13 "Funny" Halloween Costumes That Are Actually Really Offensive
Everyone wants their Halloween costume to be funny in one way or another; no matter what you dress up as, part of the fun of Halloween is making light of scary things. There are some costumes, however, that were maybe once thought of as "funny," but nowadays definitely cross the line. For Halloween 2017, all grown-ass women should avoid these "funny" Halloween costumes that are actually really offensive. We all know by now not to appropriate anybody's culture for the sake of a costume (though if you still have questions, you can read up on why that's a problem here). But there's plenty of costumes that aren't technically cultural appropriation, but are majorly offensive.
While this might seem obvious, there are quite a few costume ideas out there for Halloween 2017 that are meant to get a laugh, but are actually a huge gaffe. Some of these costumes make fun of cultural customs, and most of them mean to demean women and reinforce patriarchal ideas that women are only good for sex and housekeeping. Still others mock gender identity, body image, and people with disabilities. In my opinion, if someone needs to resort to a costume like this that is so clearly in poor taste, their creative skills are sorely, distressingly lacking.
But, hey, I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt that they might not realize why some of these "funny" costume ideas are actually offensive, which is why I'm telling you about them. With so many amazing costume ideas to choose from, Halloween 2017 is a time to check yourself, and respect others by avoiding these "funny" Halloween costumes that are actually super offensive.
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1. A Fat Suit
In retrospect, some things we may have laughed at in the past actually aren't funny at all. Case in point, Courteney Cox donning a fat suit on Friends in service of the long-standing "joke" that Monica "used to be fat." This is also a super offensive costume idea for Halloween 2017. Making fun of someone else's body is never OK, and historically society has tended to make light of, and mock, people who don't conform with society's rigid beauty standards.
People who have a different body size than what has traditionally been represented as "desirable" shouldn't have to see others dressing up for the sole purpose of making fun of them. Let's agree not to wear any costumes for Halloween 2017 that are meant to degrade people for any reason.
2. Baby Got Back
So, we all know the Sir Mix-A-Lot song "Baby Got Back." I actually don't have an issue with this song, but what is offensive is dressing up in a big butt costume for Halloween 2017, because the costume — unlike the song — is not a celebration of different body types. The only reason someone dresses up in a costume like this is to mock someone with that body type. There actually is a costume called "Ultimate Butt & Boobs" for this purpose. Men seem to think it's funny to don this offensive costume, which is basically bare breasts and a bare butt meant to be worn by men.
While it might get a laugh at the annual Halloween monster's ball, this costume is doubly offensive because it makes fun of people's bodies, and demeans and objectifies nudity. These are private parts of a body, and a nude boobs and butt costume idea is really not acceptable unless they are your own and you're going as a nudist. It's up to each individual person how they want to present their own body, but if you don't own the equipment, dressing up like a nude woman for Halloween 2017 is not funny. Not even a little bit.
3. "Ride A Camel"
OK, I can't even believe this is a thing. But, add this "Ride A Camel Costume" idea to your list of things to avoid at all costs this Halloween. While you might get a laugh as you roll into the Halloween party on your camel, people are likely laughing in uncomfortable horror because it's not funny to mock Middle Eastern cultures, especially in light of Trump's travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries.
And, while we're on the subject, please don't dress up in the "Hey Amigo Costume" either. (It's basically the camel costume with a donkey instead, meant to make fun of stereotypes of Mexican people.)
4. A Mammogram Machine
October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and someone thought it would be funny to design a Halloween costume that is meant to be a mammogram machine. In addition to being incredibly sexist and misogynistic, this is also horrendously not funny. Millions of people are affected by breast cancer, and any costume that mocks someone's illness is extremely offensive.
This Halloween costume idea also signals that the wearer of this offensive getup thinks the purpose of a mammogram is to feel a woman's breasts, when it's actually a lifesaving tool to screen cancer. Chances are you likely know someone who has or has had breast cancer. I know three people who were diagnosed this year, and my roommate survived breast cancer in her 30s, so yeah, not funny.
5. A "Hobo"
Dressing up as a "hobo," or a homeless person, was a super popular Halloween costume when I was growing up, and for whatever reason, still is today. I have no idea why, because there is absolutely nothing funny about being homeless. However, some people think it's hilarious to dress up in rags, stumble around like they're drunk, and beg for candy and booze — and I shouldn't have to tell them that they're completely in the wrong.
More than half a million people in the U.S. alone are homeless. Dressing up like a homeless person when you get to go back to your safe, warm home at the end of the night is not cool. Instead, consider doing something to help the homeless, and choose another costume for Halloween 2017.
