Halloween Costumes

2019’s Most Popular Halloween Costumes

Halloween week is finally here! If you’re like most working American’s who are excited to go out on the town this weekend, but barely have enough time to cook themselves dinner, you probably still haven’t even decided what you’re going to go as yet. You’re definitely not alone, and luckily, the internet is the best resource for creative, popular, and cheap costume ideas for the last minute shopper. Spirit Halloween, one of the nations top Halloween costume/decoration distributors, has released an article with 2019’s most popular costume ideas. The list is filled with recognizable characters, and even though Spirit released the list, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to spend $50+ at one of their stores to make any of these costumes work. 

In 2018, with Marvel Movies being at the peak of their mainstream success, superhero costumes took the spot as number one, however, this year it seems as though video game characters are taking the stand. Specifically, Spirit reported that Fortnite themed costumes and accessories were the most searched for and purchased items from their stores. In addition, characters and accessories from games like Minecraft, Assassin’s Creed, Overwatch, and Halo were just as popular, making video game characters the number 1 costume for 2019. Luckily, for the last minute shopper, if this sounds like the trend you want to hop on, video game characters don’t need to be as detailed and accessorized as they are in the games in order to be recognizable. Making accessories like swords, shields, crowns/headgear, can all be DIY’d using supplies from Michaels. Just look up whatever character you want to be on YouTube followed by “cheap costume DIY,” and the results should come pouring out. 

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Iconic TV characters take the next spot on the list, however, more specifically characters from Stranger Things. Becoming a character from the hugely popular Netflix original is easy, even if you can’t get the exact outfits worn by your favorite character. Go to your local thrift store, or any relative’s house who was alive during the 80’s, and look for something that exudes that decades energy. Fun colorful patterns, anything corduroy, scrunchies, high tops, etc. are all pieces that can be brought together to make an iconic Eleven look from season 3, just put some fake blood under your nose and boom! You’re ready to go as your favorite 1980’s telepathic superkid. 

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TV characters in general go along with the Stranger Things Cast on the list. Throw on a yellow button up, cheap striped tie, circle frame wire glasses and you’re Dwight Schrute from The Office. Spirit reported that either Jim or Dwight costumes from The Office are always one of the most searched costumes. However, it’s easy enough to DIY it, along with a myriad of other of your favorite television show characters. More times than not, the character you want to be has one particular aspect of their whole characterization that’s needed to make a costume work, and everything else is just added. For instance, Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation; make a Knope 2020 sticker. Thrift a doctor’s coat and wear some old pajamas as scrubs and you’re literally any character from Grey’s Anatomy. Put on your favorite colorful windbreaker and your Zac Morris from Saved By The Bell. It doesn’t take much to still be able to participate in the festivities after procrastinating until the last minute with no budget. 

Next on Spirit’s list is classic Halloween Icons. As in Pennywise from It, Jason from Friday the 13th, Chucky, Freddy Krugar, or Scream, more specifically the costume from Scream, since the killer has changed every movie. A lot of individuals miss the actual scare factor of Halloween. As the years have gone on and the holiday has become more and more commercialized, it’s become a lot more fluffy, so let’s bring back that grotesque gore that kept us all up at night after watching Psycho even though our parents told us not to. A lot of these icons characterizations can be made clear using drugstore costume makeup. Pennywise only really requires white and red face paint. Chucky needs a few scars and some overalls, and Jason just needs a hockey mask and fake machete (but people will also get it without the machete). Again, utilize YouTube and Pinterest for easy DIY ways to pull of these looks. While you may only have a few days left, there’s still plenty of time to scramble and become something notable and cool for Halloween, and keep it cheap.

Halloween Costume

Someone’s Culture Is Not Your Costume; Avoid Appropriation This Halloween

Cultural Appropriation; it’s a term that has recently emerged in the 2010’s, but has been an issue for much longer. The Dictionary defines cultural appropriation as “inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.” For example, when Kim Kardashian West put ‘box braids’ in her hair, a hairstyle created and used within black culture, she was called out for appropriating black culture. Another example would be Katy Perry dressing up as Cleopatra, an iconic Egyption ruler, for her music video for Dark Horse. The reason the appropriation of culture is so problematic is because it’s often done by white individuals. Meaning they’re simply “putting on” an aspect of a minority culture as an accessory. Often, white individuals are praised for their “creativity” and “exotic” looks, but more often than not, appropriation is viewed as just as offensive as something like black face makeup. 

The biggest example of cultural appropriation that many of us can relate to, because we’ve most likely all seen it or maybe even done it ourselves, is during Halloween. To this day, people still dress up as Native Americans, Japanese Geisha’s, Buddhist Monks, Stereotypical representations of Mexicans wearing sombreros, etc. Halloween has falsely given people the “permission” to wear other cultures as a costume for the night and return to their normal privileged life the next day. 

“Adopting a culture as a costume exemplifies the narrative that white people should educate and civilize foreigners. Costumes that impersonate another race show that anything that differs from that norm is immediately somehow other and worthy of ogling, attracting and fascination. This racist narrative establishes white as the frame of reference for what is normal and what is not normal,” said Yasmin Underwood in her Op-Ed ‘Asian Culture Is Not A Halloween Costume.’

The actual real life harm of wearing someone else’s everyday life as a costume is demeaning and frankly just makes individuals look racist. It’s 2019, social media has made us all more well aware of what practices are deemed as offensive vs. politically correct. However, with our current political climate, and our country in one of the most public divides in years, cultural appropriation and racist offensive behaviour is just as much of an issue now as it was decades ago, it’s just taken a much different, seemingly harmless form. 

Appreciation vs. appropriation has also confused many on what’s considered offensive and what isn’t. For instance, dressing up as the Disney Princess Mulan is seen as more appreciative due to the face that you’re dressing up as an actual fictional character, versus the stereotypical image of a culture, according to Underwood. If you were to dress up in stereotypical Chinese makeup and fashion in an attempt to look like you’re a member of that race when you’re not in fact Chinese, is appropriation, and racist. 

It’s a tricky grey area, dressing up as a character whose identity if prominent due to their race, versus dressing up as an actual culture.  Always ease on the side of caution, Underwood says that if you are going to go to a costume party as Mulan, Princess Tiana, Moana, etc. “distinction should be made between the character and general culture. Culture is a space that many people inhabit every day and cannot and should not fall under fantasy.” A character, on the other hand, does fall under fantasy, as long as you’re not going out of your way to accentuate stereotypes of that characters race, and instead just tastefully dressed up in an outfit that that character is known to wear in the movie, you’re most likely okay. 

At the end of the day, none of us can speak for any member of a particular culture/race/ethnicity, unless we are a member of that group ourselves. It’s about creating a dialogue and space for understanding over why something can be deemed as offensive and understanding everyone’s perspective. With the internet being as powerful as it is today, and with new articles being posted everyday titled “Easy and Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas!” it shouldn’t be difficult for anyone to find a tasteful costume that doesn’t appropriate or offend anyone. Worst case, just be a cat, that’s classic.