Halloween is fast approaching and we know what that means…costumes! Forget the candy—the best part about Halloween is getting to dress up. But we have to be careful with our costume ideas. What should be a frivolous and fun holiday sometimes crosses the line into offensive territory. There are countless stories about costume parties that took their themes too far, and many times, Latinos end up being the butt of unfunny and incorrect jokes.
So instead of going for a stereotypical costume that could land you in a hot cauldron, try out some ideas that will elevate our Latino heritage this year.
***All images used are linked to original source.***
Latinos have made their presence known in cinema for years, so why not celebrate some of their most glamorous and exciting portrayals? Look out for a fitted purple dress with ruffles and smolder as Anita from West Side Story, who was portrayed by award-winning actress Rita Moreno. Or you can go as artist Frida Khalo, who was brought to life on the silver screen by Salma Hayek. Meanwhile, guys can try a more macho and villainous look—think Bond’s latest bad guy, played by Javier Bardem, with that hideous blond wig and all. Bonus points if you have a friend who will dress up as 007.
Everyone loves a guy with a guitar. Throw one over your shoulder, put on a fedora, and magically become Carlos Santana. But when it comes to music, women get to go for the real glam here. What better way to celebrate Latinas than to go over the top, Celia Cruz–style? Besides her tremendous voice, the queen of salsa was known for her outrageous looks, so don’t shy away from the sequins, feathers, and sparkles. And if you’re feeling more of a ’90s vibe, Selena is your go-to girl.
Make it a family affair and go as one of television’s most iconic comedy couples. Ricky and Lucy have the distinct looks and eccentric personalities to keep your friends amused all night long (plus you get the added bonus of dressing up your little one as Ricky Ricardo, Jr.). Teens can take their turn as Glee’s original bad girl, Santana, with an easy-to-find cheerleading outfit. But if being a cheerleader isn’t your style, why not go as Ugly Betty?
LITERATURE AND FOLKTALES
Don’t forget that Halloween is supposed to be a scary holiday. Straight from the folktales, La Llorona would make the perfect ghostly girl to spook unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. Guys who prefer to run around in a cape can maintain an air of mystery as the masked Zorro. But if fighting windmills matches your interests more, don your suit of armor and step out as Don Quixote.
As much as we all love to dress up every year, Halloween is really about the kids. No list would be complete without mentioning Dora and Diego. But, thinking outside of the box, kiddies can have fun dressing up as the feline lothario Puss in Boots, who was voiced by actor Antonio Banderas. And the cast of The Emperor’s New Groove would make the perfect group costume: mom and dad can be Yzma and Kronk while the kids can be Cuzco.
There is a treasure trove of Latinos in the sports world. Put on your boxing gloves and step into the ring as decorated boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya, but a word of caution—a six-pack will be difficult to find at your local costume store. From one ring to another, the world of professional wrestling, which has always blurred the line of sports and entertainment, has some interesting personalities to consider. April Mendez, or AJ Lee as fans know her, certainly proves that women can pack just as much of a punch as any guy can. If fighting isn’t up your alley, try going old school as baseball hall-of-famer Roberto Clemente.
The list goes on and on. The point is that there are plenty of places to draw inspiration from that aren’t offensive. So instead of resorting to stereotypical costumes this Halloween, be creative, be smart, and have fun celebrating your Latino heritage.