An Ebola Costume: It's Just Plain Wrong

Unethical, dubious, and in-poor-taste costumes are nothing new, but this one is seriously vile.

ebola-costume.jpg; editing: Priscilla DeCastro

A company is selling an Ebola costume: Horrifying, but true. Costume site BrandsOnSale is offering an Ebola Containment Suit Costume, complete with a white suit, a face shield, a breathing mask, safety goggles, and latex gloves. (Boots not included.) All that for $79.99! Plus shipping!

Unethical, dubious, and in-poor-taste costumes are nothing new. Google around and you'll find Hitler costumes, a photo of a Christopher Reeves as Superman in a wheelchair costume, and overly sexy costumes for kids including a skin-flashing leopard outfit (the likes of which inspired one feminist group in Calgary to recently launch a Take Back Halloween campaign).

The same company selling the Ebola getup also has a baby cigarette suit; during the Chilean mining catastrophe, the site sold "hundreds" of yellow mining helmets, CEO Johnathon Weeks told The Atlantic. His defense of the Ebola costume: "It's Halloween, it's one day, if people are that serious about it, they don't know what Halloween is about." It's not just his company peddling Ebola ensembles; evidently, at one costume stores in Dallas, hazmat suits are selling out.

The general consensus: Ebola costumes are just plain vile. The worldwide Ebola death toll has topped 4,000, with more than 8,300 cases confirmed. Two healthcare workers in Dallas now have it. Families are grieving, families are watching loved ones die, families are panicking about getting Ebola. Deadly viruses are not costume material.

I'm not sure what's changed in our culture that would make any human being think it's OK to make (or wear) an Ebola costume. When the first recognized case of AIDS occurred in the United States in the early 1980s, it's doubtful anyone was walking around dressed as an AIDS patient that Halloween. When natural disasters strike, nobody walks around trick-or-treating in tsunami devastation costumes.

If on Halloween some person showed up in my door in an Ebola Containment Suit, I would slam the door in his face and run screaming down the hallway. Get a soul, people.

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