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Censoring Potentially Offensive Halloween Costumes

It’s that time of year again where young children dress as their favorite character, goblin or ghoul. Although parents have the final word on what their child chooses to wear while out trick-or-treating, it’s typically the child that leans toward the actual outfit.

However, what happens when the outfit worn by a child is highly offensive to other parents or children? Does it make sense for parents to be accountable for the choice of costume their children wear on a holiday that celebrates death and evil? One parent learned the hard way about costume accountability and now, he’s fighting mad.

Say hello to little Hitler

During a routine candy trail that generates hundreds of community participants in Kentucky, Bryant Goldbach dressed both himself and his 5-year-old as Hitler. They walked up and down the trail to receive candy, only to discover they were the center of attention…and not in a good way.

“Adults walked up to my 5-year-old and threatened him,” Goldbach posted on his Facebook page. He was completely mortified and confused on why people were so highly offended at his choice of costumes for both he and his child.

“I can’t believe people were behaving so negatively towards us when their own children were dressed as devils and murderers,” he continued. He then posted a photo of himself with his son wearing the outfit on his page and found even more anger thrown his way online. Goldbach stated that he and his family chose the outfits because of their love for history. Wow. What’s more amazing is that he didn’t understand why others might find the outfit offensive.

When costumes reflect the child wearing them

When a child wears a costume, they wear something that typically reflects what they value. It is not surprising to see a young boy dressed as a superhero, a frightening horror movie character, or a Disney character. All of these costumes represent fictional characters that often fail to have any foundation or realistic merit.

On the other hand, when a child wears a costume that represents a person from history, they (or their parents) cross themselves over into a world that attaches a certain level of accountability to the child and their parents. Take for example a child wearing a slave master’s uniform. How well do you think this will go if the child is surrounded by other children and parents who have a history that is negatively attached to what the outfit represents? It shows a lack of sensitivity to the plight of others who were murdered, slaughtered, and divided as a direct result of the person being celebrated through the child’s costume.

The fact that Goldbach can’t see this only proves that he’s either apathetic to the pain of others or he just doesn’t care.

The child pays the price

Unfortunately, children wearing offensive costumes rarely know much about the person they are representing at that time. It’s the parents who have a deeper knowledge of both the history and the impact of costume choices; and as such, it’s the parents who should accept full responsibility when they see that their child is facing the negative reaction of others.

If a child is fully aware of their costume choice, regardless of the history, and decides to wear it anyway then that child should learn how their decision impacts others, for the good or bad. Either way, a lesson in history will be the end result…not candy and laughter.

What would you do if you saw a child dressed as Hitler at your child’s school costume party? Please share!

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About Audra L.

Audra L. is an author, columnist and community activist who's dedicated to finding truth through research and effective communication. She received her degree in Public Policy and teaches Community Development, Public Speaking and Communications Law to youth throughout the nation. She is the recipient of over 23 awards and honors for her commitment to community outreach initiatives.

14 comments

  1. I’d smile and move, then wonder how much BS such a person is getting from “need a life” Democrats.

  2. No doubt numerous people would find that uniform offensive as I do, and especially Jews, and with good reason. I am also offended and angry when little girls are genitally mutilated and raped in my once beautiful country, England, but my government doesn’t care. I am offended when I see white people wearing beards that the Taliban would be proud of, which constantly reminds me of rape and beheadings. The people doing these gross actions are doing them now, today, not seventy years ago, and white people today are imitating those savages, and no one says a word, I wonder why?

  3. While I disagree with his choice of costumes for himself and his children I do see his point. I must wonder though if anyone would have complained if they all would have dressed as Joseph Stalin. “Uncle Joe” murdered more people and committed more savagery than Hitler ever did yet he is remembered somewhat fondly. Just asking.

  4. Anyone who is offended by a Halloween costume needs to get a life. It is not like someone is promoting the image of the person being copied. I guess dressing as the devil or a vampire should also be banned eh? I wonder if we would be talking about this is someone was dressed up as Joe Stalin (who was much more of a mass murderer than even the Nazis. I doubt it.

  5. Not a very good idea on the part of the father, a!though it is possible that he did not anticipate backlash. The 5 year old has no clue who Hitler was and simply wants to emu!ate his Dad so saying anything to the child about his costume is just mean and pretty pathetic. Yeah a 5 year old knows about Superman or the latest Disney heroine, but I doubt he has learned any world history yet. This was Dad’s idea and he displayed poor judgement. Leave the kid out of it.

  6. First of all I would NEVER host a Halloween party or allowed my children to participate in one. I applaud this man’s boldness for dressing up as Hitler. Halloween is about everything dark, sinister, about the occult, satanism, witchcraft and the like. It is a well known fact that satanists love Halloween and have many black masses and occult gatherings on this very day. A character like Hitler fits right in with the so called “holiday”, after all, he was himself a follower of the occult. Can anyone tell me why should we be scandalized by somebody who dons a Hitler costume, but think that it is normal that a town has a zombies march characterized by the most bizarre, grotesque and disgusting costumes that there are? I say bravo to this gentleman and I support him. He is very much in line with what Halloween is. On the other hand, I can not wait for this stupid, degenerating and disgusting so called “holiday” to be erased entirely and for good from the American calendar.

  7. It’s unbelievable how people get so offended over every little thing. They are doing what they want no one should care. People that have nothing better to do than get offended need to get a life! People should get their minds off these little things and probably worry about the bigger things going on in this world! Things that really matter!

    • Yes, some people are too easily offended. But that doesn’t mean that we should never take offense at anything. Some things are offensive. Hitler is one of the most vile individuals in history. If that’s not offensive, what is? Would it be okay to dress up as a member of the KKK? I feel sorry for people who are always offended. I also feel sorry for people who find nothing offensive.

  8. Norman Hinderliter

    I just cannot believe that this is even an “issue”. I mean, Halloween IS a time, for creativity, thrills and chills, and good, clean, scares. If a parent, and child, can be declared “offensive”, for dressing as Hitler, then I would HATE to see what would happen if I dressed in my favorite, Halloween, character: Count Dracula! This article, and the “reprimand” are ridiculous!

  9. Yes, people often are offended needlessly. But that doesn’t meant that there are not legitimate cases of offense being taken. This would seem to be one. Hitler’s hatred against Jews knew no bounds. He was one of history’s most vile individuals. Would those who support this be okay with someone dressing up as a member of the KKK? To those who say no one should be offended by anything (which is basically what they some are saying), is there nothing that offends you? If that is the case, I feel sorry for you.

  10. If I’m not mistaken the Father in the picture above is wearing an SS costume not one that Hitler would have worn. Not to mention who gives a rats @ss who wears what on Halloween? Should we go after the costume store that sold these outfits? Where does it all end? STOP BEING OFFENDED AND GET A LIFE!

  11. I have to agree that we the people should be offended by everything that represents the devil, instead of being offended by the Gospel of Jesus Christ! If the true Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven was spread more often to our friends we would not have to see the devil displayed so often!

  12. The image of the guy above, dressed in a Nazi uniform is an “off-spring” of “The Donald”that he wanted to keep hidden!

    I wonder if “The Donald” ever had his Birth Name changed, from “Adolph” to “Donald”? Just so nobody would realize who was one of his ancestors!

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