Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should
Another Halloween is upon us, and with that comes another year of terrible and tasteless outfits. No matter how much things change over the course of a year, the costume industry is going to continually produce some of the most unsightly costumes their its collection of twisted minds can fathom. Whether it’s 2017’s disturbing “Eleven” from Stranger Things costume, the “Brave Red Maiden” take on the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale, blackface, and any other number of costumes, there will always be something that’s off-point, off-base, and totally unnecessary.
So, take a seat and prepare yourself for some of the worst Halloween costumes that have ever “graced” the world of retail.
The Brave Red Maiden
Let’s start with the latest addition to the list. In the late summer of 2018, American online retailer and fashion design company, Yandy, introduced the “Brave Red Maid,” which, as you can see in the image above, totally misses the point of the Margaret Atwood novel turned Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale. The series takes place in what used to be the United States but has since become a totalitarian dystopian future where certain women (the handmaids) are treated as the property of the state and are forced to produce children for society’s elites.
To say that the scantily clad costume misses the point of the female characters’ abuse and torture would be an understatement. Sure enough, people took Yandy to task for this egregious costume soon after it was made available for purchase. It got to the point where the retailer made the decision to remove the costume from its website before releasing the following statement (via Us Weekly):
“We support our customers being comfortable in their skin, regardless of who they are or what they choose to wear. Our corporate ideology is rooted in female empowerment, and gender empowerment overall. Over the last few hours, it has become obvious that our ‘Yandy Brave Red Maiden Costume’ is being seen as a symbol of women’s oppression, rather than an expression of women’s empowerment.”
Between the time the costume was made available and pulled down by the retailer, those who were upset took to social media to voice their disapproval of the costume, getting to the point where one Twitter user tweeted at Margaret Atwood herself to see if the creator of the novel and series could do something about it. The full tweet, including Atwood’s response, can be viewed below.
No, I can't put a stop to it..@MGM or @HandmaidsOnHulu might say something; but, after appearing at so many protests, the outfit is out of the box by now. Not sure this version will sell many, however. Who exactly would wear it, and on what occasions? Anyway the shoes are wrong. https://t.co/18HeMONM9t— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) September 21, 2018
Upside Down Honey
What’s worse than objectifying women who are viewed as the property of the state? Funny you should ask… How about making risque costumes modeled after young girls who were kidnapped from the arms of their mothers, forced to undergo a series of tests in a secret government lab, and then hunted down like a dog once they escape? Sounds made up, right? Well, that’s exactly what happened in 2017 when multiple costume retailers began to sell the “Upside Down Honey” costume on the heels of the release of the second season of the Netflix series Stranger Things.
Although it’s not an officially licensed costume, Party King’s “Upside Down Honey” bears a striking resemblance to the show’s heroine, Eleven. The costume takes element’s of Eleven’s signature outfit and turns it on its head by removing the collar from and shortening the length of the Eleven’s dress. The costume designer also took it upon themselves to give Eleven a waffle-pattern purse, which is a not so subtle nod to the character’s obsession with Eggos.
The product description doesn’t do much to help out the costume, but at least those responsible were trying (via People.com):
“Evade your enemies in this Upside Down Honey costume featuring a powder pink babydoll dress with a ruffled bust, white buttons accents, a navy bomber jacket with long sleeves, white thigh high socks with striped tops, and a waffle purse. (Wig not included.)”
As you can imagine, people weren’t too thrilled by the costume or what it said about the adult Halloween costume industry, and they took to social media outlets like Twitter to share their voices. The costume, however, is still available at multiple online retailers.
You Know What Else Is Offensive? Blackface
You would think that as a society, we would have moved on from the days of blackface, but here we are, in the 21st Century, still dealing with racist costume after racist costume. It’s one thing when some jerk you graduated high school with painting his face black in a haphazard attempt at being edgy or trying to make a point, but it’s something entirely different when a celebrity or other public figures decide to take part in one of the worst Halloween fads in the history of the holiday.
