Each year on Halloween, people (both regular people and celebrities) will go to extra lengths in order to draw a lot of attention on their Halloween Costumes. However, there are some people who go too far and gain tons of backlash due to their Halloween Costumes being tone-deaf, inappropriate, racist, and/or offensive.
Even though some have issued public apologies for their outrageous and controversial Halloween costumes, that doesn’t stop people from attacking and sending them death threats on social media. While I understand why some people want to go all out and have the most creative Halloween costumes possible, it is important for everyone to remember to not pick a costume that’s racist, tone-deaf, and/or will offend people.
Please note, that this article will feature a combination of celebrities and regular people who earned tons of backlash as a result of their poor choices of Halloween Costumes.
Now, with all of that being said, let’s take a look down below and check out the following 15 People Whose Halloween Costumes Sparked A Lot of Outrage:
1. Julianne Hough:
Julianne Hough is an extremely talented singer and dancer. However, she is also among the top of the list of celebrities who sparked tons of outrage with their controversial Halloween costumes. In 2013, she dressed up as Crazy Eyes from Orange is The New Black. However, the part that earned her tons of ire on social media is that Hough (who is white) donned blackface in order to impersonate Crazy Eyes (the character is played by Uzo Aduba, who is African American).
As a result of her use of blackface, Hough issued an apology on Twitter. The moral of the story here is this: If you want to dress up for Halloween as one of your favorite TV/Movie Characters who is not the same ethnicity as you, don’t put any makeup to change the color of your skin. Doing that only invites unnecessary backlash.
2. Gio Pecchio, George Huang, and Sohil Shah:
On Halloween last year, Gio Pecchio, George Huang, and Sohil Shah (all three were college sophomores at the time), sparked tons of outrage among the student body at Rice University (especially from Rice’s Latino community) after the trio attended a Halloween event at Willy’s Pub dressed up as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.
The three friends issued apologies on Twitter and resigned from their leadership positions at McMurtry College due to their insensitive Halloween Costumes. The controversy also resulted in Pecchio, Huang, and Shah having to take part in a public town hall meeting at McMurtry College over their ICE Halloween costumes as well.
The Brazilian defender isn’t the only person featured in this article who caused tons of uproar for dressing up as a Middle Eastern terrorist for Halloween. In 2018, the Bayern Munich legend issued a public apology on Twitter over the costume he wore the club’s Halloween party.
In the screenshot of a tweet from a Bayern Munich fan account below, you can Rafinha wearing traditional Arab clothing and sunglasses, and holding two cardboard boxes labelled “vorsicht,” the German word for “caution.”
4. Two Unnamed Adair County High School Seniors:
Back in 2018, two unnamed female high school seniors from Adair County High School in Kentucky earned a three-day suspension from school after a photo of their Halloween Costumes went viral for the wrong reasons.
What were these two high school seniors’ Halloween costumes? They dressed up as Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, which resulted in 15 deaths (counting Klebold and Harris) and 24 injuries. The father of one of the girls told local news reporters that both girls have received death threats over their insensitive Halloween Costumes.
5. Colton Haynes:
The actor donned not one, but two offensive Halloween Costumes in back-to-back years! In 2011, Haynes dressed up as rapper Kayne West and wore a long, gold chain around his neck and a black sweatsuit, with gold-rimmed sunglasses. So people would know what his costume was, he thought that it would be smart to complete his look by doing blackface. The following year, Haynes once again wore blackface as part of his Mahatma Gandhi Halloween costume.
6. William Filene and Greg Cimeno:
In 2012, the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American man, at the hands of George Zimmerman earned so much media coverage. Zimmerman being acquitted by a grand jury angered many around the nation.
During Halloween 2013, Filene and Cimeno earned so much backlash on social media for racist, offensive, and insensitive Halloween costumes. Many people on social media felt disgusted by the their Halloween costumes. What did they dress up as? Filene as Trayvon Martin and Cimeno as Zimmerman. Filene even donned blackface for his Trayvon Martin costume.
7. Heidi Klum:
As I said earlier, some regular people and celebrities will go to extra lengths in order to receive a lot of attention on their Halloween Costumes. Model Heidi Klum is one celebrity who’s known for going all out on her Halloween Costumes each year. However, she upset Hindus everywhere for dressing as the highly-revered Goddess Kali in 2008.
