Sips Tea: How To NOT Be Problematic This Halloween

Photo courtesy of Brokelyn

Photo courtesy of Brokelyn

Breaking news: It rained on Monday!

Granted, it wasn’t a downpour or even a storm, but there were clouds and a drizzle, so it counts. It’s always been funny to me that as soon as one drop of rain hits the USC campus, students scatter. There is often a spike in absences that day (myself included). It’s as if most of the local students have never experienced an overcast weather situation before. Throughout my four years here, I guess that mentality has rubbed off on me.

The weather is taking a turn to the colder side right as Halloween is upon us. And with a little over a week until the holiday comes, if you haven’t already thought of a costume to wear, here are some to AVOID and for good reason.


Unless you live in a pineapple under the sea, you already know about the near-death robbery that Kim Kardashian experienced in Paris. The costume comes complete with a fake 4 million-dollar wedding ring, a bathrobe, a long black wig, and various rope and handcuff paraphernalia. I was in shock when I saw this costume was actually for sale —  let alone for nearly $70. Although I have mixed feelings about the entire Kardashian/Jenner squad, one thing that should not be debated is that what happened to this woman is not acceptable, nor is a recreation of her experience in the form of a cheap costume for mockery.


Despite the outrage so many people have expressed toward racist costumes, large companies such as Spirit continue to manufacture them. From “Tribal Trouble Indian” to “Naughty Nun” to “Sexy Chinese Take Out” (These are actual names of costumes, you guys!) — and the list goes on. Culture is not a costume, and the same applies to religion. I can tell you that my house will not be giving out candy to people dressed in any suspect attire. #staywoke


As a woman, these costumes are particularly offensive. We are all too familiar with the sexualization of every single occupation when Halloween rolls around. Whether it’s the scantily-clad nurse, the cop wearing booty shorts, or the teacher who looks like she came straight out of a porn film. While browsing costume sites for inspiration for this article, I even came across a sexualized minion costume! Come on guys…really. SMH. The reason these costumes become offensive are because women already face inequalities in the workplace and in the real world. When so many of these real-world occupations are made into farcical stripper-esque costumes, these inequalities are highlighted even more. And while there are many steps in between, these explicit dress-up outfits don’t help the cause for women to be taken seriously.

Photo courtesy of someecards

Photo courtesy of someecards

Now, I’m not saying participating in the raunchy mess that we call Ho-lloween should be looked down upon, but when real world racial and gender issues are being exploited at $24.99, it becomes almost detrimental to society. So if your friend or even you were planning on wearing any of these costumes this year, I encourage you to start a conversation around the problematic culture of costuming so that ignorance can turn into education.

With so many issues of gender inequality, rape culture, violence, and racism still alive and thriving in our world today, the longer people believe that costumes such as these are “harmless” or “innocent,” the longer people will be ignorant to these truly controversial issues that contribute to society’s messed-up state of mind.

Samantha Johnson is a senior majoring in communication. Her blog column, Sips Tea, runs every Friday.