It’s that time of year again. Cue the frantic scramble of people on the hunt for a Halloween costume that is the perfect combination of current yet witty, and clever without being obscure. A costume that guarantees a conversation wherever you go. Over the years, to ensure such a getup, people have worked to push the boundaries. From bloody cheerleader costumes to illegal immigrants, offensive Halloween costumes have become an annual tradition. This year will be no different.
The 2014 must-have Halloween fashion: Ebola.
Ebola patients, Ebola doctors, Ebola nurses, Ebola zombies, Ebola dogs and then just the good ol’ Ebola containment suit. The costumes can be found alongside selling points such as “sick or treat!” and “hottest costume of the season!”
Beyond the simple fact that this is way too soon, as the virus has not even been contained, the idea of making a mockery of an infectious disease that has killed almost 5,000 people is tasteless and insensitive. This is not something anyone should have fun with.
The costume gives people the ability to remain far removed from the Ebola epidemic and not have to acknowledge the human suffering that is happening. It creates yet another barrier that filters people’s ability to empathize.
Wearing a thoughtless costume doesn’t make anyone a bad person; it just relays the message that they are most likely closed off to understanding how to constructively participate in the issue and how it affects people. Just because something follows a trend doesn’t mean that anyone should perpetuate it.
Some people argue that people shouldn’t be so sensitive. Halloween is just one night and if they are so serious, they don’t understand the meaning of the holiday. But dressing up as a promiscuous Ebola nurse or Ebola containment specialist is about the equivalent of dressing up as cancer. You never know how people feel about any situation, especially one that is rapidly taking lives.
Additionally, cloaking oneself in Ebola, especially in hazmat form, trivializes the work of doctors and nurses. To an extent it devalues the very uniforms that save their lives. Seeing photos of the Ebola crisis and people in containment suits seems like something from a sci-fi movie, so it seems easy to mock it.
However, we should not fall prey to this thinking. Keep in mind all the lives being lost to this killer and work to help the situation.
Rather than anything having to do with Ebola, here are our top three costume suggestions: A Freudian slip, an Obama-Care bear and a candy rapper.