If you’re reading this site, you’re presumably wise and not-shitty enough that you don't need to be told to avoid dressing up in culturally appropriative, homophobic, sexist or otherwise distasteful costumes. But with each new year comes a whole new set of news stories and characters rife for parody, and some, inevitably, take things too far. As it’s unlikely this year will be any different from those before it in that regard, we put together a list of costumes to avoid stepping out in, lest you catch yourself in the November 1st rounds of social-media shaming.
With each week feeling like a decade these days, it might come as a shock to learn that Netflix’s smash cult docuseries Wild Wild Country only dropped in March of 2018. The Rajneeshpuram residents' vibrant outfits and zany antics are rife for parody this Halloween, and there surely are tasteful ways of tackling the subject. I only advise you exercise caution and racial sensitivity if deciding to go as the Bhagwan or his right-hand woman Ma Anand Sheela, rather than a generic Rajneesh footsoldier.
I’m not telling you to avoid making light of the Washington Post journalist whom Saudi Royal Family goons apparently tortured, killed and dismembered because I’m a journalist myself and it offends my delicate sensibilities to see a fellow member of the Fourth Estate’s death made into a gag. Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely in bad taste, but more importantly, the concept isn’t good for a cohesive, easily-recognizable costume. What are you going to do, give yourself some Frankenstein monster stitches and hold a bone saw all night, explaining your costume repeatedly to people who will likely scrunch their face in displeasure once they get it?
Beer-Loving SCOTUS Justice
Whether you think Brett Kavanaugh was the victim of a decades-in-the-making smear attack or just some entitled prick who got away sexually assaulting women due to privilege, you’d be wise to avoid poking at that still-unhealed wound with a costume that references it and makes light of rape. At best, you’re alienating half the people you encounter. At worst, you’re going to get someone looking to vent their frustration about a miscarriage of justice on your far more accessible and far less guarded by Supreme Court Police ass.
We’re only a year into the #MeToo movement, and it’s clear that the predatory rot at the core of Hollywood has yet to be fully scraped out. So, with women still fighting for safe work environments in the entertainment (and all other) industries, maybe it’s best to wait a tick to come out on Halloween dressed as one of the most noteworthy predators to be outed by the movement. You saw how well it worked for Louis C.K. when he tried to bulldoze his way back into the standup scene. What makes you think you’ll be any better received?
The manufacturer already pulled this 100-percent-missing-the-point costume, so you’d really have to be going the extra mile to make this outfit happen, but on the off chance you’re still dense enough to think this is a good look: don’t.
Junkie Demi Lovato
You’re almost certainly not as hot as her, so if you go for a costume that’s making fun of the pop singer’s recent struggles with heroin, you’re probably going to come out the other side looking more like you’re conveying America’s opioid epidemic than anything. More importantly, shouldn’t you strive to be funnier than a 4chan edgelord with you costume?
School Shooting Victim
Speaking of edgelords, no matter where you fall on the Second Amendment debate, we can hopefully all agree that making a joke out of slain children for your shitty costume warrants a sock in the lip at the very least.
I’m sure that, in your head, going as a guy in a MAGA hat covered with a bunch of packages addressed to the Obamas, Clintons and CNN sounds like a great and easy last-minute costume. But I just spoke with chief, and he said this ain’t it. You see, on top of making light of domestic terrorism and our slow march to Civil War II, your costume comes at the expense of a mentally challenged homeless man, deplorable as his actions may have been. Comedy should always punch up, and going in on Cesar Sayoc is punching way down.
Far be it for us to tell anyone what their reactions should be to Kanye West’s recent spiral into Trump worship, revisionist history and possible repentance. But as those who’ve reacted the most positively to Ye’s recent turn tend to be of the fairer complexion, it’s probably not the wisest move to go as him this Halloween unless you’re Candace Owens or one of the other handful of black folks who dig his ideas on slavery being a choice. See, the problem is that without going full blackface—something you (and Megyn) shouldn’t need to be told is completely off limits—this costume will simply leave you looking like a run-of-the-mill Trump voter in Yeezy Boosts.