Parading Around in Privilege

American Apparel Halloween

Creepy Twins from the American Apparel fall 2015 costume catalog

Halloween is quickly approaching and low-quality polyester costumes are flying off shelves like Tickle Me Elmo on Black Friday. In the year of the Hipster, pricey immaculate store-bought costumes are out and pricey immaculate homemade DIY costumes are in. What is now the new Halloween trend is eerily evolving into an upper-crust high-cost arts and crafts activity.

No longer are moms, kids and college students cutting and pasting felt and foam to make a simple ghoul costume or a Jo-Ann fabrics seductive Vampires. DIY experts are shelling out money on top quality fabrics, accessories and shoes to put together the perfect costume fit for a king.

No, it is not classist to make a costume. But, is it really worth it to spend upwards of $150 to make a costume? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of “do-it-yourself” when doing it yourself should be assumed to be cheap too?

Costumes for $500, Really?

American Apparel, a United States-based retailer, publishes its fall costume guide each year. It’s filled with real gems and wallet-eating asthma-attack inducing price tags. A child-sized Rosie the Riveter is around $215. A spicy mermaid costume will run you $220. They feature a Miami detective costume with a $330 price tag. How about dressing up as a nice cultured City Mouse? That costume is about $500, everything included. The dead schoolgirl is a simple get up but maybe not worth drenching fake blood on $400 worth of nice clothes. Dress your little one up as a skeleton or a frontier boy for around $50.

No, it is not classist to make a costume. But, is it really worth it to spend upwards of $150 to make a costume?

Whatever your costume may be this year, avoid emulating cultures, races, ethnicities and economic classes that invoke painful stereotypes. Cultural appropriation is ill advised.

Live out a fantasy that’s actually a fantasy, because Native Americans, illegal aliens and rednecks are people. It can’t be make believe if your costume is a real living thing.

American Apparel’s homemade costumes are extremely creative and detailed. Its only cultural exploit is the Native American child, but even she unforgivably looks to be of some ethnic descent. Halloween can still be fun without parading around costumes that shout classism, cultural exploitation and privilege.

Happy Halloween!

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