Beyond the Diag - Off Campus Housing

picture of pug dressed as a police man

As the spookiest day of the year approaches, college students frantically search for the perfect costume to debut on Halloween. As you rummage through your closet, thrift stores, or your favorite costume spot, be conscientious of your final costume decision.

Unknowingly, many students or residents of the community leave their homes wearing Mexican ponchos or traditional Chinese garments without thinking twice about how they may affect others. Innocently, they have portrayed a culturally appropriated message. Cultural appropriation is inappropriately adopting elements of another culture. Dressing up in an article of clothing or displaying an aspect of someone else’s culture as a Halloween costume is offensive. Similarly, a costume that depicts stereotypical identities falls into this category as well, being equally as offensive and oppressive.

If you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable situation - perhaps someone has offensively worn your culture as a costume - understand that your feelings are valid. You may wish to seek support from a close friend or someone you feel comfortable talking to. In some cases, a close friend or relative may be appropriating another culture. If you feel comfortable, explain to that individual that their actions could be inappropriate and offensive.  On the other hand, if you believe you have been an offender of cultural appropriation, acknowledge your mistake. Make a better choice this halloween.

This Halloween, grab a group of your closest friends, and hit the town as a box of crayons, group of superheroes, or anything that doesn’t make you think twice! If you spend the night trick- or- treating or hanging out with friends, dress up as your beloved fuzzy friend or alien from outer space instead of opting for a culturally insensitive idea. Remember, you can’t go wrong with a witch, ghost, or black cat. If you are going to wear a costume this fall, be respectful of others around you. When in doubt, don’t wear it out!

For more costume ideas, check out these 61 easy last-minute Halloween costumes.

Contributed by Mikaela Grudzien, –Neighborhood Ambassador