Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
The Superman costume that was worn by Christopher Reeve in "Superman: The Movie" on display at Profiles In History in Calabasas, northwest of downtown Los Angeles, on July 19, 2012.
Attention, sexy xenophobes! The official worst Halloween trend of 2013 is having to remind people that dressing in blackface is still not acceptable. Even on Halloween. Even always. Even still. It's not OK.
What not to wear
Contributing to this year's cautionary tale of racist costumes is Julianne Hough. Photos emerged Friday night of the actress in blackface, dressed up as the character "Crazy Eyes," played by Uzo Aduba on the Netflix series "Orange Is The New Black." Twitter's version of a prison riot broke out in response to the images, prompting an apology from Hough.
There's a checklist for that
The Daily Dot lays out some sensitivity guidelines for candy season, namely a flabbergasted condemnation of "white people dressing as Trayvon Martin" — noting the added cruelty of "playing a murdered teen."
In an effort to prevent widespread small-mindedness, Hampshire College — the rumored "Shaggy" of the Five Schools — published a costume checklist aimed at raising awareness among the culturally misguided, blindly intolerant, shamefully ignorant or those just not paying attention.
Mirror mirror on the wall is my costume racist after all?
Before you wreck your respectable self, check your deplorable self against the criteria below. Look in the mirror, and ask a few of the questions, lest you spend the night bounding your candy-coated bigotry door-to-door.
Pre-packaged costume offenders are easy to spot, with words like, "traditional," "ethnic," "colonial," "cultural," "authentic" and "tribal" found in the description.
Thoughtful navigation of some costume websites make head-shaking categories like Eskimo, Gypsy and Geisha easy to avoid (other costumes, like Beer Girls, are trickier since they aren't even given the courtesy of specificity in their marginalization).
Comedy is a funny thing
Be doubly sure to do a once-over if your Halloween costume is supposed to be humorous. If the basis of the comedy is making fun of actual people, actual cultures or human traits, you might also have a racist costume on your hands. At the very least, you may be wading into insensitive waters.