NPR logo Halloween Costumes For The Politically Incorrect


Halloween Costumes For The Politically Incorrect

Were you ever an Indian for Halloween? Or a geisha girl?

Did it ever occur to you that some may find such costumes racist or offensive? Our Senior Supervising Producer Teshima Walker — an African-American — says her mom once dressed up her and her sister as little pilgrim-settler girls, a la "Little House on the Prairie." She still remembers the looks of shock and skepticism they got from their black neighbors.

On today's show, we talked about offensive costumes with Carmen Van Kerckhove of the blog "Racialicious" (who admitted to once donning a costume she now regrets). Some may dismiss this as political correctness run amok, but Carmen explains the pain some feel is real.

We'd love to hear your costume sagas. Listen to today's conversation, where you can link to Carmen's interview and see photos of some costumes that offend. Then tell us what you've dressed up as but wish you hadn't, what costumes you'd never let your kids wear, OR why you think this is all ridiculous and overblown.

I'll start off and admit that I've repeatedly suggested my 7-year-old dress up as a revolutionary or civil war soldier (his jacket is blue), simply because he's already got the costumes! In the back of my mind I did wonder whether some might find such garb appropriate for the holiday. In any case, he resisted, conned his grandma into getting him one more accessory, and will be hitting the streets as Indiana Jones, with his little brother sidekick, the Lone Ranger.


And here's a photo of them from a past Halloween — please don't tell me there's anything offensive about superheroes!:

Aidan (left) and Alexander, sons of Jennifer Ludden, donned costumes as Captain America and Spiderman for Halloween 2008. Family photo hide caption

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Family photo