Saturday, October 24, 2009

Have A Stigma Free Halloween

Halloween is one of the oldest recorded calendar events.

The tradition started over two thousand years ago with The Celts, who believed that the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on October 31st. So, on that "Hallow's Eve" they built bonfires and wore ghostly costumes to drive the evil spirits away, and carried a potato or turnip candle lantern to intimidate the demons around them.

The National Alliance For Mental Illness reminds us that not only is it the season for ghosts and goblins, but also stigma. Costumes and seasonal attractions that feature psychos, mental patients, and insane asylums perpetuate stereotypes. Intended as fun, these violent stereotypes serve to perpetuate stigma -- which as reported by the U.S. Surgeon General is one of the greatest barriers to people getting help when they need it. It also is the source of prejudice and discrimination that leads to isolation and impedes progress toward recovery.

Last year, I didn't notice any neighborhood kids with stigma related costumes. But there was this young adult couple who made my eyebrows arch. One was dressed in scrubs with a butterfly net, and the other was in pajamas with a bloody cleaver.



~Just me again~ said...

I know some people are so thoughtless. When my dad was in intensive care on a respirator over Halloween, workers were dressed up. It was all light hearted, but as I was leaving (the hospital was attached to the cancer center) I saw a person dressed as the grim reaper. I thought it was totally inappropriate, as my dad (as well as many others) was clinging to his life. Yes, some people just doesnt get it.

Casdok said...

Stigma, prejudice and discrimination. Unless you live with it i dont think people realise what affect it realy does have.

Xmichra said...

Honestly, no matter what you do you'll offend someone. Dressing up on halloween should be done 'tastefully' in an office or work environment, but in reality there will always be a person who is offended for the costume you have choose to wear.

witch costumes are not witch like.
Ghost costumes offend those who do not beleive in the paranormal.
vampires zombies and skeletons make some religios people furrious because it is sinful to dress as such abominations.
nurses and dental hygenists around the country are rolling their eyes at the plether.

you can't win.

So I don't take anyone's take when concidering what costume I don. And I really do mean, "no offence, but..." because you just can't win on this one.

Belizegial said...

Dr. Deb,

Happy Halloween from the tropics!

I hear that it is best to utilize costume themes that are light and bright to keep away the goblins. LOL

Jade said...

I'm going as a poor grad student for halloween. :-) Hope you have a stigma free halloween yourself!

Jade said...

I'm going as a poor grad student for halloween. :-) Hope you have a stigma free halloween yourself!

jumpinginpuddles said...

for others halloween is about incredible pain not fun

Grumpy Old Man said...

The whole point, says the anthropologist, is that it's a ritual of reversal.

I think we should lighten up sometimes and mock everything. Everything.

Id it is said...

I am not sure that I would view those two costumes you mention as offensive, but they would definitely indicate a level of ignorance which I think is more of a stigma if the wearer were to understand it :)

In fact, I enjoy the diversity (of ... :)) that is on display during Halloween.

Sharon S said...

Here's to a happy safe stigma free Halloween!! I don't get any tricker treaters where i live..I miss seeing the little ones in costume.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I guess there remain people tasteless enough to do a stigma related costume. Thanks for the timely reminder.