This Sexist Halloween Costume Has Been Criticised For Stigmatising Mental Illness

A London-based fancy dress company has been criticised for selling a Halloween outfit that perpetuates a negative perception of mental illness.
Escapade, which sells costumes and accessories online and from its north London store, is currently offering what it calls a "Zombie Nympho Costume" for Halloween.
Escapade's description for the costume adds to its sexist undertones, suggesting it can help the wearer to "present yourself as the seductive Goth."
The full description reads: "This sensual outfit expresses a lot of deep desires without you having to utter a single word. The wrap around arm is there for a meaning we would say; otherwise the urge is far too severe to control. The steamy dress is made of 100% polyester and comes with lace up collar. It also has a mock shrug. With a little Kohl and a lot of white make up, be sure to present yourself as the seductive Goth."
Advertisement
Escapade sells several other costumes containing the word "psycho" in their name, including one titled "Psycho Jester Chick." These costumes have been condemned by members of the Royal College of Psychiatry (RCS).
"The royals, reality TV stars, music stars, have done an excellent job in encouraging people to keep the conversation going about reducing stigma," Dr Tony Rao, a member of the RCS, told the BBC. "What these costumes are doing is portraying an ignorance of those with severe mental illness, which is still in some ways seriously misunderstood by the public."
A change.org petition titled "Stop Escapade Selling Stigmatising Costumes" has been launched, too.
At the time of writing, these costumes are still available to purchase from the Escapade website. Refinery29 has contacted the company to ask if it has plans to remove them from its range. This story will be updated if and when we receive a response.
Advertisement