One of the higher profile cases of blackface came to us in 2013 when actress and dancer Julianne Hough thought it would be a grand idea to attend a Halloween party dressed up like “Crazy Eyes” from the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black. There was only one problem here… Hough, who happens to be white, applied dark makeup in order to darken her complexion so that she would look more like the African-American character she was attempting to portray.
Shortly after the incident, Hough took to Twitter to issue an apology for her actions (via PopSugar):
“I am a huge fan of the show Orange Is the New Black, actress Uzo Aduba, and the character she has created,” Julianne tweeted following the incident. “It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize.”
Unfortunately, that’s not the only case of celebrities failing to use their best judgment when choosing a Halloween costume.
And Did You Know That Brownface Is A Thing?
In 2015, Paula Dean — yes, that Paula Dean — came under fire after her Twitter posted an image showing her son in brownface. The image, which was quickly deleted from all of her social media accounts, showed the celebrity chef along with her husband and son as they attempted to replicate the dynamic from the classic television sitcom “I Love Lucy.” While it’s not Dean dressing up in the offensive outfit, it still goes to show the tone deaf nature of the fried-food peddling cook and media giant.
According to NBC News, the photo was allegedly taken from Dean’s 2011 Halloween episode, which aired on the Food Network. In a statement provided to the news outlet shortly after the story broke back in 2015, Dean’s representative had this to say:
“Paula Deen’s Social Media Manager posted a picture this morning of Paula and Bobby Deen dressed in costume as Lucy and Ricky, from ‘I Love Lucy.’ This photograph is from a 2011 Halloween episode of ‘Paula’s Best Dishes.’ Paula immediately had this picture taken down as soon as she saw the post and apologizes to all who were offended. As such, Paula Deen Ventures has terminated their relationship with this Social Media Manager.”
What Would Halloween Be Without A Heavy Dose Of Ignorance?
Celebrity Halloween parties have been a longstanding tradition in places like Hollywood and New York City, but it seems like no one hosts higher profile parties each Halloween than supermodel and media mogul Heidi Klum. Every year, Klum’s parties draw the attention of dozens of media outlets from around the globe, but most of the attention usually goes to Klum’s elaborate costumes.
In 2008, however, Klum’s outfit didn’t draw the kind of attention she was used to receiving after she dressed up like the Hindu goddess Kali. As you can imagine, the outfit “ruffled religious feathers,” as Vanity Fair described in an article on the costume’s fallout.
According to the Vanity Fair article, “Hindu and Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed yesterday released a statement in Nevada saying that Goddess Kali is not to be used in clubs for publicity stunts or thrown around loosely for dramatic effects. A similar sentiment expressed by Jawahar L. Khurana of Hindu Alliance of India and Bhavna Shinde of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, who called the costume ‘denigrating.'”
Klum saw nothing wrong with the costume but put any possible blame on her assistant when she told the outlet, “It was actually my assistant’s idea,” she said. “My husband and I were in India last year, so she said, ‘Why don’t you do an Indian goddess? Like a scary Indian goddess?’ And I said ‘OK!'”
Oh, Let’s Make A Joke About Domestic Abuse
You might not remember it now, but back in 2014, the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal was a hot-button topic. With people from all sides of the spectrum throwing their names into the proverbial hat, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to turn one of the most prominent cases of domestic abuse into a Halloween costume.
In October 2014, TMZ reported on an image of an unnamed man dressed up like the former Baltimore Raven dragging around a lifeless doll meant to represent Rice’s victim, Janay Rice. The outlet reported that the dumpster fire of an image surfaced on Reddit several days earlier with the following caption: “Ladies were falling for my friend’s Ray Rice costume.”
The TMZ tweet can be seen below:
Worst Of The Year
There you have it… some of the worst Halloween costumes we’ve ever seen. Although we didn’t include every terrible and tasteless Halloween costume, we gave you more than enough to convince you to change your mind about making a social faux pas on this year’s Hallow Eve.