Halloween is supposed to be easy to love. After all, it's the only holiday in which your sole obligation is to have fun, help others have fun, or, if you're a total grouch, just stay home with the doorbell muted. We get to dress up -- or dress our kids, pets and houses up -- using our creativity and costume-design skills to scare, amuse and impress others.
At least that's what Halloween is supposed to be. In recent years, however, the basic tenets of the holiday seem to have given rise to idiocy and excess, sometimes very real and sometimes mistakenly perceived. Perhaps most visibly, social media has provided a platform to the people who think the "too-soon" costumes are edgy, and the "not-in-a-million-years" ones are downright hilarious. But it's not just the costumes. For some reason, around Oct. 31, people have a strange tendency to take everything too far. The outrage machine then gets cranked up and Halloween ends up being a sad reminder of why we can't have nice things.
So, to the people and things below, screw you, you're ruining this great holiday for everyone else.
On Halloween, some people think it's totally okay to dress up as a domestic abuser!
The Ray Rice scandal sent shockwaves through the nation earlier this year, when surveillance video leaked to TMZ showed the NFL star knocking his then-fiancee, now-wife unconscious in a hotel elevator. After a serious nationwide discussion on domestic violence, people
vowed to treat the issue with respect thought it would make a super funny costume, apparently. As if making a joke about domestic violence wasn't bad enough, a few decided to top it all off with a little blackface:
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) October 26, 2014
Seriously. This is a couple's costume ...
If you missed this amazing racism and pro-DV bs posted to Instagram by @RitterZac (account now locked) pic.twitter.com/7ULCxhVfVC
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) October 26, 2014
Blackface is horrible and offensive. But, for some reason, the issue seems to pop up every Halloween. Someone else's race or culture shouldn't be a costume, period. There are plenty of awesome things you can dress up as without deliberately trying to inflame racial tensions or offend people. You know it's going to piss someone off either in person, or on the Internet (when it inevitably ends up there).
This, too, is poor form:
— Ismat Sarah Mangla (@ismat) October 28, 2014
Meanwhile, others aren't sure if it's Ebola, or EbLOLa.
Here's another horrible costume idea based on a tragic story that’s dominated news headlines in 2014 -- Sexy Ebola Nurse. If "Modest Ebola Nurse" wasn't bad enough, for $59.99, costume shop BrandsOnSale will mail you a tight "lab coat" dress, gloves and a mask to anyone insensitive enough to poke fun at a deadly viral outbreak that has claimed nearly 5,000 lives.
Will people actually wear it? Probably, says ABC News.
And hapless infants are fair territory in this tasteless game of dress-up.
People are now getting their kids involved in their dumb Halloween costume adventures, too. Controversial getups like Baby Cigarette and Baby Pimp are big sellers on BrandsOnSale, owner Jonathan Weeks told CBS Los Angeles. "Halloween is one day out of the year you can dress up and be anything," Weeks said. But just because you can, doesn't mean you need to. Especially when your kids can’t yet tell you what an idiot you are.
When you buy a costume for your baby that proves you weren't ready to be a parent pic.twitter.com/JKO183bWBW
— Yassir Lester (@Yassir_Lester) October 23, 2014
And it wouldn't be Halloween without some serious body-shaming.
Halloween's great (when people aren't trying to ruin it), but it's not exactly known for its kindness to women. People just love making fun of "slutty" costumes, and everyone has an opinion on whether anyone should wear them. Is a sexy witch costume degrading? Is it fun and empowering? Should we even care how people dress? Navigating this holiday as a girl is already full of body-image land mines, but this week, Walmart took things to a whole new level with a "Fat Girl Costumes" section of its website. There, visitors found a selection of plus-sized costumes.
A screenshot from Walmart.com taken on October 27.
A presumed mistake by the site's developers (the section was removed within a few hours) forced the retail giant's PR team into overdrive, issuing semi-robotic apologies via Twitter. Really, Walmart? Even you should be above this.
And it's cool to poke fun at a neighbor's dead relative this time of year, too, right?
