Halloween: Scaring or Scarring?

Jenna Powers, Broadcast Journalism

With the new release of Dahmer – Monster Netflix Series, and Halloween occurring this past Monday, there is much controversy surrounding Jeffrey Dahmer costumes this year. On one hand, some argue that it is absolutely appropriate because it is just a costume and something scary for Halloween. However, many are bothered by the idea and argue that it is insensitive to the victims to dress up as their killer. Because of this controversy, there have been bans placed on this costume in certain areas, such as Milwaukee, similar to the ban on killer clown costumes in New Jersey school districts in 2016. Both of these costumes were banned at the peak of their popularity, but how similar are these circumstances?

Back in 2016, reports of clown sightings started rolling in out of nowhere. Pictures of clowns would be posted on social media and began to alarm people. As more and more pictures were posted, the issue of clowns became very prevalent. Things escalated to a point that no one could have expected when clowns actually started becoming violent. As this violence escalated, and the matter of clowns did not stop, dressing up as a clown for Halloween was banned.

Riliegh Baggett & Katherine Finnegan

Likewise, Dahmer costumes have recently become banned, but his murders were years in the past. So, are these instances comparable? Many argue yes.  Madison High School senior, Claire Sheeleigh feels “both got banned for posing a threat to someone; one was physically violence and the other is more of an emotional issue now.” Even though Dahmer’s actions were moments of the past, wounds have been reopened with the new Netflix series. With this, the new found popularity of Dahmer costumes can be insensitive to the trauma of the victim’s families. So, even though there is no more physical violence, it still causes an issue requiring a ban. Senior Alexa Leo mentioned that “I wouldn’t compare the two [circumstances], but I think both are in need of a ban”.

On the contrary, some think that the severity of Dahmer is no longer a relevant issue and that a Dahmer costume is nothing to worry about. Junior Alexis Gominiak argues that “Just because his series is doing well doesn’t make him any more dangerous. Clowns made sense because they were currently dangerous, but Dahmer is dead.” Because there is no longer any Dahmer violence, many do not see any harm in the costume. Junior Riley Holland noted that “People dress up as Ted Bundy, and that isn’t being talked about. If it weren’t for that series, this costume wouldn’t be talked about either”.

daily express

Opinions vary on this costume but it was still seen on Halloween night as no ban existed here in New Jersey. Many people wonder if this costume would be a big deal on any other year or if it just matters now, similarly to how people felt when the clown costumes were banned. These costumes are very different and yet similar at the same time. Only time will tell if next year the trend of Dahmer costumes continues.