9 thoughts on “Halloween: Are We Perpetuating Stigma?

  • October 24, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    It isn’t an opinion. It is fact. Costumes that involve mental health issues are offensive–as are racially motivated costumes.

    • October 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Thank you, Finn.

      Best to you and yours,


  • October 24, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Wow. That’s pretty bad. I’m all for having a good time on Halloween. I haven’t seen these items personally but theyre disgusting on so many levels. Imagine having costumes depicting people who have breast cancer or HIV or people who have been in car wrecks.

    Glad to hear these items were pulled from the shelves. Clearly many people still just don’t get it. There seems to be fairly common perceptions based on fear and thoughtlessness rather than compassion and empathy.

    • October 24, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      Hi Pete,

      Those are exactly my thoughts. Some of these items have been pulled but there are many that are still out there, it is disgusting. Thank you for reading and commenting.



  • October 24, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I think Halloween is not helping anything at all anywhere to be honest. I wrote an article looking at the fact that Halloween, for some is fun, but for others, it is hell. Those who have been through trauma that is connected to Halloween are reminded of this, yearly, over and over.
    As for the outfits, and the way people dress up – it is ridiculous. Bloody bandages pretending to be a Self Harmer – cutting wrists, drinking blood etc etc = it is all assigning serious issues to ‘fun’ ‘pretend’ or ‘fear’ and none of that is the case at all.

  • October 24, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Outstanding post! I couldn’t agree with you more. I also appreciated the other great comments.

    Re: this topic – A few days ago I checked out my local town newspaper headlines only because I noticed a Halloween-related one and I love Halloween.
    I read that someone my age who graduated from my alma mater University of California at Santa Cruz had a successful company (Trick or Treat Studios) that produces high-end masks. “Cool” I muttered. Little did I know what I’d find….

    I clicked to read the article.
    I noticed the owner does business with a company called “Halloween Asylum”.
    I looked up that company’s website. When it popped up I said, “WTF???”

    Check out their link:


    Check out the picture on the home page.

    I started writing a scathing comment in response to the Sentinel article because their mention of the company Halloween Asylum and their blind eye to such offensive stigma is wrong on so many levels, but then I freaked out. This is a small town and I run a DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) chapter. I don’t know this dumbsh*t owner, and while I’m paranoid, I worry about the consequences of writing about how I feel. I usually speak up, but this time I held back. I guess I could write under anonymous. Maybe I will because this sickens me.

    I hoped someone else would comment – there are several comments in response to the article along with the owner’s two cents:


    but nooooo…..they are going off about other things.

    Thank you again for speaking up and for pointing to the truth as usual. It’s beyond inspiring and important!

  • October 24, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Okay, I left a comment at the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

    “Hi there Chris, I graduated from UCSC the same year as you.

    I love Halloween – it’s my favorite holiday bar none, and I was loving this article until I reached the paragraph that mentioned “Halloween Asylum”. I located the store’s website.

    I find the store name, the image on the website’s home page, & the tagline offensive and all of that perpetuates mental illness stigma.

    As someone who lives with mental illness and as the founder of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Santa Cruz County, I ask you to please consider doing business with stores that don’t stigmatize mental illness. Better yet, as I realize you have a good working relationship with Nancy Cote @ Halloween Asylum (and I doubt you’re going to drop the account) perhaps you could share my thoughts with her.

    Nancy could be progressive and recognize it’s no longer cool to stigmatize mental illness; I doubt her revenue will drop, especially if she carries your merchandise, plus store names change all the time.

    I say it’s time for a change over @ Halloween Asylum.

    Thank you,

    Dyane Leshin-Harwood
    Founder, Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) of Santa Cruz County
    Member, International Society for Bipolar Disorders & The Marce Society for Perinatal Mental Health
    Author of “Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder” to be
    published by Post Hill Press, Fall, 2107″

  • October 25, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I have to agree that this is offensive and these costumes should be pulled off the shelves. More than that, though, who would think that such costumes are great ideas in the first place? These people should spend a day in a mental institution. Maybe a week. I fear that such drastic measures would serve no purpose in the end, though. Anyone who thinks such costumes are a great idea would only find justification in such beliefs. We have to educate young people that mental health is serious and not something to be made fun of or profited from in such a cavalier manner. Only better education can fix such problems and lift the stigma from mental illness.

  • October 26, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Excellent Article! Thank you so much for addressing these costumes and items. We have a petition online addressing such costumes (including the children’s Gone Mental costume) if you are interested: http://chn.ge/1LJ5m7v


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