The Galleon - Portsmouth's Student Newspaper



Celebrity Halloween – Shock Horror or Shock Value?

From accusations of indecency to outright racism, Halloween costumes have the polarising ability to amaze and shock. This is especially prolific in the celeb world right now, with the most recent scandal being the ‘Kim Kardashian Robbery Costume’. It would seem that Halloween has started to create more problems than a stomped-upon witches hat.


Kim Kardashian’s recent captivity and robbery has already been prayed upon by the ever fickle, never funny makers of the big Halloween costumes. This isn’t, by any means, the first costume to offensively mock a celeb icon.

Costumes have arisen over the years based upon the likes of Kim Kardashian, Caitlyn Jenner and Steve Irwin. It’s difficult to decide which is the worst. It appears that the trend of mocking the genuine hardships of celebrity figures is not disappearing, either. With the Kardashian costume consisting of a bath robe, a rope, and a gag built on Kim Kardashian’s recent robbery at gunpoint in Paris only weeks ago, the turn around was fairly rapid. It’s hard to tell when the trend began and even more difficult to guess when it will end, too.

In 2006, just months after his death, a Steve Irwin costume was first worn, shocking anybody whose gaze fell upon it. The blood-spattered khaki, complete with decapitated stingray barb, became a Halloween staple for many years after the untimely death of Irwin. Ten years on, this trend of offensive celebrity costumes doesn’t seem to be fading.

Celebrities themselves aren’t immune from the temptations of distasteful Halloween costumes. Bill Maher was the man who first brought the Steve Irwin costume into the limelight way back when. Being a celebrity himself in the public eye, he should have known better and, before long, he was forced to make a universal apology.

The craze continues with racially appropriative stereotypes of the ‘Sexy Indian’, previously worn by Miley Cyrus and Paris Hilton, which caused uproar within the Native American community and the public as a whole. The inferred racism of turning culture into costume, consisting of what is essentially beads, feathers and face-paint, is highly controversial and the after-effect of these costumes has not been afforded the careful care of thought.

Even the royal family isn’t immune to the craze. Prince Harry shook up the media in 2005 when he appeared in public in a Nazi costume – swastika included. This was made worse by the fact this was not for Halloween, but a regular fancy dress outing. It would seem that no-one can resist the darker side of humour that such fancy dress costumes allow for.

The demonstration of Nadya Suleman’s nun costume in 2009, surrounded by devil children, is a far cry from a simple wicked witches outfit and is added onto the long list of celebrities to cause offence. Halloween should be a time of fun, pumpkins and toffee apples; instead it gives the impression of having turned into a sick competition for the most obnoxious costume in the celebrity world.

Far from being the family friendly event it’s labelled as, Halloween now displays costumes only fit for burial themselves. Among these attempts to bring the most conservative characters to the half-naked extremes of today’s costume culture is Heidi Klum’s Hindu goddess ‘Kali’. This was another dress piece that had to be apologised for by Klum herself, as she left the public lost for words at her lack of respect and clear mockery of the Hindu religion.

Surely it is time that Halloween returns to the normality of shop-bought costumes and ‘Trick-or-Treating’, rather than causing continuous contention throughout the World. Kim Kardashian is, after all, still a human, unlike the bizarre creatures found roaming the Halloween streets.

Let’s take Halloween back to the basics. We want monsters, not monstrosities.

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