Halloween Costumes that Reinforce Negative Stereotypes Are Not OK

A student displays an example of what NOT to do.

Every year there are teenagers and adults who think they are being clever and funny by wearing racist costumes on Halloween, but instead they look foolish and arrogant. When I was younger, I used to love going house to house, enthusiastically asking for candy. I would admire all of the diverse and sometimes creepy outfits in my neighborhood. Now that I am older I realize just how horrifying Halloween truly is. I was too naive to see that some of those outfits were poking fun at different ethnic groups using many different stereotypes. Almost all of the stereotypes are not even indicative of how ethnic groups portray themselves. Do Mexicans wear sombreros and ponchos? Do Asians all wear straw hats or martial arts gear? The answer is clearly no! Halloween is a horrible influence on kids because it shows them that stereotypes are OK and real, but they’re not.

It is unfair to segregate a minority by wearing offensive outfits. Everyone should be entitled to celebrate one of the most fun holidays of the year with their friends and family. I have gone through the feeling of being excluded and embarrassed during Halloween and it is horrible. I am Mexican and am very proud to be one. Three years ago a teenager who lived in my neighborhood wore an extremely offensive and racist costume portraying a Mexican that ruined my night. Ever since that Halloween, I have been reluctant to go out again to save myself from the horrors that are prevalent on Oct. 31. I hope that one day Americans can see fit to dress up in traditional Halloween costumes like ghosts and vampires to spare a number of kids from being alienated and humiliated.

By David Martos, Staff Writer ’14

Photo: Aaron Simon

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