Cultural Appropriation of Halloween Costumes

Where to Draw the Line with Dress Up


Creative Commons: omnivagant

People have deemed it cultural appropriation when someone who is not a Native American dresses up like one.

Cultural appropriation is the inappropriate adoption of customs, practices, or ideas, of society by members of another, typically dominant, society. With Halloween coming up, there is a scramble to find the right costume. Unintentionally, some people are stereotyping other cultures with their costumes.

Gabriela Mider, 9, said, “I think it can be offensive because [people from different cultures] can be depicted in a funny manner and could be offended by the clothing and how they’re [stereotyped].”

Costumes like an Egyptian, Indian, or even some Disney princesses such as Jasmine and Pocahontas are stereotypes of cultures and considered to be cultural appropriation. Many of these cultures find it offensive and disrespectful.

Mider, said, “When it gets to a point where [cultural appropriation happens] often, then it is disrespectful to the culture.”

Recently, there have been disputes on whether parents should allow their children to dress up as Moana from Disney’s movie “Moana.”

According to “Raising Race Conscious Children” Sachi Feris, a Jewish blogger and mother of three, said, “Moana is based on real history and a real group of people… If we are going to dress up [like] a real person, we have to make sure we are doing it in a way that is respectful. Otherwise, it is like we are making fun of someone else’s culture.” Since Moana is based on Polynesian culture, some feel that dressing up as Moana is disrespectful.

Some students feel kids should be informed about cultural appropriation.

Mider said, “I definitely think it should be talked about more, so kids understand that what they see [in movies or on T.V.] is not always true, and it can just be what’s depicted in the movie or shown. In most movies what are usually shown are stereotypes…”

Cultural appropriation is common, but it is usually done unintentionally.

Mider said, “Halloween costumes should be fun, and harmless to everyone.”