Halloween is a day when we are free to dress up as whoever and whatever we want. Unfortunately, instead of getting creative with this freedom, many people opt for whatever is popular. But as they say, to each their own. If someone wants to be basic or play it safe, it’s entirely their business. What’s not okay is when people wear something that perpetuates the stigma against mental illness. I am talking about the ever-popular characters that people choose on Halloween, such as psycho clown, drug addict, and mental asylum patient.
Mental illness is not a Halloween costume. For that matter, mental illness is not a fashion statement. It’s not funny, it’s not scary, it’s not cute, it’s not glamorous, it’s not entertainment. It’s just an illness. Period.
Before you give me the ‘but this is just an outfit, you need to calm down’ line, please know that many people believe that mentally ill people are violent and dangerous. We are denied basic human rights and looked down upon as less than human, as scary monsters to be avoided.
Why then would you wear a costume that perpetuates dangerous misinformation? What is a mere outfit for you will add to the public ignorance and harm the mentally ill.
This year’s been terrible so far. Let’s make it a little better by not stigmatizing mental illness this Halloween.