Halloween in a Not-So-Post-Racial America: 10 Costumes That Blew Our Minds

The spookiest thing going on this October is that someone thought these get-ups were OK.

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  • 'Ghetto Fab Wig'

    'Ghetto Fab Wig'

    Oh, thank you for calling it fabulous! Since you threw in that compliment, it’s now totally fine to call what appears to be a natural head of curly hair “ghetto.” To the Kohl’s costume buyer who chose this one: Your “Ignorant Awesome” costume is on its way. (To the retailer’s credit, it has now pulled the wig from shelves in response to customer protests.)

    Captions by Jenée Desmond-Harris



  • 'Gangsta Braids'

    'Gangsta Braids'

    Learned from party-store websites this Halloween season: “Gangsters” wear pin-striped suits; “gangstas” have braids. Stereotypes aside, where is all that volume coming from? We’re concerned that this model has been electrocuted.

  • 'Big Kahuna Fat Tribal Tiki Warrior Costume'

    'Big Kahuna Fat Tribal Tiki Warrior Costume'

    What was that? Oh, it was the sound of the Washington Redskins breathing a sigh of relief when they learned that this goofy get-up will outdo them in disrespect for native cultures one day this year.

  • 'Illegal Alien'

    'Illegal Alien'

    It might be too hot in Nevada and Arizona for a rubber mask, but something tells us that won’t stop some people from sweating out the night in this costume (provided they have time after working volunteer border-control shifts or phone-banking for Sharron Angle).

  • 'Adult Beer Belly Men’s White Trash'

    'Adult Beer Belly Men’s White Trash'

    Just in case the “hickey” campaign-ad casting-call blowup isn’t still stinging for West Virginians, we have this. Just in case.

  • 'Super Hoops'

    'Super Hoops'

    Obviously, dressing as a white basketball player just wouldn’t be any fun. Two claps for the decision to choose this unlike-anything-seen-in this-decade monster Afro wig instead of blackface to convey without a doubt that Super Hoops is African American.

  • 'Hey Amigo'

    'Hey Amigo'

    Right, this “Hey Amigo” costume is “hilarious,” like the description says. Because all the Latinos in the U.S. who might use the Spanish word for “friend” totally wear “a sombrero, oversized moustache, poncho and pants,” ride donkeys and will get a big kick out of it. That is, if by “all of” you mean “none of.” 

  • 'Tighty Whitey'

    'Tighty Whitey'

    As if there wasn’t already enough anxiety about the changing nature of white identity in this country, we have the perplexing “Tighty Whitey” outfit (complete with a “jumpsuit that makes it appear you are wearing your pants around your knees”), which may actually get the double-racist award. Even better, it’s for kids. Appreciation for outdated stereotypes and accompanying fashion choices must be instilled early on.

  • 'Chop Suey Specs'

    'Chop Suey Specs'

    Putting aside the fact that this is just plain awful, we’re confused about the food-inspired nomenclature for these eyeglasses. Oh, right — “chop suey” is a synonym for “Asian.” Every bigot knows that.

  • 'Fee Ling Yu Asian Man Halloween Mask'

    'Fee Ling Yu Asian Man Halloween Mask'

    If you’re “fee-ling” the “Fee Ling Yu” mask or the outrageous descriptive paragraph that accompanies it, please check yourself into some sort of racist rehab immediately after trick-or-treating.