Arts and Culture

Halloween costumes and cultural appropriation

Halloween is quickly approaching. Over the past few weeks, several discussions have been held on the subject of Halloween costumes and cultural appropriation, namely the discussion held last week by FAW, DWOCC and RENI.

Buzzfeed has also been diving into the subject by releasing videos of the topic of cultural appropriation during Halloween. Two such videos, entitled Native Americans Try On “Indian” Halloween Costumes and Japanese Women Try On Geisha Halloween Costumes, have sparked interest on their social media platforms.

The comments on the videos are mixed, but most reflect a group consensus that the cultural appropriation is wrong in all of its shapes and forms. Several viewers have pointed out that there are countless other costumes one can use on Halloween without coming across as offensive.

Viewers’ comments urge people to respect other cultures by learning more about them rather than exploiting them. The “I am not your costume” sentiment has definitely gained recognition and strength over the last few years. Controversies over what constitutes an insensitive costume have become platform for discussions that need to be held. Questions on what is right and wrong fall on every section of the spectrum, such as such whether it is wrong to wear a costume that reflects your own culture, etc.
As October 31 comes near, look at your own costumes and ask yourself what they mean to you. Then, ask yourself what they mean to others. Join the conversation about cultural appropriation and Halloween costumes to learn more.