling out millions of dollars at the box office, loyal customers show up on Halloween wearing their favorite Princess dress or action figure stretch suit. As a bonus, people typically care deeply when others are wearing the same dress or suit, but especially for kids, when it comes to Halloween costumes, all is forgiven.
By Karen J. Dabney