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5 Super Scary Halloween Costumes (That Don't Stigmatize People With Mental Illness)

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Choosing your Halloween costume is a big decision for some people. Should you go with a classic, scary costume inspired by your favorite thriller? Or something more ironic that fits your clever personality? As you’re mulling over your endless options, you might consider dressing up as a “crazy” person. You know, someone who looks like they’ve come straight from the psych ward. Because, that’s scary, right? Ha ha!

mental illness halloween costumes
Boo! So scary! (Screenshot via Amazon)

But hold your horses there, buddy. Before you order that “Skitzo” costume with your Amazon Prime, we wanted to offer some alternatives that might work better than making fun of mental illness and the historically abusive institutions that were built to “treat” those who were committed there. I know it may feel like a tempting choice, but here are some other super scary costume ideas I hope you’ll consider.

1. Ghost (Boo!)

a ghost
image via Flickr

Classic! Not only is a ghost a cost-effective way to make your own costume, it also doesn’t make an entire group of people who are actually more likely to be victims of violence than violent themselves seem “scary.” Cut out those eye holes and embrace your scary without isolating an innocent passerby who’s been hospitalized for a mental illness before, is doing much better, and doesn’t need your shit right now.

2. Frightening Werewolf

image via Thinkstock


If you think a mental health patient getting restrained is a good costume, because you don’t know what it’s like to actually be restrained at a psych hospital (or just don’t care!), may I suggest instead a scary werewolf? Rather than transforming from an insensitive person to an insensitive person who’s stigmatizing mental illnesses, you can transform from person-who-made-a-better-choice to a half person, half wolf! Much more fun.

3. Scary Skeleton

image via Flickr

Don’t let mental illness be a skeleton people have to keep in their closets, and dress up as an actual skeleton instead! When we make light of mental illness or treat it like it’s something to fear, it’s harder for those who live with it every day to come out and be proud of who they are and what they’ve gone through.

4. Creepy Vampire

vampire costume
image via Pixabay

I want to suck your blood! You know what else sucks? When people think it’s funny to dress up as a “psycho,” when that word actually originates from people who’ve experienced psychosis or who live with conditions that feature psychotic symptoms like schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. You might be surprised to find that those “psychos” are still people. The more you know.

5. Magnificent Mummy

image via Thinkstock

Mummy costumes are great because you can buy one online or make one yourself at home (hello, toilet paper!). What’s extra amazing about them is that whether you’re going to a Halloween party or galavanting around your neighborhood trick-or-treating, you get to have that quiet confidence that comes from knowing you’re not making fun of people with mental illness. And with so many other costume options, that seems like the very least you could do.

Lead photo via Amazon

Originally published: October 12, 2017
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