This past Thursday, the northeast chapter of the Coalition of Ghosts and Ghouls held a press conference at an undisclosed spooky location. The coalition allowed reporters to sit in as they discussed the latest issue at hand, cultural appropriation. With Halloween around the corner, the coalition warns humans against culturally insensitive costume choices.
Maria, a 2,700-year old-ghost from Phoenix led the event. “My identity is not a costume. I exist every day as a ghost and do not have the luxury of removing a sheet once I’m bored. Also, what’s with the sheets, I have a shape.”
The creatures took turns at the podium voicing their concerns, “Cultural appropriation perpetuates offensive stereotypes. Ghosts announce themselves when entering a room, none of this boo nonsense,” stated Ethel, a ghost by way of Savannah, Georgia.
Many brought up the issue of co-opting identity for the perks, but none of the oppression. “For a human to pretend they’re a ghost means a pillowcase full of almond joys, while for me, when a human decides I don’t exist, they just…walk right through me.”
Attendees reacted in aghast and a hush fell over the room.
A Werewolf eating an Entenmann’s cookie broke the silence, “Until you’ve endured the humiliation of morphing into a wolf in front of your human in-laws at a Passover Seder, you don’t get to claim werewolf heritage. A few hairs fall into the matzoh-ball soup and everyone cries divorce.”
An online coven of Vampires dubbed, “Universal Donor,” took the stage. They spoke on the toll cultural appropriation has taken on their community’s image.
“These costumes perpetuate harmful stigmas and stereotypes. For starters, I’m tired of everyone insinuating I’m a carrier of rabies. It’s not true and I don’t go around accusing humans of having herpes, even though 1 in every 6 of them do. Second, not all vampires want to drink human blood. Personally, I drink the blood of annoying animals, like geese,” explained Violet, a young vampire of 78 from Wichita.
“I drink human blood, but the last one I ate was a Proud Boy so I don’t think it counts,” Karl, a Portland native added.
An elder chimed in, “I don’t understand why vampires are always sexualized. I’m ancient, I wear Costco sweatpants and my name is Maurice. It’s a nightmare using dating apps. I never show up in photos so I have to specify I’m a vampire in my profile. I can always tell people are disappointed when they meet me in person.”
“I blame True Blood,” said Karl.
Violet made the point, “If the production made an effort to cast a real vampire, we wouldn’t have this problem. It’s a clear example of monster erasure.”
The conversation shifted to representation in the media. “It’s 2018 and I still see rampant examples of white face. Watching Greg Kinnear play a ghost in the movie Ghost Town was a kick to the stomach. Maybe if they had cast a real ghost, Roger Ebert wouldn’t have called it a ‘lightweight rom-com,’” spoke Ethel.
She continued adding, “It’s hurtful to not see yourself on screen. I’ve been reading Sabrina the Teenage Witch comics since before I could cast a hex. As an aspiring actress, imagine how disappointing it was to see Kiernan Shipka cast in the Sabrina Netflix reboot. There are so few acting roles available to witches and even those are given to humans.”
Monica, a witch from New Orleans stated, “Last year, I saw a human woman dressed as a witch with a prosthetic nose. It felt hateful and also, a little anti-semitic.”
All of the creatures in attendance nodded in agreement.
When a reporter asked if those in the coalition were planning on dressing up for Halloween, Maria exclaimed, “Why, yes! I’m going as Disney’s Moana.”