Yes, once again we get to celebrate Halloween. Hang out with family and friends, wear what we want to be for Halloween and much more fun. But before picking out your costume, ask yourself: Is it culturally appropriate? Is it offensive to someone’s culture?
Before talking about cultural appropriation, let’s talk a little about the history of Halloween.
What is cultural appropriation? According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, cultural appropriation is “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture.”
As we can see from the little history of Halloween and the definition of cultural appropriation, there is no excuse to disrespect someone else culture by using a piece from it as a Halloween costume. There are wide varieties of costumes to wear for Halloween such as your favorite superheroes, and cartoon characters to name a few. These are better costumes than wearing, for example, a hijab, traditional Native American garb, a Japanese cultural clothing, a sari, or doing a blackface.
Those are not costumes, they are other people’s culture. They do have meanings in their culture and it is very offensive to see someone take a piece of their culture and do not show respect to it. Because it does not have a meaning to you does not mean it does not mean anything to them. Imagine, if someone took something from your culture that has so much meaning to it, how would you feel? For example, in my culture, a traditional dressing for females has a symbolic meaning; from the headgear to the beads to the wrappers. So it would be offensive if I see someone wearing my traditional clothing as a Halloween costume.
With all of these, it may be had to find a Halloween costume. You can ask questions regarding the clothing or accessories. There are other things you can create like a fictional character or a superhero. It an opportunity to be creative without offending other people. And the history of Halloween does not permit anyone to wear cultural clothing or accessories, and thus shouldn’t be used as costumes.
People from other cultures have feelings too and it hurts them to see someone else use a piece from their culture as a Halloween costume. You do not want to be portrayed as being disrespectful. Enjoy your Halloween, and be respectful.