Halloween is around the corner and I’m pretty excited because it’s one of my favorite holidays. Perhaps is the rebellion side of me that was drawn to it after being scolded and told it was “the devil’s holiday” but hey, free candy never disappoints.
That excitement comes with a bit of heaviness because a holiday that’s reasonably stress free for everyone else can pose a different challenge for women of color. The freaks come out at night? Nah, it’s just a dude that put on a red hat, threw some brown watercolor on his face, and called it Kanye West.
Let’s start from the begining. This is what it’s like to celebrate Halloween as an adult woman of color.
The Princess Tragedy: None For You
This is well before you’re an adult, but almost every little black girl has coveted that blue Cinderella dress for Halloween, only to be told by one of her peers, “You can’t be Cinderella, You’re Black!”
Disney has come a long way as we actually have a Black Princess now. But back in the day, your options were blonde wig princess or black wig princess. That was it. This sets the stage for how things go as an adult. While Halloween should be fun for everyone, we learn early on that its different for Black women.
Did You Just Smear A Chocolate Bar on Your Face?
You’re at a party, maybe at a bar, maybe a frat party, or even a house with friends. You either work, go to school, or both. So you put together a cute costume and get excited about having some time to unwind. You see it out of the corner of your eye. At first, you dont stare because you think you’re seeing things. But then here he comes, blond hair, breath smelling of cheap vodka, and…no…it can’t be. “I’m Trayvon Martin!” He proudly proclaims holding up his bag of skittles and, you guessed it, brown makeup all over his face.
You’re torn between cussing him out, beating his ass, or just straight up leaving. But your shock just leaves you standing there with your mouth open (cause you ain’t got no bail money).
Trayvon Martin, Crazy Eyes from Orange is the New Black, and a random assortment of…whatever they think is “black”, is just a short list of things people have tried to do blackface as. Why does this still happen in 2018 when google is free, libraries are free, and we all took history at some point? Because behind every person that wants to do blackface, there’s a Megan Kelly that will happily help them pick out their perfect shade of brown.
Each year, it gets worse. And each year is a Halloween ruined.
To Hocus Pocus or to Re-Focus
Another thing that got ruined for me recently was Hocus Pocus. After Bette Midler recently took to Twitter to say that “women are the N-word of the world”, I felt some type of way about having a Hocus Pocus night. I mean, damn, even her apology was…not an apology. And here I was, willing to sit on my couch with some popcorn and candy corn and watch Hocus Pocus on repeat so this woman can collect on her royalties.
How ’bout we put a spell on Bette Midler? We’ll call it the “Girl, Hush” spell.
So Damn, What Can We Do?
I recognize all too well that there are varying challenges to celebrating Halloween as an adult woman of color. In almost every aspect of our lives, our skin color effects the way we see things and even the way we celebrate things.
But what we do have is each other. We only got this one life to live, and we aren’t going to let this stop us from having a good time. Host a spooky cookout. Host a party with your closest friends as a sure fire way that no one will show up in blackface (and if they do, kick their ass out, its your party!). Dress up as prominent Black figures (ex: Michelle Obama is a good one to do). Dress up as the entire cast of Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Dress up as those Disney princesses they said you could never be. And have yourself a great time!
How do you plan to celebrate Halloween as a woman of color? Drop your plans in the comments section below and save me some candy!