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In recent years there’s been a lot of debate about Halloween costume standards. Some cities have banned or at least strongly discouraged certain types of costumes such as clown costumes. Some costume retailers have faced outrage from various groups protesting certain ethnic or religious dress costumes (e.g. Native American costumes). And there are groups who protest the selling of costumes which in their view either glorify violence (e.g. military costumes) or are overly sexual. The fall ritual of dressing up in costume and trick-or-treating seems particularly challenging for college campuses where some university administrations have gone as far as to issue warnings about costume choices.
Are the standards for Halloween costumes changing? Or, are these protests simply one more example of some who want to force their point of view on others? Are there some costumes which should be off-limits? If so, what are those costumes? And, who gets to decide what those limits are? Why? Is freedom of expression no longer relevant? Have we reached the point at which we’re being conditioned to be offended by everything we see and hear? What type of costume did you wear last year? What will you wear this year?