10 Inexplicable and Possibly Offensive Halloween Costumes You Can Buy (But I Don't Recommend It)

All year long I look forward to October because it is the one month where I get to wet-blanket all over everyone’s good time with my annoying cultural analysis.
Publish date:
October 1, 2012
racism, wtf, halloween, costumes, sexy costumes

Guys, I really love Halloween. I blame my oft-referenced goth past; I love an excuse to decorate my house like Disney’s Haunted Mansion and not have people think I’m weird for doing so.

That said, I’m not really a costume person. Oh, I’ve dressed up many times as an adult -- and I have threatened for two years now to get a blond wig and pretend to be Pam from “Archer,” as I already own the requisite dolphin hand puppet -- but I’m not a person particularly driven to come up with amazing costumes of my own, preferring instead to spend my energy appreciating -- or judging -- the efforts of others.

Unfortunately, for all its good fun, Halloween is also a holiday that sees a lot of truly grotesque and offensive costumes, and a night when racism and sexism, casual and otherwise, often get a free pass in the name of “humor.” Seriously, all year long I look forward to October because it is the one month where I get to wet-blanket all over everyone’s good time with my annoying cultural analysis nigh-continuously for WEEKS until the holiday passes.

To start our annual overthinking-it Halloween discussion, and to get everyone warmed up to yell at me a lot, I’d like to run through the 10 most bizarre mass-produced costumes I’ve run across so far in my early research into Halloween offensiveness.

1. Sexy Pony

I’m not knee-jerkily against “sexy” costumes, to be clear. I think people should dress up and enjoy themselves, so long as they’re not, like, exploiting cultural prejudices or whatever. This sexy pony costume really only exploits many adults’ fixation with “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” and as a person who has occasionally expressed the desire to become a pony, I can sort of get the sexy-pony interest.

That said, something about this costume is weirding me out. Maybe it’s the late-90s raver legwarmers. Maybe it’s the candid association of sex with a cartoon that is decidedly child-friendly. While I’m sure pony porn exists, I get terribly frowny if I think about that too long. I don’t want my ponies to be fuckable, guys. I’m perfectly happy for them to eat apples and romp in meadows and stuff.

2. Sexy Crayon

Several people have sent me this one, even after I initially found it for myself, probably because it’s such a perfect example of the “WTF HALLOWEEN” genre of costuming. A tank dress and a phallic hat: BAM, you’re a sexy crayon. Finally, people who have suffered under the terrible social stigma of crayon attraction can live out their fantasies in public. Thank you, Halloween.

3. Sexy Transformer

You just know noted feminist Michael Bay is personally behind this somehow. The copy for the sexy Bumblebee costumes reads, “Be a busy Bumblebee -- did you know Bumblebee is highly agile, warm-hearted and human-friendly?” Also, he gets sixteen miles to the gallon and can crush a human head like a blueberry. AND NOW HE HAS TITS TOO! Thank you, Michael Bay.

4. Sexy Slave Leia

The “sexy” qualifier is totally necessary here because the normal slave Leia outfit is decidedly not sexy, as it doesn’t come with what must have been a freaking huge bottle of bronzing body grease.

Indeed, isn't "Sexy Slave Leia" redundant? There ought to be an explicitly not-sexy Slave Leia, where she’s wearing a sweatshirt and yoga pants. I would wear that costume. Better yet, where is the “sexy” Jabba the Hutt costume? We can have sexy crayons, but Jabba can’t get into a bikini?

5. Jamaican Bobsled Team Member

The item description encourages those who are interested in this costume to “Add our Rasta hat with dreadlocks accessory for a complete look!” I’m here to dissuade you from that suggestion, categorically. Do NOT add a Rasta hat with attached fake dreadlocks for a complete look. Unless, perhaps, you are already Jamaican, there is no way you can do this without coming across as a tool.

Actually, if you’re white, it’s probably best to avoid wearing any hat, wig or other headgear that is designed to mimic black hair. You will look like a douchebag. Yes really, even if your friends are telling you it’s fine -- they’re probably secretly thinking you’re a douchebag, at least a little.

6. Legit Rapper

For the dude with such abysmal brain function that the idea does not occur that one could emulate a “rapper” outfit (or really, an Ali G costume, which is what I suspect this is supposed to be) by simply purchasing an actual tracksuit, we have this “Legit Rapper Costume.” Because buying a REAL tracksuit is only for drug dealers and the Jersey mafia and would be totally embarrassing.

7. Leopard Rap Star

Honestly, I had no idea leopards could flow.

8. Extreme Boobs

I’m only including this one because somebody probably has sex with the guy who thinks this is a funny costume and that just amazes me.

9. Sexy Bodybag

I’ve tried to imagine the meeting where this costume got pitched and approved. Was it decided that the company had not done enough to appeal to the market of individuals interested in Halloween costumes that specifically evoke sexualized violence against women?

And if this was approved, then what the hell was on the rejection list? A battered housewife costume? A post-beating Rihanna costume? A dismembered sex worker costume?

I know, I know, I need to have more of a sense of humor about the unfathomably high rates of assault and murder against women by men they know. I’m no fun at ALL.

10. Tween Goldilocks

I’ve been looking at so many costumes, I can’t tell if this is creepy or not. I’m pretty sure it is. Given the reviews from moms who have bought this for their 10-, 11- and 12-year-old daughters, I’m almost positive. I wouldn’t have thought it possible for one costume to be both so infantilizing and so sexualizing at the same time, but here we are.

Did I miss a random/offensive/bizarre costume above? Probably. I’m only in the early stages of researching this year’s Halloween fuckery. That’s why I’m counting on you all to tell me about it. Also that this year I could just go as a snarky lady with a stick up her ass. I already have the components for that costume at the ready, it would seem.