Halloween is a celebration that began in Celtic Ireland during its pagan years. It was believed that on summer’s end, evil spirits would roam amongst the living, and curse the peasants so they wouldn’t survive the winter. To ward off and confuse the evil spirits, the people dressed as to look like them. Therefore, variations of ghouls, the undead, and ghost costumes were the original choices of costumes. The tradition was brought over to America by an influx of Irish citizens who were escaping the potato famine. Overtime, as people believed less in the doctrines of evil spirits, costumes like fireman, fictional characters, and heroes became readily accepted. This is how Halloween has evolved into the celebration we know it as.
I broke the promise of staying to the topic of philosophy and psychology in order to dispute an ad campaign that I saw throughout buildings on the Penn State campus. The ad features a sad child looking at a picture of a costume that depicts a culture. “We are a culture, not a costume, and this is not okay”. Pictures have ranged from condemning suicide bomber costumes, Asian costumes, and others. These ads weren’t the only pushback from a politically correct stance during the Halloween season. Celebrities like Nicki Minaj have come out condemning a hilarious and well created costume of Bill Cosby, saying that our culture is too desensitized.
To start with an inexpensive observation, it seems to me Nicki Minaj isn’t the best spokesperson to talk about the problems of desensitization. Here’s a link to the music video Anaconda. I’ll let my readers decide which draws most of their attention.
While Halloween has not also been about satire, the costumes people wear can be a political statement or just plain fun. Take the Bill Cosby costume for example; what was the message of the person who wore the costume? Was it joy over the fact that injustice like rape with the assistance of pharmaceuticals could occur? Or was he calling attention to the injustice? How is this any different than crude satire? If we can safely make fun of the Chris Christie in a baseball jersey, or Demi Lovato when she’s called out on live TV, we should safely be able to satire current events, using words or costumes. Live a little people!