Halloween should be a day of celebration, but unfortunately, people seem to be aggravated when they see their culture caricatured and turned into a costume. Many Halloween or Carnival costumes have been banned for being insensitive, sexist or racist. In fact, it is a two-sided issue with people in favor and against the banishment of these costumes. On the one hand, appropriating a character from another culture can be perceived as disrespectful, but it can also be seen as a sign of cultural appreciation and interest. Clearly, these costumes have become politically loaded, which makes it more difficult for people to pick an appropriate one. The question arises whether costumes are really offensive and insensitive, or whether people are just becoming oversensitive. (Monteiro, 2018) (Narain, 2018)
For many people, Halloween or Carnival costumes are a sign of interest and a way of expressing themselves to others. Costumes provide the opportunity to acquire and spread knowledge about other cultures, current events etc. If children are dressed up as different characters, they can learn about each other and other cultures outside the school setting. Costumes, such as ‘The Wall’ of Donald Trump, encourage people to talk about current events, politics and their own opinions. In other words, costumes are not only a way to create an identity and opinions, they allow people to express themselves. On Halloween, people should be able to dress up as a character or a celebrity they find admirable and exciting. Costumes are aiming for freedom of expression and aren’t intended to be offensive to others. (Narain, 2018)
A life without humor would be very boring, but more importantly, it would be less healthy. That is because humor contributes to people’s psychological and physical well-being. Namely, it reduces stress, it helps people to build relationships and it helps to appreciate life more. Halloween and Carnival costumes are a form of humor, that aren’t intended to hurt others, although they are often seen as inappropriate. Many jokes can be perceived as offensive or sarcastic, while they mostly have opposite intentions. For example, William Boeva, a famous Belgian dwarf, is making fun of his size to make light of the situation. Undoubtedly, it is better not to look for the bad in humor, such as costumes, but to enjoy a good laugh. (McGraw, 2011)
Halloween or Carnival costumes shouldn’t be banned because they provide the opportunity to honor and acquire knowledge about other cultures, to establish a strong identity and to mitigate problems. Unfortunately, many people will still feel offended by this form of humor and call for the banishment of these costumes. It is probably a never-ending story because all of these costumes can be offensive in a way and can therefore be banned. Halloween and Carnival are great traditions that need to be honored. Everyone should see these costumes as a sign of interest and happiness, rather than offensive and insensitive.