Halloween costumes that invoke the Holocaust are always a terrible idea. Almost everybody understands this. Online costume retailer HalloweenCostumes.com, apparently, does not. Or did not anyway. The Minnesota-based company found itself at the center of a tweetstorm this weekend after customers noticed it was selling an “Anne Frank for girls” costume. The outfit, which comprised a green beret, long-sleeve, button-up dress, and a brown felt shoulder bag has since been pulled off the market.
Still, the thought that someone somewhere thought that was a good idea lingers in the air like a fart.
Citing Frank as an inspiration “we can all learn from,” the apparently well-intentioned, but totally idiotic description went on to bill the costume as a way for children to “play the role of a World War II hero.” A lovely sentiment, naturally, but as most stunned social media commenters were quick to point out: Celebrating Frank as a Halloween costume is still horribly insensitive. She was a child and then she was murdered for being Jewish. To dress a child up as her is to ignore the central fact of her life — that it was cut short.
— Rob McDowall (@robmcd85) October 15, 2017
A public relations spokesperson for the company was quick to issue a mea culpa and offered this explanation: “We sell costumes not only for Halloween, but for many uses outside of the Halloween season, such as school projects and plays.”
That’s as close to a reasonable explanation as a human could possibly muster, but that doesn’t actually make it reasonable. The site is still called HalloweenCostumes.com and mass producing Anne Frank outfits remains extremely, extremely uncool. Which brings us back to the key takeaway: No Holocaust costumes. Let’s just get that right.