Don’t Get Canceled This Halloween: Costumes You Should Stay Away From

These offensive costumes will leave you wondering who would actually decide to wear them out for Halloween. It's a wonder they were even made.


Oct. 25 2021, Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

Offensive Halloween Costumes
Source: istock / distractify

In a way, it feels like the more we progress as a society, the less there is to invent. After all, we have computers so small they fit in our pockets, vacuum cleaners that move themselves, and all the nutrition of a regular meal packed into a beverage — and that's just in America. Don't even get us started on what's available in Japan.

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So, as autumn rolls in and apple-bobbing grown-ups are beginning to think up their Halloween outfits, we've compiled some of the strangest costumes you won't believe were actually invented. They range from trendy to straight-up offensive, with a lot of trashy in the mix

In general, you should avoid these things like the gosh-darned plague. Especially in 2021.

This list will confirm the notion that just because a concept was approved, it doesn't necessarily make the idea behind it a good one. Or at the very least it'll leave you scratching your head, thinking WT actual F?!

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Gender-bending, transphobic, or sexist costumes.

transphobic halloween
Source: Twitter / @___ambn
transphobic sexist halloween costume
Source: Product Page
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Do not touch this subject at all because if you wear a gender-bending costume while you're out getting krunk for All Hallows' Eve, someone is going to think you're making a mockery of issues that are near and dear to them.

Gabby Petito + Brian Laundrie + alligator.

Source: Twitter / @chicago196
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Just don't, please. The strange circumstances surrounding the deaths of the influencer couple, including reports that Laundrie was eaten by alligators and wild pigs, are not a great concept for a Halloween costume. Don't do it.

Holocaust survivor.

Source: Twitter / @schauderhaft
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These costumes have probably all been phased out, but maybe "celebrating" the end of a mass genocide by taking your kid to go door to door for free candy as they dress up like Anne Frank is a bad idea.

Anything Capitol Riots related.

Source: Twitter / graciefabulous
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Sure, you might want to dress up like Mr. Buffalo pelt man, but people were killed during these riots, and politically motivated costumes are always going to grind someone's gears.


sex covid costume
Source: Twitter / SyrupTishus_01
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Source: Twitter / @mariannefavro

Whether you're dressing up as the COVID-19 virus or as an essential healthcare worker administering it, there have been tons of folks, businesses, and communities devastated by the pandemic and governmental responses to it. Maybe go with a pirate instead.

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Except this particular pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow.

captain jack sparrow costume
Source: Instagram / @lilitcosplay

The whole legal debacle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is a topic of hot debate among people. It's probably best to just avoid everyone's expert opinions on the abusive public relationship altogether.

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"Sleepy" Joe Biden costumes.

Source: Twitter / @levy_sir
Source: Twitter / @Haggie24
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Yes, the "Weekend at Biden's" joke has been done before, and even though we're protected through freedom of speech to say whatever you want, maybe we could steer clear of political costumes for just one year.

Ghosted costume.

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Ghosting is a dating trend that's been around for as long as time. As Issa Rae hilariously jokes in the "Wine Down" segment after the Insecure episode "Obsessed-Like," even cavemen were probably ghosting the women they were dating — but the cave-women weren't able to keep tabs on their men through social media.

And Instagram-stalking is why ghosting seems like such a modern phenomenon. So modern in fact, costume companies are trying to capitalize on the trend in time for Halloween.

Party City released this printed shirt-dress as a Women's Ghosted Costume with the following accompanying description: "If someone's blowing up your phone, ghost them in a Ghosted Costume for women! The costume is a hooded white dress designed to look like a ghost with a series of unanswered texts on the front. The texts include '???,' 'R U OK!?,' and more. Eager texters will know not to bother you in this Ghosted Costume!"

Honestly, we feel attacked.

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Any costume in which you have to don blackface, brownface, or yellowface.

It's hard to believe we have to spell this out, especially after we've already published an article on kid's costumes to avoid this year that puts a huge emphasis on why ethnicities are not costumes. Heard of cultural appropriation? It's when you use aspects of certain cultures out of context and without any knowledge of the people's history.