8. Chris Brown:
A Middle Eastern terrorist is one of the most controversial and offensive Halloween Costumes that’s bound to cause plenty of controversy. Grammy-winning singer Chris Brown’s terrorist Halloween costume caused a huge outrage on Twitter after his outfit looked similar to Osama Bin Laden’s, the man responsible for 9/11, the deadliest terrorist attack in world history.
9. Adrianne Curry:
The first ever winner of America’s Next Top Model stirred up some controversy after making a reference to Amy Winehouse and her drug issues by pretending to shoot up with a fake syringe. Curry’s controversial Halloween costume incident took place in 2009, two years prior to Winehouse’s death due to alcohol poisoning.
10. Kylie Jenner:
Jenner received backlash for captioning a post of her Halloween costume “Eskimo” in 2015. Eskimo is a racial slur for Native American and First Nation people from northern regions. She later changed the caption to “Snow Princess.”
11. Ashley Benson:
In October 2015, Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson caused a major uproar on social media after posting a photo of herself wearing a “sexy Cecil the Lion” costume, captioning the photo with, “”Help! Can’t decide on my Halloween costume this year! What do you guys think of this Cecil the Lion costume?”
With that post, Benson landed herself on the list of celebrities who sparked tons of controversy with their Halloween Costumes. As we all know, Cecil the Lion was beloved lion who was lured out of protected area and killed by Minnesota Dentist Walter Palmer in 2015. As a result of the backlash and negative comments flooding on that Instagram post, the actress issued an apology and changed the caption of the post to “What do you guys think of this lion costume?”
12. Alicia Ann Lynch:
Back in 2013, Alicia Ann Lynch gained internet notoriety due to her posting a photo on her Twitter and Instagram social media accounts of her Halloween costume, which she thought was “cool” and “clever”. Want to know what she dressed up as? A bloody marathon runner from Boston Marathon Bombings, a tragedy that happened six months prior to Halloween 2013.
Her controversial and tone-deaf Halloween Costume resulted in the Michigan native getting fired from her job and received a countless amount of death and rape threats. Nude photos, her Driver’s ID, and her family home address were leaked online. Lynch and her family received hate mail and threatening phone calls as well.
13. Jackson Black:
In 2013, a then 7-year-old Jackson Black made media headlines after he dressed up as a KKK member for Halloween. His mother Jessica notoriously made things worse by defending her decision to allow her son to dress up as a member of the white supremacist group, saying it was a “family tradition”. Jessica even stood up the KKK, declaring that the group had the right idea about interracial and LGBT relationships. The comments even caused a leader of the KKK to come out saying that Jackson’s costume crossed the line and “ruined” the Klan’s reputation.
14. Bill Maher:
Recently deceased celebrities are Halloween Costumes that people should absolutely stay away from! It is insensitive and could offend the surviving family members of the recently deceased celebrities. Bill Maher caused so much ire for his decision to dress up as the late Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin, whose tragic death occurred just almost two months prior to Halloween 2006.
Maher’s Steve Irwin costume even featured a barb of the stingray sticking out of his bloodied chest for Halloween. The comedian notoriously refused to apologize for his offensive Halloween costume, saying: “”You want me to apologize for making a joke? People who really love animals understand if you get killed by one, chances are you were doing something to it you shouldn’t have been.”
15. Zac Ritter’s Parents:
In 2014, A man named Zac Ritter posted a photo on Instagram of his parents wearing what he thought were the “best Halloween Costumes” ever. The post received immense backlash not only because Ritter’s parents donned blackface, but also because they dressed up as former Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice and his wife Janay Rice. The father is seen wearing a Ray Rice football jersey and the mother has a black eye to portray a beaten Janay.
In February of that same year, Ray got into a domestic violence dispute with Janay in an elevator at an Atlantic City Casino. The fight was so physical that Ray knocked Janay out after striking her in the head so hard. After TMZ released the footage of the incident, Ray Rice was released by The Baltimore Ravens (the team he played his entire NFL Career for) and hasn’t been in the NFL since.
In your opinion, which of the Halloween Costumes above was the most offensive? Do you know of any people or celebrities whose Halloween Costumes sparked tons of outrage and backlash? Leave your answers for both questions down in the comments section below!
Featured Image Source: https://www.insider.com/celebrity-halloween-costumes-offensive-2017-10
I am currently a senior at The University of Miami. I will graduate in December 2021 with a major in Journalism and minor in Sports Administration.