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October 4, 2020

Bizarre Halloween Costumes for Global Culture Junkies From the 1920 Sears Catalog

It has classic Negro masks like Sporty Mose (sorry, collar and tie not included), Old Uncle Joe, and Aunt Dinah (a Negress outfit not complete without this mask!). Oh, and if you really want to go hog wild you can get one of the full body suits — there’s the Ridiculous Yellow Kid, the Japanese Lady, and the Negro Minstrel Suit (suitable for hometown shows, no less).

It was completely normal to dress as a cultural stereotype for Halloween. Suburban streets thronged with black-wigged Geishas and be-turbaned Sultans. Uncle so and so brought back a sombrero from that weekend jaunt to Tijuana? Go as Juan Valdez! (Never mind the fact that Colombia isn’t Mexico.)

Obviously this sort of thing is no longer OK, even if well-intentioned. You can’t go as a nebulously iconic something from the foreign culture of your choice. But you can still use your interest in travel and culture to inspire a perfectly appropriate costume idea.

(via The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit)


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