Inappropriate Halloween Costumes 101

It could just be the widespread integration of social media into our society (and people’s stubborn refusal to censor themselves accordingly), but 2013 seems to have been the year of Most Offensive Halloween Costumes Ever. Yes, it was the first time I actually craved (for the sake of others, of course) the safety of pre-packaged nylon Halloween gear, ensuring that, while wholly uncreative and lacking in originality, the world’s idiots were safeguarded from being correctly perceived as insensitive, racist, or just plain stupid.

Before the rise of things like Instagram, the only people who were generally held accountable for their bad taste were celebrities trailed by paparazzi eager to document a lapse in judgment and a fall from grace. (Remember when Prince Harry dressed up as Hitler?) To be sure, Halloween ’13 was not without its celebrity missteps. Actress Julianne Hough got raked through the coals last week for wearing blackface in her charmless impersonation of “Crazy Eyes” from the show Orange is the New Black. Blackface? Really? It’s 2013. I feel like I shouldn’t even be typing “blackface” into my keyboard right now.

By all accounts, this was just old school ignorance. The new school of Totally Offensive Halloween Costumes takes its cues from topical tragedies. While these numbskulls were dutifully applying their gobs of fake blood and airbrushed bruises in the misguided hopes of winning the “Best Costume in Hell” Award, real people were still dealing with the injuries that inspired these outrageously horrible ideas.

Take for instance, Alicia Ann Lynch, a 22-year-old moron from Michigan, dressed up as a Boston Marathon bombing victim and posed for her Instagram account as though she were cheering from the sideline of a football game. Her employers, demonstrating better sense than Lynch has ever likely been capable of, promptly fired her for the faux pas. Elsewhere, a mother (who also subsequently lost her job) posed in between her two sons in their poorly chosen costumes — Trayvon Martin on her right, wearing a black mask (Again with the blackface! Come on!) and George Zimmerman on her left, sporting a neighborhood watch tee. Oh, and let’s not forget the Asiana Airlines pilot costume, sported by not one dumb racist, but three.

Insensitivities this year knew no bounds. It was as though overnight we had forgotten our social graces, our cultural sensitivities, the life-altering transparency of our public Instagram account. I never thought I would long for the innocent days of a bygone era, back when women donned the garb of slutty cops and nurses, and men dressed up like some blonde lady called “Anita Waxin.”

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