It happens every year. You’ve got an awesome Halloween costume picked out, you’re super excited to impress all your friends, and then suddenly, your newsfeed is shaken by a series of outraged posts about people dressing up in “blackface” for Halloween, and you realize (to your great chagrin) that your costume includes blackface, too. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! You shouldn’t feel bad; it’s really quite difficult to think of a Halloween costume that doesn’t blatantly mock marginalized peoples and trivialize centuries of institutional racism. To help you in your last-minute rush to face these completely unpredictable roadblocks, we’re coming to your aid with nine great ideas for a costume that miraculously manages to be both awesome and racially sensitive.
Ghosts are so scary! Some examples of ghosts are Casper the Ghost. The best part about a ghost costume is that it’s so easy — you just take a white bedsheet, cut some eyeholes in it, and put it over your head. As an added bonus, if you’ve already put blackface on, this costume covers it up in a subtle way! You’ll be the talk of all your Halloween parties, and since ghosts are entirely white from head to toe — in no way attaching an element of whiteness to even the afterlife — you won’t be embroiled in one of those pesky, inevitable race controversies!
Avoid: Dressing as the Grand Wizard of the KKK.
Yo-ho, yo-ho! Pirates are cool and fun, but also a little scary! Rock a tunic with some leggings, a bandana over your head, and a big scary eye-patch! Bonus points if you can manage to find a live parrot and glue it to your shoulder. People will be so impressed with your cutlass, they wouldn’t ever bring up the fact that piracy is still a sad reality to which some of the world’s most destitute Africans must resort, and is almost indisputably a result of the legacy of European rule in sub-Saharan Africa.
Avoid: Dressing like a Somali pirate.
Everyone loves a princess, and everyone will love you if you dress as one! Find a nice ball gown, put your hair up nicely and wear expensive jewelry. Not only will your friends be dazzled by your awesome costume, they’ll be dazzled by your beauty! If I were you, I would dress as Cinderella, Belle or Kate Middleton! All three represent love and acceptance in a racially diverse environment, so no one will ever call you a bigot!
Avoid: Dressing as Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog.”
4. Football Player
Down, set, hike! Football players are cool, hip and likable. All you need is a jersey and some pads! You can even bring a football with you and toss it around with your friends if you get bored at the parties. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about accusations of racism, because in no way does the NFL parallel the institution of slavery in its monetization and manipulation of the African-American body.
Avoid: Dressing as Michael Vick, Ray Lewis or O.J. Simpson.
Cats are adorable, sweet and curious. Who doesn’t want to be that at a Halloween party?! Cat costumes are really simple: just take a little bit of black face paint and smudge it on your nose, then take a little bit more black face paint and put it on your cheeks to resemble whiskers. No blackface accusations this year!
Avoid: Dressing as a Black Panther.
6. Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and this Halloween, you should declare independence from your surprisingly racist tendencies by dressing as our third president. All you need is a powdered wig, a three-cornered hat, a fine velvet jacket, a nice undershirt with a ruffled collar, some white breeches, knee-high socks, brown shoes, a quill and a lambskin scroll. And there you have it! A fun Halloween costume that doesn’t even in the slightest bit raise questions about just how deeply embedded racism is in American culture.
Avoid: Dressing as George Washington — he had slaves!!!
7. Jar Jar Binks
If you’ve seen Star Wars Episodes I-III, you know that Jar Jar Binks is one of the funniest characters in cinematic history! Well then, you’ll be pleased to know that you can order a Jar Jar Binks mask on Amazon.com for a reasonable price. Plus, Jar Jar exists in a totally different universe, so you’d never have to worry about anyone suggesting that his underdeveloped speech patterns and unique verbal cadence are subtly poking fun at Creole culture.
Avoid: Dressing as Lando Calrissian.
8. Michael Jackson
Too soon? Not for the King of Pop! Everyone loves Michael Jackson, and chances are that some of his music will be playing at the parties you attend. What better opportunity to bust out those bumpin’ dance moves you’ve been practicing? Your friends will be too busy watching your incredible Moonwalk to remember that Michael Jackson was once a black icon in America, and that his self-imposed whiteness speaks volumes to the immense racial rift in our country.
Avoid: Dressing as Janet Jackson.
We all grew up with Superman, Spiderman and Batman. Throw on one of their costumes, and that special someone at the party might even fall for you — you’ll be so manly and strong! And since everyone knows and loves these characters, you would never have a friend or acquaintance point out that the exclusive whiteness of superheroes helps to instill a sense of racial superiority in the minds of impressionable white children.
Avoid: Dressing as a black superhero, if you happen to somehow know of one.
With these costumes, you won’t have to deal with any racial controversies like in past years! We hope all of you have an excellent Halloween.