The 8 Most Offensive Asian Halloween Costumes

Halloween is coming up and while most of us use this holiday as an opportunity to dress like sluts, a select number of people like to use it to dress up in the most offensive outfits. No, I’m not talking about Nazi uniforms or aborted baby costumes (though I would like to see a aborted Nazi baby one day). I’m talking about those horrific “Asian” inspired Halloween costumes that make your blood boil and your eyes roll. I compiled some of my favorites after the jump.

1. Adult Japanese Lady Costume

I tried to avoid the whole sexy Geisha costumes since they’re so overdone but this “Japanese Lady” costume caught my eye. For one thing, she’s wearing a cheongsam style dress, which is Chinese which is not Japanese and therefore, WTF is this dress. Also, the obi sash around a cheongsam? No.

2. Sexy Asian Empress Costume

So while the Japanese Lady costume at least had some sort of authentic style (albeit from a completely different country and culture), I’m still trying to wrap my head around this Sexy Asian Empress outfit. The cut off sleeves? The halter top? The frog fasteners on the waist? What is going on here, did she get in a fight with a buffet table cloth and lose?

I’m not offended only over the sexualization (is that a word) and exotification (is that a word, too?) of Asian women with these slinky outfits. I’m also offended that these cheap manufacturers thought they could pass this off as legitimately “Asian” costumes. It’s 2011, people. China will eventually take over the world. Could you at least Google your facts before you make this stuff?



3. Chinese Take-Out Costume

Okay, it’s one thing to try to dress like an Oriental slut but it’s a whole ‘nother problem if you try to dress like an slutty take-out container of Chinese food. Like seriously. WTF. Does this mean I can dress up like a sexy Tupperware container holding meatloaf leftovers now? No, wait. I’m going to be a slutty frozen TV dinner. Help me decide!

4. China Man Costume

I’m kind of baffled that this Chinaman costume is still being made and sold today. And being worn…at least by that model in the picture. Seriously, though. If I see a non-Asian guy wearing this at a Halloween party, I would…Wait. Let me take that back. No one ever invites me to their Halloween party. Wah. While the photograph of the guy is small, it looks like they first attempt to draw Chinese characters on the guys shirt, and then they realize that accuracy doesn’t scale and just scribble random lines for the other characters. ALL ROOK SAME.

5. Little Geisha Beauty Costume

Really? Really? REALLY? If I’m going to talk about offensive Asian-inspired Halloween costumes, I have to talk about the geisha outfits for children. CHILDREN. LITTLE KIDS. AMERICA’S YOUTH. These innocent babies who have no idea what a geisha is or that they were basically glorified prostitutes! Women educated for the sole purpose of entertaining men! Okay, I don’t know if any of this is true because that’s all I learned from Memoirs of a Geisha, but the point is this costume is just as bad as dressing your child up as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

6. Golden Buddha Costume

I’m not a religious person but I do believe that Buddha statues have been appropriated and misused in our culture, even if it’s to create a zen-like ambiance with a Buddha shaped fountain or wear a cool t-shirt design. Don’t people realize that Buddha is a religious figure for a significant part of the world? How come people are offended when others dress up as Jesus but it’s perfectly okay for someone to wear this shiny gold costume depicting the founder of Buddhism? Oh, hai guys. Would anyone be offended is I dressed up as the Crucifixion for Halloween? Yeah? Oh.

7. Fu Manchu Mustache

Do I really have to explain why this one is offensive? No.

8. Chinese Bamboo Hat

American Apparel may try to make the rice paddy hat a cool accessory to wear to any hipster party, but let’s be real. This hat isn’t cool. It’s racist. It conjures up the images of slant-eyed, buck teethed, yellow faced foreigner stereotypes. Remember the infamous Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts? How about the representation of coolies in American history? While people in Asia may still wear this hat for its original purpose, the prominent use on this “Ching Chong hat” in anti-Asian caricatures in our culture is enough to deem it offensive. This rice paddy hat falls into the same category as these “Indian” costumes and this “Hey Amigo” outfit. Yeah, no thanks.

Hey, kids. Especially you non-Asian ones. The second you think about dressing up as something from our culture, just STOP and REMEMBER:

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About Moye

I am a Japanese-American girl who was born, raised and is most probably stuck in traffic right this second in Los Angeles. I'm currently one of the co-editors of 8Asians and like to distract myself with good food, reading long books, playing video games, catching up on celebrity news, choosing my new new haircut and then writing all about it on Hello Moye and sometimes here on Twitter if I can get it in under 140 words or less. You can reach me at moye[at]
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