MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With Halloween just one week away, costume shops are packed.

And depending on how much of a sense of humor you have, you might be offended by some of what you see this Halloween.

It’s a conversation that’s taking place across the nation as people decide what to wear to costume parties — what you find “funny” might be considered “inappropriate” or “downright offensive” to someone else.

Dick Cohn owns all six of the Spirit Halloween stores around the metro, and has been in the business for 20 years.

He’s seen the number of costumes that often offend increase — ones that reinforce stereotypes about race, gender, or even disabilities.

“It’s the one day of the year, that you can be somebody else,” he said. “Be something else and not offend people. What other day of the year, could you walk up to someone’s front porch, see a dead body on the ground, and ask for candy. You couldn’t. If you saw that, you’d be calling the police.”

From blind referees, to naughty nuns to a priest who’s Bible is a flask — the potentially offensive options are out there.

“What’s your thought? What are you going to be for Halloween? I am going to be Miley Cyrus from the ‘We Can’t Stop’ video. That’s why I am doing it (because it’s controversial),” shopper Lanny Fitterer said.

Fitterer was thrilled to find the last remaining accessory from the sold out Miley Cyrus twerking costume.

“Eighty percent of the sales are to adults,” Cohn said.

Cohn said that classic scare costume like witches, vampires, and zombies still rule and are the favorites.

This month students at the University of Minnesota got an email from administrators asking them to avoid costumes that inappropriately reinforce stereotypes, and said they sent it after hearing concerns from students themselves.


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