Halloween is a time for all things spooky and scary. Like ghosts and goblins and people being weirdly okay with showing off how racially insensitive they can be. One store in New York City is apparently helping encourage the latter by selling “Agent Wall” border patrol Halloween costumes. You know, to tap into the political climate that’s causing people to fear for their livelihood or perhaps to make light of the fact that the U.S. President previously referred to Mexicans immigrants as “rapists.” How fun and festive!
Spirit Halloween, the costume store in question, issued a statement to Gothamist about their costumes, which have understandably caught negative attention. A spokesperson for the store stated that they often “playfully acknowledge topical themes” through their Halloween costumes. The spokesperson equated the border patrol costume “to that of a police officer, military costumes, firefighter, doctor and more.” Here is their statement in full:
“Spirit Halloween offers a full range of Halloween costumes that celebrate and appreciate all cultures, occupations and figures, both real and imaginary. With that, we playfully acknowledge topical themes - and building the wall is certainly a trending conversation in today’s political climate. We believe this costume carries similar sentiments akin to that of a police officer, military costumes, firefighter, doctor and more. As the president continues to drive the headlines and hashtags, we have costumes for everyone to join in on the fun, including: piggybacking on Mr. President, a host of masks that illustrate Trump’s many personas and a presidential BFF Putin mask. We’ve respectfully developed these costumes knowing that Halloween is a time for humor and fun, and due to the overwhelming popularity of these items last year, we think it’ll be a huge hit with our shoppers again!”
Guys, it’s not offensive. It’s just capitalism.
The costume is being sold for about $40, if you just need the border patrol hat and “Agent Wall” shirt to get the point across. Per the online product description, the shirt’s fabric is “imported,” which almost so ironic it hurts. According to Gothamist, in at least one of Spirit Halloween’s New York City stores the costume shares a display with Donald Trump masks that are also for sale. (Just in case there was any confusion about what the costume was intended to allude to.)
Ladies, if you were feeling a little left out, fear not: there’s a “sexy” version of the costume, too. Spirit Halloween is selling a “Border Babe” costume online. The outfit comes complete with a hat, belted mini dress, and binoculars so you can “straddle the border between being legally lovely and criminally hot,” as the product description states. However, the outfit is currently sold out. Yes, actual human people are apparently buying the outfit. One person even raved about how much they loved their Border Babe costume in a review on the website, saying they purchased “for a mexican [sic] themed birthday party.” ...Actual human people.
Fellow humans, it’s really not that hard to wear a Halloween costume that isn’t racist. Basically, if your costume hinges on racial or cultural stereotypes, it’s probably better if you find another costume. If your costume depends on you painting your face to look a different race, maybe your costume isn’t that good to begin. There just simply isn’t a non-offensive way to “playfully” tap into historically painful things like blackface.
“It takes a vast amount of privilege to find humor in a uniform that represents terror and fear for millions of New Yorkers,” Steven Choi, director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said to Gothamist. “We hope people will exercise better judgement and choose not to spend their money at these stores, and that universities will update their Halloween guidance to include the immigrant experience.”
If you’re looking for a unique costume idea, why not dress up in a book-themed costume or perhaps a look inspired by Mercury retrograde. If you’re planning on waiting until the last minute, here are some quick and easy Halloween costume ideas. When it comes to non-offensive Halloween costumes, the Google search is your oyster.