by Taylor Godfrey ’19
This week is one of our favorite weeks of the year here at The Cowl. In this issue we have an extra eight spooky, colorful pages in the Halloween insert. Filled with eerie stories and scary poems from our Portfolio section, the Halloween insert epitomizes the fun of the holiday: being creative, trying out other personas, and having fun with friends. However, as much as we love Halloween, we must be wary not to get so caught up in our fun that we are not respectful to other people and other cultures.
Coming up with a costume is debatably the most fun part of Halloween. People dress up as their favorite movie characters, as pop culture icons from the past year, or their favorite actors, artists, and celebrities. Halloween costumes are a great way to express oneself and to be creative, but there must be a line between what is fun and what is offensive.
As silly as it may seem, a Halloween costume is making a statement and we want to make sure the statements we are making are kind and respectful to everyone. Even if a choice of costume for one night does not seem like a big deal, using, for example, a minority culture as a costume objectifies that culture and boils down the entire complex and rich history into an empty stereotype. Moreover, by putting on this persona for one night, it invalidates the struggles and oppressions faced by members of this community. The person wearing the costume takes it off at the end of the night, but those who are of a minority group cannot simply take off a costume and all the struggles and history of their culture.
That is not to say that people cannot or should not dress up and have fun on Halloween. However, we should all think about how our choices of costume affect others. Making respectful judgments in dressing up will make the holiday fun and enjoyable for everyone. Then we can concentrate on what Halloween is really all about: having fun with our friends, buying discounted chocolate come Nov. 1st, and, of course, reading The Cowl’s Halloween insert.