‘Warning!’: Regina activists label indigenous Halloween costumes as dangerous materials
Labels warning shoppers to “avoid contact” with a number of revealing Halloween costumes depicting indigenous women were on display at Regina’s Spirit Halloween location.
On Sunday, members of the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism (SCAR) entered Spirit Halloween and added two-sided labels to costumes named “Reservation Royalty” and “Wolf Dancer”, among others.
“Every year this becomes a story. Every year there doesn’t seem to be any movement on it,” SCAR member Chris Kortright said.
“They make the costume “Pocahottie”, they make the costume “Reservation Royalty”. So what we would like them to do is to stop making these costumes altogether.”
The front side of the label contained a bold warning, cautioning shoppers that the items in the package “are offensive and promote the sexualisation [sic] of Indigenous women and peoples”.
The back side of the label provided information about missing and murdered indigenous women.
“[The costume] sexualizes and racializes indigenous women’s bodies which lays the foundation of a culture that accepts that we can have 4,000 missing and murdered indigenous women,” Kortright explained.
By Monday, all labels had been taken off the merchandise.
U.S.-based Spirit Halloween provided the following statement to Global News:
Since 1983, at Spirit Halloween, we have offered a wide and balanced range of Halloween costumes that are inspired by, celebrate and appreciate numerous cultures, make believe themes and literary figures. Understanding certain sensitivities, we always strive to present our costumes in a responsible and respectful manner. While we respect the opinion of those who are opposed to the sale of any cultural or historical costumes, we are proud of our costume selection for men, women and children. We continue to offer this broad assortment of costumes in the future, while we maintain our commitment to our diverse customer base.
We have not directed any of our stores to remove Indigenous themed costumes from our shelves, nor do we plan to have these costumes removed.