A Halloween Scare

Halloween can be a scary time of year, and I’m not just referring to the ghouls and goblins preparing to roam my neighborhood in search of sweets.

PR executives at national retailer Target got quite a fright a few weeks ago after an offensive costume appeared on the company’s Web site. Alongside the pointed witches hats and vampire fangs appeared an “illegal alien” costume, consisting of an extraterrestrial mask, orange jump suit and official green card.

Being a professor on a college campus that is known for its parties, I’ve seen my share of slightly offensive, but amusing costumes. But usually these are creative, homemade creations, not something you can grab off of a rack for $29.99.

Target officials pulled the costume after receiving complaints from the Latino community and quickly issued an apology, stating that the costume was never intended to be sold at Target or via the Web site. Regardless, they learned a tough lesson: sometimes the scariest Halloween costume doesn’t involve blood and gore.

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