6. Celebrities Who've Been Accused Of Crimes
Some celebrities have been accused of some truly horrifying things. While pop culture tends to mock these people for amusement, for each person who allegedly commits a crime there is a victim whose life will never be the same. So, it's actually not funny to dress up as a celebrity perp like O.J. Simpson or Bill Cosby.
If you want to dress up as a celeb, how about mental illness champion Carrie Fisher in the form of Princess Leia, or any other badass celeb who isn't giving humanity a bad name. While you're at it, stay away from Trump costumes too, because we already see too much of him IRL.
7. A White Sheet
While dragging the sheet off of your bed, cutting some eye holes, and throwing it over your head has long been a favorite for Halloween procrastinators, your 11th-hour ghost getup probably won't get a laugh, and in 2017, this is in poor taste at best.
With white supremacy groups more actively visible as of late, it's important to remember that the people best known for dressing up in white sheets were members of the KKK. If you waited until the last minute to get your costume together, check out one of these last-minute costume ideas for Halloween 2017 instead.
8. Someone In A Straightjacket
As a member of this community, I can tell you first hand that mocking mental illness is never, ever funny. People who battle mental illness face numerous hurdles to get proper care, and encounter negative social stigmas that make it difficult to be seen for who they are.
While it might seem funny to wrap yourself in a straightjacket for the night and tell everyone you just escaped from an asylum, it's a slap in the face to people who struggle with mental illness on a daily basis. So just... don't do it? Thanks.
9. A Flasher
When I was a kid in the '90s, everyone seemed to have a story about seeing a "flasher" at the bus stop. As I got older, the "flasher" was, for whatever reason, a common Halloween costume idea — probably because it's easy and "edgy." While you might get a laugh by throwing open your coat and flashing other partygoers, making fun of sexual harassment — which is what flashing is, at its core — is not just exceedingly awful, it can also trigger traumatic memories for someone who has been flashed in the past.
10. A Breast Apron
Breast Apron are two words I never thought I'd type in relation to a Halloween costume idea, but, alas, this actually does exist. This offensive, and degrading, costume idea for Halloween 2017 is basically a lingerie apron with a set of exposed breasts. While this costume might turn some heads, or get an uncomfortable giggle, this is pretty much one of the most anti-feminist costumes ideas out there, especially if it's worn by a man.
This costume perpetuates patriarchal ideas that women are only good for sex and housekeeping, which is what we've spent decades fighting against. Please see number two if you need more information about why this is a big no-no for Halloween 2017.
11. Pussy Magnet
Clearly someone has a job where they sit around and think up offensive costume ideas all day, because this "Pussy Magnet Costume" idea is next-level awful.
For the same reasons stated for the "Breast Apron" costume, this costume, though "punny," is probably not going to win you any fans. This costume consists of a fake magnet you wear around your neck that is covered in the severed heads of cats. There are so many reasons why this is profoundly awful, so maybe be, I don't know, literally anything else for Halloween?
12. Stripper Piggyback Costume
As far as costumes meant to specifically degrade women, this "Stripper Piggyback" costume idea is unbelievably awful, but the description on the website offers it as a costume that will "have people cracking up laughing." For the same reason the fat suit, the boobs and butt costume, and the breast apron costume ideas are offensive, this costume idea, which mocks sex workers and promotes sexual abuse is downright horrifying. Any stripper or sex worker "costume" at all, in any form, is a bad idea. When people mock things they don't agree with or understand it's true they might get a laugh, but it actually just makes them look super ignorant.
13. A "Sexy" Convict
While you might want to dress up as your favorite characters from Orange is the New Black or Wentworth, some convict costumes are not funny, like this "Women's Convict Costume" idea. Usually the only people who think it's funny to dress up as a convict, especially as a "sexy" convict, have never been arrested, or don't know anyone who is in prison. If you still don't get why this isn't funny, I suggest an immediate viewing of 13th on Netflix, which explores the horrors and inhumanity of the U.S. prison system.
While some of the costumes on this list have been used in comedy sketches for years, it's time for everyone to become more sensitive and self aware when it comes to the costumes you choose to wear for a laugh on Halloween. One easy way to check yourself is to think about how you would feel if someone showed up to a Halloween party wearing a costume that mocked your gender identity, socioeconomic status, culture, illness, or body. So, before you don your Halloween costume this year, remember to make sure it's thoughtful, creative — and most importantly — not offensive.