Walmart is under fire for their latest Halloween costume. The retail company began selling in their online store last week a makeup set titled “Razor Blade Suicide Scar Wound Latex Costume Make Up,” which imitated the appearance of self-harm scars. They have since removed it from their store.
Walmart offers other latex applications that simulate wounds, such as gunshots and burns, but none are as controversial as their third-party offering this year. According to Snopes, despite Walmart removing the makeup from their site, it is still available on numerous others, including Rakuten and Totally Costumes.
As the shocking costume made its way around social media, some articles began calling out the insensitive costume. The Mighty published an article titled “A Response to the ‘Suicide Scar’ Costume Makeup Being Sold on Walmart.com” in which they described the horridness of making a costume out of a mental illness.:
“Every single year, it’s the same thing. Mental illness becomes the punchline of a joke, or the theme of a horror attraction. This year, Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags did the right thing, shutting down their horrific asylum-themed virtual reality attractions when advocates expressed justified outrage. A representative from Six Flags explained the company’s decision to me in an email: “This is a good lesson for us all about perpetuating stereotypes, and we apologize to anyone that we may have offended.
This is a lesson that Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, desperately needs to learn. A picture of a “razor blade suicide scar wound latex costume make up” (I won’t link to it, because it is a real trigger) is the latest and most egregious example of the ongoing battles people with mental illness and their loved ones must face to educate the public about the reality of mental health conditions.”
Another article from Scary Mommy titled “Hey Wal-Mart, Suicide Is Not A Costume” detailed how the costume not only shows scars, but it depicts a suicide attempt. They wrote:
“Apparently Wal-Mart thinks suicide’s a joke. This year, their Halloween store is selling a latex prosthetic of slit wrists called “Razor Blade Suicide Scar Wound Latex Costume Make Up” (sold and shipped by Totally Costumes). The photo featured in the ad shows the deep wounds, two in number. But there’s more: The product listing not only shows the prosthetic, it depicts a suicide attempt. Poised at the end of one of the slashes is a hand holding a razor blade — not included in costume. Its occasion is listed as “Party.”
Suicide is not a joke, indeed. Suicide is not a costume. Joke about zombies. Jokes about chainsaws. Joke about bloody knives and swords, please, but don’t pretend you’ve attempted or succeeded in killing yourself, the end result of intense mental anguish and misery. It’s not cute to pretend to rip yourself away from life, from your family, from your friends. And more importantly, it’s a grave insult to those who have made the terrible decision to take their own lives, and left us all bereft.”
A Change.org petition was also started to get the makeup set removed from Walmart’s site. In the petition, the organizers wrote, “This is not just a disgrace to the sensitivity to those who suffer from self-harm, but a shame on Walmart for making light of the situation. This ‘costume’ is real life for many people, many people who are contemplating volumes higher than self-harm. Suicide is not a joke, not a costume, and not funny.”
Before Walmart removed the costume makeup from their online store, social media expressed how appalled they were that it was being sold in the first place.
Twitter Reacts to Walmart’s “Suicide Scar Wound” Costume
— Steve Miller (@SteveDrinksBeer) October 21, 2016
— #JourneyToSobriety (@I_AmStruggling) October 22, 2016
Hey @Walmart your Halloween "suicide sleeve" is disgusting and immoral, FYI.
— allie (@lavenderrpages) October 22, 2016
— The Olympic Tavern (@OlympicTavern) October 22, 2016
— Stephanie Allen (@StephyOrtez) October 22, 2016
— Julie Anderson: Curator of Fierce, Writer of Words (@1JULIEANDERSON) October 22, 2016
— J.M. Hanson (@jmhansonbooks) October 22, 2016
— Sky Scratcher (@ELECTR0N1TE) October 22, 2016
— Janelle Jensen (@Janelle_Jensen) October 22, 2016
— #ImNotAshamed (@teamnotashamed) October 22, 2016
— Allison Clough (@AllisonClough) October 22, 2016
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for adolescents between 15 and 19 years old and according to Mental Health America, skin cutting is the leading method of self-injury. Millions of people suffer from mental illness every day and insensitive Halloween costumes do nothing to remove the stigma attached to it.
What are your thoughts on the controversy? Sound off in the comments section below!