In Brief

Five tasteless Halloween costumes: from Oscar Pistorius to Cecil the Lion

Blade Runner outfit with fake gun and silver boot covers causes outrage

Oscar Pistorius

An Oscar Pistorius Halloween costume has been branded “highly offensive” by a charity that supports families of murder victims.

The fancy dress outfit includes a running vest with the words “Blade Gunner 2012” and shorts, sunglasses, a fake gun, and black and silver boot covers depicting racing blades.

The sprinting outfit is in green and yellow, the colours worn by Pistorius when he represented South Africa at the 2012 Olympics, months before he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on 14 February 2013.

Luton-based website Jokers' Masquerade has listed the “Adult Blade Runner Gunner Stag Costume” in its Halloween section.

“Cause lots of controversy at your next party with our Adult Blade Runner Gunner Stag Costume. This eye catching, head turning costume idea is ideal for any event, whether it be Halloween or just a shindig at a friends,” it says.

“The costume includes black and silver boot covers that come up to just under the knee, giving the impression that you have metal running blades instead of legs, just like that infamous Paralympic‎ runner!”

Rose Dixon, chief executive of Support After Murder and Manslaughter, told The Sun: “This is incredibly insensitive and highly offensive, especially to bereaved families.”

However, it is by no means the first Halloween costume to face criticism…

Anne Frank

Online retailer faced a backlash last year for selling an Anne Frank costume on its site. The dressing-up outfit featured a green beret, blue dress and brown satchel, while the description said: “We can always learn from the struggles of history! Now, your child can play the role of a World War II hero.”

The costume sparked a furious response on Twitter, with many people accusing the retailer of trivialising the memory of Frank, who spent two years in hiding with her family before they were found and sent to Auschwitz. The company said the costume was never meant to cause offence but removed it from sale.

Gagged Kim Kardashian

After Kim Kardashian West was tied up and robbed by five men in Paris in 2016, put the “Parisian Heist Robbery Victim Kit” on sale for $69.99 (£53). It made no mention of Kardashian, but included a “white short sexy robe”, long black wig, sunglasses, gag, rope and “$4m” ring.

After much criticism, the company announced on Twitter: “Due to the extensive out-lash we have decided to remove the ‘Parisian Heist’ costume from our website. We are sorry if it offended anyone.”

Cecil the Lion has a history of pushing the limits of taste. In 2015, US dentist Walter Palmer caused global outrage by killing Cecil the lion during a hunt in Zimbabwe. Within weeks, the costume site launched a dentist outfit covered in blood spatters, which came with a severed lion head as a prop.

Despite fury from animal lovers, the costume company’s founder, Jonathon Weeks, refused to apologise, saying: “Maybe our money has Cecil lion’s blood on it. I’m not here to offend anybody, I’m just here to keep things questionable. We’re just in the very beginning of this Halloween season. There’s more to come.”

Call Me Caitlyn

Caitlyn Jenner’s appearance on the front cover of Vanity Fair in 2015 inspired several retailers to put Call Me Caitlyn costumes on sale. One white corset and wig combo was promoted as a unisex outfit and modelled by a man with stubble.

The sellers claimed they were celebrating the star, and Jenner said she wasn’t offended. However, her supporters were not amused, arguing that trans people were being treated as a joke. One petition to have the outfits withdrawn from sale said that “to make a costume out of a marginalised identity reduces that person and community to a stereotype for privileged people to abuse”.


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