15 Offensive Halloween Costumes You Should Never Wear

If you're the only one in on the joke, then it's probably not very funny.

Halloween is one of the best times of the year. Costumes, candy, carving — what could be better? Given the fun-filled spirit of the season, it's worth ensuring that you and everyone around you has a great time. So, take a second and check out the Halloween costumes you should avoid this year (and every year).

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

1. A Holocaust victim


In the past, celebrities — more than one! — have been called out for dressing up as a Nazi for Halloween. Know what's just as bad? Dressing up as a Holocaust victim. Last year, several retailers came under fire for selling an "Anne Frank" costume for little girls. Many places pulled it off the shelves after customers complained, but other online stores continue to offer it as "World War II Evacuee Girl" or "Child's 1940s Girl Costume." It goes without saying that anyone who went through such a tragedy deserves more respect.

2. Anything involving blackface

Let's be clear: It's not — we repeat, not — okay to dress up in blackface for Halloween (or any other day of the year). It's so easy to dress up as one of your favorite celebrities — no matter their skin color — without being offensive. Let's avoid Julianne Hough's "Crazy Eyes" costume and Luann de Lesseps's Diana Ross costume, okay?

3. Transphobic costumes

Party City

This "tranny granny" costume was pulled from Walmart after facing backlash from consumers who pointed out that it mocks and satirizes transgender women — in addition to using a transphobic slur. But many retailers still carry the costume, crediting it as a Mrs. Doubtfire-inspired look. That sounds like a stretch...

While this one is especially offensive, any costume intended to insult trans people — such as this Caitlyn Jenner costume from a couple years ago — should be avoided.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

4. A refugee

With the refugee crisis frequently in the news, there may be folks who think this is a topical story to take inspiration from, but it's so important to remember that it deeply impacts the lives of millions of people. The same goes for any costumes that reference immigration issues — other people's real struggles are not costume fodder. Period.

5. Body-shaming and objectifying costumes

Trendy Halloween

When it comes to disrespecting women, this costume is a double whammy of awful. It not only reduces women to sex objects, but it makes a woman's weight into a joke. In the age of body positivity, haven't we grown past this? (The answer is yes.)

6. Cultural stereotypes


When someone dresses up as a member of a culture that isn't their own, particularly in an exaggerated or "humorous" way, it can be hurtful to those who do belong. Even if it's a beloved Disney character (hint: Moana). Skip the thick mustache/poncho combo, the Native American headdresses, the kimono, the — well, you get it. If it would make an offensive mascot, it's an offensive costume.

7. A terrorist

Whether it's a member of ISIS or someone who's committed a horrifying mass shooting, we can all agree that it is 100% a bad idea to dress up as a terrorist. While we're at it, let's cross dictators, like Hitler, off the list, too.

8. Zombie versions of recently deceased celebrities

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

We've lost a lot of entertainment icons recently, so it's understandable if you're inspired to pay tribute to them in costume form. Dressing up in their iconic outfits is one thing, but a dead — or undead, a.k.a. zombie — version brings to mind the phrase "too soon."

9. An eating disorder

A few years ago, an online store took the heat for releasing a costume called"Anna Rexia." Yep, we wish we were joking. This costume included a skeleton dress with a measuring tape belt to "cinch the waist." This costume — and many others just like it — trivializes eating disorders ... not to mention it's a terrible pun.

10. Animal cruelty

Costumeish via Mashable

We were hoping to forget the awful dentist who slaughtered Cecil the lion and this terrible costume that was created as a result, but with the recent news that Cecil's son was also killed, we're afraid horrible costume ideas like this will pop up again.

11. O.J. Simpson and Nicole Simpson

Between Simpson's recent parole and the popularity of last year's miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson, it's likely that there will be more than a few people who use it as inspiration for their Halloween costumes. Definetely not the best look.

12. A mentally ill person

Wearing a straightjacket, as well as any other equipment typically associated with the institutionalization of someone with a mental illness, trivializes how devastating these conditions can be.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

13. Sexual harassment

Spirit Halloween

Flasher jokes go back decades, but someone exposing themselves on unwitting viewers is a very real and traumatic form of sexual harassment, which isn't the least bit funny. Especially with the current #MeToo movement, these types of costumes are straight-up insensitive.

14. A homeless person

Adults, teens, and even children dress up as "hobos" every year, but in reality, homelessness is a devastating circumstance that affects millions, including kids. There are so many other (better) costumes you can choose!

15. A national tragedy

Remember those two people who dressed up as the Twin Towers after 9/11?

Yeah, don't do that. Ever.

Watch Next

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
{"uid":4,"hostPeerName":"https://www.goodhousekeeping.com","initialGeometry":"{\"windowCoords_t\":0,\"windowCoords_r\":1280,\"windowCoords_b\":690,\"windowCoords_l\":0,\"frameCoords_t\":702.3330078125,\"frameCoords_r\":1191.5,\"frameCoords_b\":1302.3330078125,\"frameCoords_l\":891.5,\"styleZIndex\":\"auto\",\"allowedExpansion_t\":0,\"allowedExpansion_r\":0,\"allowedExpansion_b\":0,\"allowedExpansion_l\":0,\"xInView\":0,\"yInView\":0}","permissions":"{\"expandByOverlay\":false,\"expandByPush\":false,\"readCookie\":false,\"writeCookie\":false}","metadata":"{\"shared\":{\"sf_ver\":\"1-0-30\",\"ck_on\":1,\"flash_ver\":\"0\"}}","reportCreativeGeometry":false,"isDifferentSourceWindow":false,"goog_safeframe_hlt":{},"inFakeDecryptionExperiment":false}" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" width="300" height="600" data-is-safeframe="true" sandbox="allow-forms allow-pointer-lock allow-popups allow-popups-to-escape-sandbox allow-same-origin allow-scripts allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation" style="border: 0px; vertical-align: bottom;">
Read Next

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below