Do not dress as Ken Bone for Halloween.
Fright of frights, Halloween this year is going to be infested with drunks in red sweaters waiting for you to delight in their cleverness. Oh, night of terror, there will be women who have actually purchased that Sexy Ken Bone costume. Is that a haunted spirit I see out of the corner of my eye? No, it’s the pun-loving academic getting his late October jollies. He is Ken Boner.
Friends, I am terrified.
Halloween is upon us, this year an entire three-day weekend celebrating our evolution from candy-guzzling children into the booze-stuffed misguided, teetering through the streets in any number of terrible pop culture-inspired costumes.
The holiday has somehow become the real-world manifestation of the insufferable “have you seen…” conversations we have about any number of viral memes. Gone is any homage to Halloween tradition. Who wants to be a goblin, ghoul, or ghost when you can dress as a dead gorilla?
And so this Halloween will see any number of nasty women, bad hombres, baskets of deplorables, and a slew of politically inspired costumes, all festooned with the air of pride over the so-called cleverness of such styling. It is exhausting.
Our instinct to create folk heroes out of undecided voters and memes out of some of the most tragic moments of the election is one of our worst. It’s a reflex that indicates a refusal to process the brutal reality of a pivotal moment in our history, choosing to make sideshows the main act, and perpetuating ignorance by focusing on distractions. By minimizing what actually matters, we don’t have to be made uncomfortable by confronting it.
These costumes are our denial personified, drunk on 2-for-1 Fireball shots.
Ken Bone, by the way, is not a cute little distraction. His disturbing Reddit history proves he’s not nearly as adorable as we thought, suggesting, among other things, that the killing of Trayvon Martin was justified. But, sure, spill Bud Light all over your thrift store red sweater on Halloween while dressed as him. Cool.
The debate rages each year about whether controversial Halloween costumes are funny or distasteful, whether we should treat Halloween as an occasion to bait offense and be a little naughty with our lack of political correctness. We’re not blaring any sensitivity siren here. We’re merely pointing out that these costumes are really dumb.
When your pop culture joke has been commoditized, it’s no longer worth making. You’re no longer clever. There’s no punchline anymore. When when we’re all in on it, it’s not cheeky; it’s mainstream. And when something becomes mainstream, it’s neutered of any intended provocation. Worse, it means that we’ve become desensitized to the perhaps once-incendiary and maybe even valuable conversation that meme or joke or costume might have caused.
As a costume, these outfits are now just lazy. As a cultural statement, they now represent our resignation to the worst: racism, sexism, bigotry, and political disinterest.
Dressing as Donald Trump for Halloween isn’t funny. You’re either suggesting that Donald Trump is a joke or you want to start a fight. If the reason is the former, see above. If the reason is the latter, you’re the worst for reasons far greater than your lame Halloween costume.
You may, however, dress as Donald Trumpkin, and that is the bar for creativity you must reach for other Trump-inspired dressage.
We, at our humble cubicle at The Daily Beast, have received press releases about costumes for: Locker Room Donald Trump, Cry Baby Trump, Trump Taco, and Prison Hillary. We have since thrown our computer out the window next to our humble cubicle at The Daily Beast.
This Halloween will no doubt see a harem of sorority girls as Nasty Women and their male counterparts doing some racially insensitive version of Bad Hombres.
Based on the number of Sexy Tinkerbells, Sexy Devils, and, yes, even Sexy Candy Corns we see year after year, perhaps originality isn’t of the utmost importance to these people. But unless you are wearing a Hillary Clinton pantsuit with Janet Jackson-inspired detailing, we are going to groan at each one of you.
And, sure, the racist Mexican costume is hardly a new thing. (I have ashamedly dressed this way myself, because I once was drunk and in college and thought things like that were funny.) But this year, it’s as if expecting the barrage of Bad Hombre costumes preemptively grants permission to the giddy exploitation of people’s “I’m just joking!” racism.
How will you and your friends illustrate Trump’s basket of deplorables? We await your creativity with bated breath. God save your soul if there is any pussy-grabbing theme to your outfit.
And then there are those costumes that aren’t politically themed, the pop culture ones worn with a devious smile because you’re so confident that you don’t care if you offend people when, really, people don’t think you’re being offensive—they think you’re being just dumb.
Cool, lady. You spent $70 on a costume version of Kim Kardashian being held hostage during a robbery. Money well spent on a costume that lost its edge the minute we all knew of course this was going to be a costume this year. Instead of making a statement on Kardashian’s fame, it’s a statement on how foolishly you manage your money.
Dressing as Harambe holding a bloody child? As novel as a new Harambe joke, at this point. A Syrian refugee? You’re not provocative. You’re an asshole. Killer clowns? Eyes don’t have the mobility to roll dramatically enough.
It’s pointless to dredge up the (completely valid) conversations about the exploiting of socioeconomic disparity with costumes mocking the homeless or “white trash,” the problematic consequences of the “sexy” Halloween motif, and the truths revealed about us by our consistent excusing of racist costumes.
They’re had every year and, if nothing else, only serve to bolster the annual blackout bacchanal, not deter from it.
But while we may think Halloween is the worst, we do acknowledge that, yes, Halloween can be fun. Or so we hear.
We’re glad people enjoy the camaraderie of it, get excited about the occasion to bond with friends, lose inhibitions, and be someone else for a night. There is ample opportunity, too, for actual cleverness and creativity on Halloween, especially with costumes inspired by pop culture and watercooler conversation—even if we think the perfect Halloween outfit is and forever will be a bedsheet ghost.
But the extent to which we’ve embraced the opportunity to lean into the vilest aspects of our culture, excusing it under the false guise of some sort of winking intelligence? You’re not clever. You’re not smart. Don’t do it.
Now get off my lawn. It’s the one without those dollar store fake spider webs decorating it.