Today In Dubious Trend Stories: Ebola Halloween Costumes

Say you’re in the Halloween business. You’ve got some 2013 leftovers just lying around, like those old yellow hazmat suits from Breaking Bad. You’re not the kind of person to just let some medium-quality plastic getups go to waste, are you? Of course you’re not! You, according to the Detroit Free Press, “predict Halloweeners will repurpose” the old Walt-n-Jesse masks, jumpsuits and gloves “for takes on Ebola.”

Wait, what?

One retailer, BrandsOnSale, is selling a nifty little Ebola look for just $79.99. It’s ready for immediate shipment!

Note this description (emphasis added):

“You are sure to be prepared if any outbreak happens at your Halloween party. This will literally be the most ‘viral’ costume of the year.

This sounds terrible. A little too terrible. Insta-meme-ably terrible.

You can tell how designed for outrage-sparking this non-costume is by the way all the headlines about it say the costumes are “sparking controversy.” Controversy must always be sparked, much like social media users must always “take to Twitter.” Those are AP Style rules.


Obviously people make stupid costume decisions all the time — the white kids in blackface, the Asiana Airlines flight crew members, the Boston Marathon victims — so the fact that this Ebola idea is stupid isn’t, in and of itself, proof that it’s all a PR stunt. But from the idiotic costume to the bogus-sounding evidence (“leftover Breaking Bad hazmat suits,” as if people wouldn’t just dress up like Heisenberg again) to the too-atrocious-not-to-quote product description… well, it is possible that all those bad-taste stars could align. But pretty unlikely.

BrandsOnSale (safe to say it is not the world’s most well-known costume retailer) is probably just going through the motions of having terrifically bad taste just to get all of us to bop over to their site and, as long as we’re in the neighborhood, click around until we land on something that’s only in moderately bad taste, like something definitely not racially insensitive from the “International Costumes” department.

What really clinches it is this quote from BrandsOnSale chief executive Jonathan Weeks, who told the Free Press to expect “a toddler ISIS costume in the works… I can tell you it will come complete with a fake machine gun.”

So rest assured, you shouldn’t expect to stumble across anyone dressed like a “sexy Ebola patient” or somesuch awful, horrendous thing this October 31. Odds are much higher that you’ll bump into see a lady in lingerie with a fuzzy ear headband, because she’s a mouse, duh.