Continuing the theme of poor judgment, a Dallas man recently decorated the outside of his home as an Ebola quarantine zone. Hazmat barrels and caution tape surround the residence, which has understandably raised a few neighbors' eyebrows and garnered criticism from the family of Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola at a Dallas hospital. While the homeowner characterized the display as "all in good fun," Duncan's family called it "insulting."
Well, at least these lawn decorations are there for the taking.
Halloween Grinches descend on tacky home decor every year, but we can only imagine what they plan to do with a massive inflatable haunted train. Seriously, where is someone going to put a "spooky monster butler"? Or an inflatable witch head that belonged to a 5-year-old? Probably the only thing worse than showing off a ghost riding a motorcycle in your front yard is being that asshole who steals it.
Deep. Fried. Candy. Corn.
Halloween candy sales are expected to top $2.5 billion in 2014, and depending on whom you ask, candy corn is either the best or the worst treat for the holiday. Seeing as how this is America, it was apparently only a matter of time until someone decided that deep-frying this polarizing confection would be a good idea.
Gross. Do not make these.
Halloween is a time for every kid's favorite thing:
candy being lectured ...
No one likes people who use Halloween handouts to promote their own agenda. Sure, that goes for dentists who give out floss or toothbrushes, but ESPECIALLY for anti-vaccine advocates who've taken to labeling innocent candy bars with misinformation on vaccines. The National Vaccine Information Center, an anti-vaccine organization, is encouraging people to print their own labels at home, the blog Respectful Insolence first reported. As a reminder, all but a lonely few scientists and medical experts disagree with the suggestion vaccines may be harmful.
Speaking of propaganda: Religious pamphlets remain the #1 worst thing to give out on Halloween. Even little kids know it.
Chick Publications, purveyor of some controversial evangelical tracts, has a ton of miniature comic books available for purchase on its website with Halloween-themed messages. One shows a young boy getting fatally hit by a car while trick-or-treating, and another tells the tale of a group of high schoolers who summon the devil by sacrificing a black cat on an altar. What Halloween fun! Yeah, no one likes creepy religious pamphlets.
When parents face their worst fear: monsters trying to get their babies high on the pot.
Fear mongering isn't just for anti-vaxxers. Marijuana is now legal in Colorado, and parents in the Centennial State are reportedly worried that some evil person might slip a pot candy in their trick-or-treater's goody bag. The Denver Police Department heard the concern loud and clear, responding with a campaign full of scary graphics proving that marijuana-infused candy looks pretty similar to regular candy.
Of course, it's unclear why anybody would waste a significant amount of money -- a couple of dollars per candy, if not more -- just to try to get kids high, which would likely be terrifying and unpleasant, though not life-threatening. There's no real precedent for it.
The simple solution, as with previous unfounded scares about poisoned, razor blade-laden candy, is for parents to throw out any candy that isn't in its original packaging and, if you're really paranoid, to make sure that there aren't any misleadingly labeled pot candies in your kid's trick-or-treat bag. That, or splurge on this marijuana candy test kit made specifically for Halloween.
Honestly, there's too much outrage to keep track of. Let's just get offended by everything.
There will be plenty of actual things to be outraged about this Halloween -- let's not invent additional ones.
In New Jersey, a woman came under fire for having Halloween decorations that some neighbors say went too far. The display featured baby dolls hanging from ropes, which could be "frightening to children," one neighborhood parent said. Somehow, the controversy ended up as a local news story, leading the homeowner to say she wouldn't take down her decorations until after Halloween. In Minneapolis, a similar story emerged, but with a yard full of scary zombies.
And in North Carolina, a billboard for a local haunted woods attraction was called too "disturbing" because it featured a picture of undead woman with half of a face. “I don’t want to see violence against women so for me that was something that stood out,” a local mother told WGNO. “Why is it just a female face and why does it look like someone has beaten her?”
Obviously, violence against women is not something to take lightly, as we went over with the Ray Rice-costumed idiots above. But that's really not the issue here. Halloween is supposed to be spooky. And fun! Let's keep it that way.