Anne Frank, Harvey Weinstein Halloween costumes call for drastic measures: Teitel
This costume was so offensive it was quickly pulled from the website that offered it, but plenty of other tasteless attire remains to strike fear.
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What precedes the most wonderful time of the year?
The most offensive time of the year, of course — a.k.a. Halloween.
It’s the only holiday that makes school principals and university deans cower in fear, not on account of ghosts or witches or any other supernatural threat, but because of something very real: the likelihood that, sooner or later, some kid will show up for class in a cable-knit sweater brandishing a bottle of pills, i.e. clad in a DIY costume of accused serial rapist Bill Cosby.
Or, to use a more current example, they know a student is bound to show up at school wearing a nice suit with a big pillow tucked under his shirt, in an attempt to resemble alleged serial predator Harvey Weinstein. (Yes, people have already begun doing this. I Googled it. I wish I hadn’t.)
But the costume that will likely take the cake for most bizarre and offensive in 2017 isn’t that of any living person, but one long dead: a costume depicting Holocaust victim Anne Frank.
The ensemble, which went viral this week provoking major backlash online, comes complete with a “beret,” a “shoulder bag” and a “felt destination tag.” Its product description on halloweencostumes.com actually read, “We can always learn from the struggles of history!” No kidding.
But perhaps the getup’s most outrageous element is that the child modelling the costume on the website was pictured grinning with her head cocked to one side and her hand on her hip. In other words, she looked less like a victim of the Nazi regime and more like a girl named Madison posing for a photo at her Bat Mitzvah party at Casa Loma.
Needless to say, the Anne Frank costume triggered so much outrage it has since been pulled from the popular Halloween website.
But other tasteless attire there remains to strike fear into the hearts of school administrators. Among them: “Native American Beauty Costume,” “Arab Costume,” “Tween Jade Geisha Costume,” “Pregnant School Girl Costume,” “Child Will Work for Candy Hobo Costume,” and last but certainly not least, “Frank the Flasher,” which appears to be a combination of a raincoat and nude jumpsuit affixed with an enormous plastic penis.
Eliminate one Anne Frank getup and a thousand different but equally deranged costumes are still there for the taking.
It’s not surprising then that some institutions are so wary of offending or frightening anyone they have done away with Halloween altogether.
One of them, the brand new École Sage Creek School in Winnipeg, announced recently that, instead of Halloween, it will celebrate a “tie and scarf day.” The school’s principal told the CBC this week that this decision arose in part because there is a concern Halloween might inspire some students to wear costumes that are too gory and not age-appropriate (think sexy zombie).
And while not going as far as cancelling Halloween, a French school board in Ontario has released a costume checklist for parents, to help their kids avoid outfits that make use of cultural or ethnic stereotypes.
And yet I can’t help but strongly doubt that any of these tactics will actually work to dissuade the truly committed young s--- disturber from putting on his most convincing Bill Cosby sweater or makeshift suicide bomber vest come October 31.
Human beings who choose to wear such costumes, generally speaking, live to scandalize their fellow man, and their worst fear on Halloween isn’t that Bloody Mary will appear in the mirror, but that they won’t sufficiently repulse the people around them.
So the best punishment for this kind of person, it seems to me, is to fight his extremely poor taste with extremely good taste.
Come October, schools and colleges should compile a large collection of painfully wholesome costumes. In fact, they should go online right now and order the following: Teletubby, Mailman, Olaf from Frozen, EMT worker (and for couples), Peanut Butter and Jelly.
It should follow that any student who shows up in a racist or otherwise highly offensive costume would be asked to change into one of these wholesome outfits immediately.
Who knows, such a student may come to seriously reconsider his Harvey Weinstein fat suit or his Anne Frank beret when he is forced to wear a costume that mortifies nobody but himself.