3 costumes kids shouldn’t wear this year

Last year’s Squid Game craze actually feels kind of tame compared to some of these trendy yet highly problematic kids costumes.

Halloween! It’s a time for tricks, treats, and colourful, creative costumes. There are countless traditional costume options for your kids out there—clowns, ghosts, animals, vampires and so many more. But then there are those clever, trending costumes that reference pop-culture moments from the year. Who could forget last year’s explosion in the number of people buying pink and green track suits to dress as characters from the hit Netflix show Squid Game. You might recall that many schools actually banned the costumes due to the show’s graphic, violent themes. And yet, looking back, those getups are actually almost tame in comparison to some of this year’s trending yet problematic options. (At least it was fiction, right?)

Here’s our countdown of the top 3 worst costumes of 2022, for your kids or for you.

3. Queen Elizabeth the Second

Regardless of how much you love or follow the royal family, it’s probably not the best idea to dress your child as the recently deceased Queen. The royal family’s legacy is rife with controversy, so it’s hard to be tasteful when dressing up like anyone from the British Monarchy. What’s more, it’s been less than two months since the death of the world’s longest-reigning monarch, and already the Halloween stores have stocked the shelves with her likeness. In our opinion, it feels too soon.

2. Covid-19

We know that humour is a way to deal with difficult subject matter, especially when Covid-19 has taken over the lives of people around the world for the last two years. That being said, dressing up as Covid-19 is more than just tacky, it’s potentially very hurtful. The pandemic has caused much suffering,  with over 6 million dead due to the virus. Yes, we are in a better place than we have been in the past two years, but that isn’t an excuse to be insensitive to people’s suffering. The pandemic isn’t over, your friends and neighbours are still getting sick, and treating it as a joke isn’t funny.

1. Jeffery Dahmer

This costume should be an obvious no-go, but some people don’t see it that way. After Netflix released the hit series Dahmer, based on the true story of serial killer Jeffery Dahmer, there has been a surprising amount of interest in people dressing up as the convicted serial murderer. It should go without saying that pop culture has a huge influence on what we wear but impersonating a real-life cannibal who took the lives of 17 people, including children, is far more than just tacky, it’s traumatizing.

Families of Dahmer’s victims have spoken out against the Netflix show, saying that it ripped open old wounds, and one of the victim’s moms, Shirley Hughes, said over the weekend that the costumes are evil. “If Netflix hadn’t streamed the show … None of the families would be revictimized … and then there’d be no Dahmer costumes this year,” she told TMZ. When photos of children dressed as the serial killer started floating around, Twitter, Intagram and TikTok blew up with posts by enraged users.

Finally, as always, if you’re not sure whether your kid’s costume is appropriate, here are a few good rules of thumb to follow:

  • Don’t be racist, antisemitic, sexist or transphobic
  • Avoid cultural appropriation (do not dress up as a race outside your own)
  • Do not make light of political leaders or dictators who cause suffering
  • It’s not OK to fat-shame

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