With so many terrifying spectres already becoming corporeal in 2021, for Halloween this year we would like to remind you that offensive outfits are not needed. We’ve pulled together some important dos and don’ts to help guide you in your quest for the perfect outfit.
No to blackface, no to brownface
Very simple: this is never okay.
No to cultural appropriation
As reliably as a bunch of private schoolboys on a Contiki tour doing a drunken haka, like clockwork, cultural appropriation appears every Halloween. We’d really like to exorcise this gross little bit of racist role-play from the spooky season.
Here’s an easy way to check if your outfit passes muster: not your culture, not your costume. Don’t let your head be turned by the array of costumes out there; unless you are a follower of Rastafari, that sexy Rastafarian costume is not the one for you.
‘Sexy’ is not a costume
By all means, embrace your sexuality if that’s your vibe. But sexy pizza, sexy moa or sexy criminal feels a little lazy…
No to anything COVID-related
Can we just have one night off? Please.
No to anything just plain mean
Is your costume making fun of a vulnerable group? Then it’s a no from us. Anything that could be construed as transphobic, fat phobic, making fun of homelessness or mental illness, or Holocaust related can get in the bin. Same with any recently-dead zombified celebrities.
Leave your pets alone
Dogs and cats don’t like costumes. It’s called science, look it up. If you absolutely must dress up your furry friends, do it as quickly as possible, snap a pic for the ‘gram and then set them free.
Remember all the ‘Earth is healing; we are the virus’ memes over lockdown 2020? And remember all the crafty shit you got up to? Now tap into both those things with a sprinkling of the ‘support local’ vibe which is also so hot right now (and we hope continues post lockdown). What’s not hot is metres of sweaty PVC or BO-bathed polyester going straight to landfill on November 1.
Instead, hit up the opshops, get crafty with your existing wardrobe or look at costume hire companies. Ask friends and family too: once you’ve got a killer idea in mind, you’d be surprised at how much of a costume can be begged or borrowed off people you know.
Repeats are fine
If you have a costume you’ve worn before and loved, there’s no shame in trotting it out again! Your friends will understand if they’ve seen it before, and if they don’t, well, they sound like dicks and you should probably get some new friends. And a great costume you are already comfortable in is a perfect icebreaker to meet new people at parties.
There’s nothing wrong with a timeless Charlie Chaplin or Marilyn Monroe outfit, or even a good old sheet over the head. They’re classic for a reason!
Portmanteau costumes are the tits. See: French Kiss (KISS make-up paired with beret and baguette), Snow White Walkers, Pumpkin Spice Girl, a Cereal Killer … you get the idea.
Despite everything, there has been lots of pop culture this year that has brought us joy. Don’t be scared to embrace some of the good things the internet has gifted us. Think Squid Games memes, or pay tribute to whatever it was that got you through lockdown.
Still need inspiration? A few 2021 costume ideas for your consideration (that aren't Squid Games inspired)...
Kourtney and Travis' pop punk couple dressing
Megan Fox and MGK's GQ shoot
Weekend Ashley Bloomfield in jeans
Olivia Rodrigo on her Sour album cover with face stickers
Taika Waititi's Thom Browne suit at the Eternals premiere
Literally any character from The White Lotus: Armond (Hawaiian shirt), Olivia and Paula (disdainful looks; pretentious books), Shane (chinos, a tight button up, privileged rage)
Any Lil NasX moment of 2021
Kate Winslet in Mare of Easttown
A free Britney
Bernie and his mittens or Lady Gaga and her bird or Ella Emhoff and that coat at the inauguration which was, mind-glowingly, this year...
A$AP in his Met Gala quilt
Lady Gaga and Adam Driver in House of Gucci trailer
The boat that got stuck in the Suez canal
The lawyer that got stuck in a cat filter on Zoom