5 Scariest (aka Most Terrible) Halloween Costumes This Year

Every year like clockwork, Halloween brings a plethora of costumes to take in. Ranging from popular movie and TV characters to puns (card-sharks) to anything made “sexy” (sexy pineapples are a real costume), Halloween lets people bring out their creative side or wear something ridiculous.

Too often though, people will take the whole idea of a fun, just-for-one-night costume too far and either end up being completely insensitive or offending a large group of people. So, in the spirit of Halloween, here are some of the “scariest” costumes (that you will probably see at least one of):

1. Sexualized Children’s Costumes

When Canadian writer Raina Delisle took her 4-year-old daughterHalloween costume shopping in search of a firefighter costume, she was shocked and disappointed at the choices for kids. The boy’s version of the costume looked like an actual firefighter’s outfit, while the girl’s version featured a “skin-tight, short, shiny dress” and included “a fascinator (in lieu of a helmet.)” Delisle also found the pumpkin costume for girls featured a lace-up bodice, similar to that of a corset.

While this might seem minor, the difference between the two costumes sends a message early on to young, impressionable girls and boys that while the boys can go out and get the job done, the girls can just look pretty.

2. Native American (or Geisha or Mexican immigrant or Black Gangster)

Every year, there is guaranteed to be at least one person who will dress up as an ethnic or racial caricature for the night because they believe they are “showing respect” for the culture, because they think the culture is “beautiful” or “exotic” or simply because they find it funny.

Since there are so many offensive Halloween costumes thatperpetuate stereotypes (see: Muslim “terrorists,” sexy geishas, black gangsters), often which can be harmful, we’ll focus on one in particular: the sexy Native American.

Those who choose to dress as a “PocaHottie” are not only characterizing Native Americans as“mythical, historical creatures” but are probably unaware of the rates ofsexual violence Native women face or that the majority of the population lives in poverty or struggles with alcoholism.Here’s a good list of questions to see if your costume will be racially/ethnically offensive or not.

3. Ebola Containment Suit

Sexy Ebola costume

The Ebola virus has claimed more than 5,000 lives in West Africa and infected thousands more, but some see it as an easy and funny (not to mention current) costume. Hazmat suits are making the rounds this Halloween, including a “sexy” version for women (of course.) The costume’s description is cringe-worthy enough, stating that “you are sure to be prepared if any outbreak happens at your Halloween party. This will literally be the most ‘viral’ costume of the year.”

Not only would the costume increase hysteria of the presence of the virus here in the States and make a mountain out of a molehill, but it’s incredibly insensitive to victim’s family members and the current situation surrounding the quarantining of nurses and aid workers.

4. Members of the Islamic State

Another senseless costume ripped from the headlines. Yes, people really are dressing up as members of theIslamic State, a group that has killed more than 24,000 Iraqi citizens, trains children to be soldiers and has executed two Americans and a British citizen.

From the risque takes to the completely and obviously offensive ones (carrying around a plasticcut-off head), attempting to make light of one of the most violent oppressors of human rights will not go successfully.

5. Ray Rice

It should go without saying that domestic violence is never funny, but some people have already proved they don’t agree. Men (and even children) are donning Ray Rice jerseys and toting around blowup dolls, while women go around sporting fake black eyes. And for an extra level of offensiveness, some people are wearing blackface.

Besides the fact that one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and the addition of blackface is racist (see number 2 above), dressing up as Rice glorifies him and his actions and is insensitive to what Janay Rice went through.

So if you’re looking for an edgy, creative or out-of-the-box costume, please avoid all of these. Why be insensitive and offensive when you could be characters from Mario Kart or pizza? You can also refer to this handy infographic for a quick check to find out if your costume is racist.

Top Photo Credit: via Flickr user Jez Coulson


Susan T.
Susan T3 years ago

Claire, define "racist"

Susan T.
Susan T3 years ago

really? this is an issue? parents....don't parents buy halloween costumes for their kids? If no one bought them...

Anaïs Deroint
Anais Deroint3 years ago

Carole R., the problem with the firemen and policemen costum is that they are designed sexily for little girls, while those for little boys are designed normally, showing that a girl cannot really want to be a policewoman or a firewoman, they just want to be pretty and that's all. The matter here is sexism and sexualisation of little girls, not the fact that boys get dressed as firmen or policemen.

Andrew C.
Andrew C3 years ago

Can't believe #4 and #5 are on here. People actually went as that??

Myriam G.
Myriam G3 years ago

Hilarious infographic

Claire Jordan
Claire Jordan3 years ago

cont'd ... companies selling toy war bonnet costumes need to tell kids that it *is* the insignia of a respected judge and general, and not of somebody who brandishes an axe and jumps about going "Woo-woo".

Claire Jordan
Claire Jordan3 years ago

I've been thinking about this, and it seems to me that you're on very dodgy ground if you're going to say that dressing up as a person of another race is intrinsically racist - unless you're going to tell a Native American child that they can't dress as a Roman soldier, or a black child that they can't be V for Vendetta.

Dressing up as a racial sterotype, especially an insulting racial stereotype, is nearly always going to be racist, and presenting comedy, heavily sexualised parody versions of other people's costumes, as in the "sexy Native American dress" is, if not exactly racially prejudiced, at least racially insensitive and very cheeky and potentially offensive - like "sexy policewoman" strippers.

Dressing up as a villain from another race is a grey area. Generally I'd say it's racist if it presents that villain as if they were typical of that race, but OTOH I'm not sure if dressing as a Nazi Stormtrooper is racially bigoted against Germans. I'm not sure it *isn't*, either - it's certainly a dubious thing to do, in part because dressing up as any kind of murderer suggests disrespect to their victims.

Kids dressing up in war bonnets, so long as they look like toy versions of real war bonnets and not like mocking comic parodies of them, shouldn't really be any different from kids wearing little judge or general or surgeon or princess outfits: it's the professional costume of a respected administrative and military authority. But companies selling toy war bonnet

Danuta Watola
Danuta W3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Maria Teresa Schollhorn

Thank you.

Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

I don't care for #4 and #5 but, to me, the others aren't bad. Little boys have been firemen and policemen for years and it is an honor.
Everyone is so sensitive any more.