Skip These 3 Political Halloween Costumes This Year

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Halloween is quickly approaching, and if you haven't already come up with a costume yet, you're probably scrambling to think of some creative ideas. As you gear up for this spooky season, you might be tempted to get political, and that's not a bad idea! However, there are some bad politics costumes for Halloween 2019 that you should definitely not do, and I've provided some examples below.

Every year, Halloween inevitably prompts some people to don costumes that are offensive in some way. There are incidents of blackface, costumes mocking different cultures or religions, and ensembles that body-shame others. It's important to avoid all of these insensitive costumes, but they're not the only ones we have to look out for. In light of the current climate, more and more political Halloween costumes have cropped up, and not all of them are great ideas.

When coming up with a politically-themed Halloween costume, it’s important to get creative without making light of humanitarian crises or political figures’ personal lives. In 2017, for example, costumes of Hillary Clinton in an orange jumpsuit were a tasteless choice, as were Anne Frank/Holocaust victim costumes. Take a look below at some of the offensive political costumes out there that you should make sure to avoid this — and every — year.

"Free Melania"
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"Free Melania" has been an unnecessarily popular trope ever since Donald Trump began his campaign for president in 2015. After he was elected, it only got worse. Many Americans were convinced that Melania Trump was not acting of her own accord in supporting her husband's bid for the presidency, and that she was trapped in her marriage. "Free Melania" signs began cropping up at rallies and protests, and even France's first lady, Brigitte Macron, suggested in 2018 that Melania is virtually trapped by restrictions in the White House. Elite Daily previously reached to the White House for comments on Macron's comments, but did not hear back.

Here's the thing: Melania may be the first lady, but she doesn't have an official role with any significant amount of political power or clout. Whether or not she is unhappy in her marriage is none of our business, and mocking women who may or may not be in bad relationships is not a good look. Do you really want to be wandering around town making light of the financial or emotional complications many women face in the event of a difficult marriage? Skip the "Free Melania" costume and go for something more imaginative.

Border Wall Costume
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When Trump launched his presidential bid in 2015, one of his key proposals was a border wall along the United States-Mexico border, and he was convinced that he could get Mexico to pay for it. While as of 2019 it hasn't been built, the wall remains a political talking point and has been the cause of government shutdowns over funding, diplomatic kerfuffles, and a whole lot of ongoing debate. Many see the wall as symbolic of what they view as racist or abusive immigration policies, including immigrant family separations, unsanitary detention conditions, and racist messaging from border patrol officials, making it a really bad choice for a costume. The White House did not immediately respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on suggestions that the Trump administration's approach to immigration policies is racist.

In Nov. 2018, staff members from an Idaho school district drew controversy after donning Halloween costumes depicting Latinx stereotypes and posing behind a mock border wall that read "Make America Great Again." The superintendent of the school district issued an apology after photos of the costumes circulated online, and the 14 staff members who wore the offensive costumes were subsequently placed on paid administrative leave, per the Associated Press.

Refrain from dressing up as the border wall, or as a migrant trying to enter the country. Really, anything that mocks something which affects the safety and livelihoods of others is probably a bad call.

Bernie Sanders' Heart Attack
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Major events in the political sphere may inspire Halloween costumes, but not everything is a costume. On Oct. 1, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was hospitalized after having a heart attack, prompting him to take a brief break from campaigning in the 2020 presidential election. However, Sanders is back on the road again. On Oct. 15, he participated in the fourth Democratic debate, and held a highly-attended rally in Queens alongside New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Oct. 19.

Just to preempt any potentially offensive Halloween costumes here — making light of Sanders' age or heart procedure is not an innovative costume idea. Illness and disease are serious things that affect many people, and if you're looking for a clever costume, this isn't it.

Cultural appropriation, insensitive jokes, and racist tropes frequently come up every year at Halloween, so here's a good rule of thumb: If your costume has the potential to hurt or traumatize someone, then find something else to be. It's a lot less effort to be sensitive than in it is for someone to have to explain why they can't appreciate your costume, after all.