Halloween Costumes Gone Racist?

Racial Halloween Costumes Causing Controversy

Tamara Damante, KESQ News Channel 3 News Reporter, tdamante@kesq.com
POSTED: 05:11 PM PDT Sep 21, 2012    UPDATED: 06:09 PM PDT Sep 21, 2012 
Mexican Halloween Costume
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

Halloween costumes are meant to scare people or make them laugh, but now some are offending certain cultures. With the first day of Fall upon us, it's that time of year to get into the spirit of Halloween. As people start looking for their Halloween costumes, they're finding more to choose from these days....a lot more and not everyone is happy about it.

Andrea Avila of Palm Desert says, "Anything that shows too much only because there's children walking around."

The Spirt Halloween store at Westfield Shopping Town, in Palm Desert carries an array of costumes, that might just make you take a second look. One employee told us we were in the "humor" section, when we found "The Blind Referee", "Happy Camper", "Mexican Man, that includes a sombrero, poncho and exaggerated mustache. Kimber Hay of Palm Desert says, "It's a fun thing, but you should take it across the board to all races and I'm not racist."

We showed the costume to Andrea Alvila of Palm Desert and she says, "I don't feel it's offensive. I feel it's natural. It is Halloween. People dress up as anyone they want and I think it's okay to express how you feel and what you want to be. I wouldn't be offended."

Some say "Discorama Mama", "Lil Gangsta", "Geisha", "Indian Warrior" and "Rabbi" costumes invoke stereotypical images. But others we talked to feel costumes like "Mexcian Man" shouldn't be taken too seriously. Norma Santerson of Palm Desert says, "It's not offensive to me but I suppose somebody might think it is."
Michael James of Palm Desert says, "No, he looks good. He looks like Cheech and Chong."

John Alvarez says, "I have no offense to it. It looks like a fun costume. Absolutely I take no offense to that."

We contacted the Spirit Halloween corporate headquarters in New Jersey for a statement and were told the director of marketing would call us back. She never did.

In the meantime, if pushing the envelope isn't for you, classics like ghosts, goblins and ghouls never die.