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Are ‘Moana’ Halloween Costumes Racist? Viral Mom Post Says Yes

And she doesn't want her daughter dressing up as Elsa either!


Halloween is the perfect holiday for using imagination with your kids and really letting them be what they want. Though that will always be the case, it’s also true that a lot of parents, and adults in general, don’t consider the broader message that their costume might be sending. Now, one mom’s viral post about opening a dialogue with her kids about culturally insensitive Halloween costumes is a viral must-read for parents.

It started when Sachi Feris’ daughter had watched both Moana and Frozen within a month of each other. As Halloween approached, five-year-old told her mom that she’d like to dress up as either Moana, a dark-skinned Polynesian, or as princess Elsa, a Scandinavian white woman. Ferris swiftly explained that for her white daughter to dress like a person of color would be blatant “cultural appropriation.”

“Elsa is an imaginary or made-up character. Moana is based on real history and a real group of people…” she wrote. “if we are going to dress up a real person, we have to make sure we are doing it in a way that is respectful. Otherwise, it is like we are making fun of someone else’s culture.”

Interestingly, Feris had a few opinions about her daughter dressing as Elsa too. For Feris, it would essentially be the same as perpetuating a wiry standard that gives preference to white those with white skin.

“There is one thing I don’t like about the character of Elsa. I feel like because Elsa is a White princess, and we see so many White princesses, her character sends the message that you have to be a certain way to be “beautiful” or to be a “princess”…that you have to have White skin, long, blonde hair, and blue eyes,” she thought. “And I don’t like that message. You are White, like Elsa—if you dressed up as a character like Moana, who has brown skin, you would never change your skin color. But I’m not sure I like the idea of you changing your hair color to dress up as Elsa—because I think Elsa’s character could also be a short, brown-haired character like you.”