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Kind of like putting on a red and gold patterned shirt, slapping on a mustache, and pretending you're Asian. To be honest, whoever opts for this costume is probably also going to squint their eyes the entire evening so everyone else can guess what they are.

How did this costume (and its name!) ever get approved?

The same goes for dressing up as your favorite public figure who may be of a different ethnicity than you. Again, this may seem like downright common sense, but darkening or lightening up your skin for a costume is a really, really bad idea.

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Sexy Handmaid costume.

sexy handmaiden costume
Source: Yandy

No, you're not reading The Onion. As unfathomable as it may seem, someone invented a sexy version of the modest cloak certain characters wear in the Margaret Atwood-inspired Hulu show The Handmaid's Tale.

In case you're unfamiliar with its premise, most of the show takes place in a dystopian America where fertile women are forced into sexual slavery. Which begs the question: Why in the world was this costume invented?

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And which team approved this copywriter's description: "An upsetting dystopian future has emerged where women no longer have a say. However, we say be bold and speak your mind in this exclusive Brave Red Maiden costume"?

Source: Twitter / @michaelmalice
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Yandy, the makers of this questionable outfit and other outrageous revealing costumes (read on for more), pulled the item off their shelves and issued the following statement on Twitter: "Over the last few hours, it has become obvious that [the costume] is being seen as a symbol of women’s oppression, rather than empowerment. This is unfortunate as it was not our intention on any level. Our initial inspiration to create the piece was through witnessing its use in recent months as a powerful protest image. Given the sincere, heartfelt response, supported by numerous personal stories we’ve received, we are removing the costume from our site.”


Sexy burka costume.

sexy burka costume
Source: Amazon
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It's not like they get a pass, but when no-name brands come up with insanely offensive costumes for the sake of publicity, we can kind of wrap our heads around it. When Amazon does it, it's truly mind-boggling.

This sexy burka costume, featuring a plunging neckline and super-short skirt, was modeled by a white woman, and the internet was absolutely not here for any of it. Amazon received massive backlash after people called the costume racist and disgusting, with others saying it was an affront and mockery of their religion.

The company heard the criticism loud and clear and quickly removed the costume. However, a similar outfit featuring a white model, who looks like he applied some darkening product to his skin, is still available on their website.

What the actual what? We'd caution you to stay away.

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Native American hottie costume.

native american hottie costume
Source: Yandy

Yandy again, surprised? With a quick gloss of their website, you could definitely get to this costume yourself. This is the brand that made sexy Harry Potter costumes a thing, after all.

And because costumes trivializing Native Americans have been around for a long time, you may not think twice when you see this one. But we're asking you to reconsider. Please.

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These "hot" Native American costumes, whether they feature a flashy headdress and bandeau or are marketed as "Pocahottie," should 100 percent definitely be stayed away from this (and every) Halloween. It's grossly disrespectful to prey on a real culture, especially one that is so marginalized by our society. And to trivialize, sexualize and ultimately monetize them for a company's bottom line is absolutely horrifying.

Source: Twitter / @DailyMailCeleb
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Not to mention, as this person did on Twitter, "the rate of violence against native women is more than 10 times the national average yet your company feels it is in their best interest to sell hypersexualized 'Indian' costumes. If you care about women, real ones not just fictional, then remove those costumes too."

Or at least, definitely don't buy them.

Rolling any type of social justice movement into your Halloween celebrations.

Source: Twitter / @willowhalliwell
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If you've got a socially conscious statement to make, or maybe you want to "dress up" as a protester of a specific group, just know you're going to be kicking a hornet's nest if you do. Many folks would perceive your costume as a mockery of their personal convictions, so just go dressed up as something innocuous, like a pair of pants.

Ugly Halloween sweaters.

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If you've decided to stay away from all the highly problematic costumes this year, we applaud you. But we're here to bring you another questionable choice in Halloween trends this year — the ugly Halloween sweater costume.

Sure, it might seem comfy and warm, and those are hard-to-find qualities in any disguise. However, this costume has us scratching our heads as to how it even got made. Were ugly Christmas sweaters doing so well that they had to bring the outfit to another holiday?

Eww. While this might not be explicitly problematic, the fashion police says you're better off staying away.

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