Every October, we collectively go through another round of shock and awe in response to yet another inappropriate Halloween costume option. We’ve seen the Sexy Elmo, Sexy Eleven from "Stranger Things" and the marijuana leaf and cigarette costumes made for babies, but none of these have the emotional insensitivity as the recent introduction of an Anne Frank Halloween costume.
Yes, an Anne Frank costume for frickin' kids! The costume was recently pulled from the U.K. sites FunCostumes and HalloweenCostumes, which initially considered their “WW II Anne Frank Costume” educational. “We can all learn from someone like that!” and “Now, your child can play the role of a World War II hero” were a couple of the lines included in their description.
They certainly gave an upbeat spin on the depiction of one of history’s most revered victims.
“We sell costumes not only for Halloween but for many uses outside of the Halloween season, such as school projects and plays,” Ross Walker Smith (the PR representative for FunCostumes) stated in their defense. Understandable, yes? But this argument loses its power when paired with the sassy pose of the model and the use of spunky exclamation points in the descriptions.
It should be noted that Amazon (which is still selling the Halloween outfit) is calling the ensemble the “World War II Evacuee Girl Fancy Dress Costume.” I. Can’t. Even. Just the pairing of “evacuee girl” with “fancy dress” makes one shiver. Not only that, but the inspiration comes from one of the most heartbreaking (and relatable) stories of the Holocaust. Anne Frank’s life story, critics argue, is to be honored and remembered—not used as an opportunity for “dress up” and trick-or-treating.
Thankfully, consumers are mad, really mad about this kid-sized costume option. On Amazon’s page for the product, there are a variety of irate comments ranging from “Absolutely tasteless!” to “Disgraceful!” to more nuanced takes, such as this review from Fiona Burt: “Beyond shameful. Selling a costume based on a young woman who sadly did not survive a Nazi concentration camp. How is this a good idea? And more importantly, what were you thinking? If you have any decency, you will stop sales of these costumes and immediately remove them from your site. There are better ways to make a dollar. Profiting from the misery and death of others is not one of them.”
Yup, what Fiona said.