Halloween is one the number one holiday where so, so, somany people get it wrong—especially at work. Which, is a travesty if you really think about it, considering all the possibilities available.
You can dress up as an iconic character from any of your favorite movies (animated or not). There’s the opportunity plenty of scary but not-too-scary looks like a zombie or a ghoul. Indeed, you can even dress up as an inanimate object (an M&M, perhaps? A crayon?) and you’ll be a-OK. Oh, and let’s not forget you can let your creative juices flow and design your own costume, from the understated and pun-y to the ornate, time-period ensemble.
Hell—all else fails—and you can put on a headband with cat ears and call it a day! (If you forget the makeup, say you’re channeling a certain pop star.)
Yet, with all the options available, year after year sees the inevitable roundup of epic Halloween costume fails. It seems there’s at least one costume that prompts enough backlash on social media that companies inevitably backpedal and cry out, “Sorry! We’ll do better next year!” They are those costumes that…you know, are racist, misogynistic or just plain ol’ inappropriate. They make you cringe and think, “what TF were you thinking?”
We trust you, dear reader, are not the type of person to fall into such a trap. But—in case you’re in need of a fresh reminder of what not to wear this Halloween season, we’ve done the hard work for you. Ahead is our roundup of the inappropriate Halloween costumes you should avoid—especially at the office Halloween party.
Halloween costumes that are best left…at the store.
Do we really need to explain this one? The office is not the place to make jokes about the size of your genitalia or anyone else’s…or to try for any costumes that even hint at it. So, avoid the, um, slightly opened banana costume.
Anything screaming “too sexy”
Remember how in Mean Girls, Halloween is “the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it?” We fully embrace your right to express your sexuality however you please—but your office’s Halloween costume contest is probably not the best time for lace, bustiers or garters.
Anything that requires a fat suit
Making fun of someone’s weight? Why—why, why, why?
Anything remotely racist or culturally insensitive
Blackface? We’re NOT even going to entertain the thought that this is a possibility in 2018. Not happening. Oh, and dressing up as an “Indian,” a “gypsy” a “Geisha” or any religious and spiritual person whose culture you don’t belong to…why? Retire these offensive costumes—and try these options instead.
Anything that makes light of mental illness
Say no thanks to the straightjacket costume. Sure, there’s no shortage of horror films that take place in “insane asylums,” but the historical reality of the institutionalization of the mentally ill is…horrific and full of documented cases of abuse. So, don’t further stigmatize mental illness.
Anything overly gory or violent (no knives please)
Think: Do you reallywant to get stopped by security on the way to the company HQ? Leave your highly realistic FX makeup skills for the Haunted House you’ve got planned for later. Don’t dress in something so scary that Sue in HR will flinch at the sight of you. Stick to something…sweeter?
Anything referencing bodily functions
Now, we don’t think that you would ever dress up as a used pad (yes—someone, somewhere has tried it). But—leave any costumes with potty jokes at the store. Your boss will probs be happier that way.
Anything political (no politicians, please)
The office Halloween party is not the time to show up dressed as a politician you hate…Are you really trying to get into policy debates just shy of a midterm election? Didn’t think so.
Anything making fun of deceased or problematic celebs
Look—we all love celebrities. We have our favs, the ones we love to hate and…the ones we can do without. Dressing up as a musical icon? Totally a-OK. Dressing up as a celeb where you have to alter your body shape or change your skin tone…not so much.
If you’re going to dress as a celeb, opt for one who isn’t known for their problematic behavior. If they’ve recently died, do you really need to turn them into a scary zombie? Didn’t think so.
Anything that makes your boss go “hmm…”
Dressing up as your boss, or your coworker? Probably not the best idea. Unless you’re going as Ron Swanson or Leslie Knope. Yes—let’s have all the Parks and Recreation references we can get!
Other than that, let your Halloween spirit loose!