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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all! My husband and I have decided this year's theme is "The Curse of the Voodoo Bayou." We got super excited about everything we can do with it prop and decor-wise, and I got equally excited about doing priest / priestess costumes. So here's my question - are we going to offend people?

As a lover of all things costumes, I am often on the side of - "who cares if people get offended, it's a costume for goodness sakes!" but with the rise in offense over black face, Indian costumes, Egyptian costumes, etc. I never know what's okay.

Yes, we're white. I know our circle of friends won't think twice about it, but the land of the interwebs is very different. I'd love to produce something everyone loves, not just our circle of friends. Help me!

These photos are some inspiration (not us!)

Fictional character Costume Art Fictional character Art Spawn Fiction Illustration
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I don't know if dressing up as a voodoo deity is culturally inappropriate since someone like Baron Samedi covers his face in a skeleton face. As long as you stay away from actual black face, like Al Jolson or worse, you should be OK.

There have been plenty here that have done a voodoo/bayou/swamp theme, I'm sure if you search you can find the threads or the folks that have done it will come along with some help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't know if dressing up as a voodoo deity is culturally inappropriate since someone like Baron Samedi covers his face in a skeleton face. As long as you stay away from actual black face, like Al Jolson or worse, you should be OK.

There have been plenty here that have done a voodoo/bayou/swamp theme, I'm sure if you search you can find the threads or the folks that have done it will come along with some help.
That's helpful, thank you.
 

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You should be fine, the look you're going for is more Halloween/scary than it is a recreation of an actual way of dress. That being said Halloween is tricky anymore in terms of who gets offended. Some people get upset at hanging bodies (a Halloween classic), or props (looking-in-the-window-face prop last year, Distortions run over dog before that), but the costume outrage is becoming very prevalent in recent years. There's just no telling anymore. Sounds like you have the right attitude and some good designs to use as inspiration, be sure to post pictures when you're done!
 

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As someone who has done this theme, I'd also advise avoiding the black face, and would suggest leaning away from Baron Samedi and more toward a general witch-doctor of indistinct source. (Less straight up suit and tophat, more Mola Ram, or somewhere between the two. Yes, I know Mola Ram is not Voodoo, but hollywood blurs the lines for the general public)

If you're stuck, go with a dark purple and/or green to offset your skull faces instead of black. You get a unique look that still can get the idea across.
 

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As someone who has done this theme, I'd also advise avoiding the black face, and would suggest leaning away from Baron Samedi and more toward a general witch-doctor of indistinct source. (Less straight up suit and tophat, more Mola Ram, or somewhere between the two. Yes, I know Mola Ram is not Voodoo, but hollywood blurs the lines for the general public)

If you're stuck, go with a dark purple and/or green to offset your skull faces instead of black. You get a unique look that still can get the idea across.
Some good suggestions.
 

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I dunno, I would do it. I don't care what SJWs do or say though. Personally for Baron Samedi the black is supposed to be shadow to create the illusion of a living skeleton. If someone thinks you're doing black face because of that then they're off their rocker and just looking for something to be offended over. At the end of the day, there's an old haunter motto we all should stand by - know you're audience. If you're on the west coast, home of the SJW, play it safe, everyone gets offended at everything there. New England area? You'd probably be OK. Mid-west, it's hit or miss. Gulf states, you're perfectly safe except maybe Florida. Not sure about Texas though.
 

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You never "Know"?
I walked into a very old mask shop, and there was a mask of a Black man, from the "Ubangi"? Tribe (Africa) The ones who stretch out their lips with plates?
I asked the store manager:"Doesn't this offend your Black customers?"
"No, who do you think buys "most of these masks? "
The country of origin was France, I believe?
 
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It's pretty tough to find any aspect of Halloween that won't offend someone. I've seen people on here be offended by princess and superhero costumes. Yeah, voodoo is some people's religion, but there are Catholic nun, monk, and priest costumes out there, too. Whatever your theme, if you're not doing it to ridicule anyone (or, as in the case of blackface, using anything that has historically been used to ridicule anyone), I'd say you're probably doing just fine.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I don't care what SJWs do or say though. If you're on the west coast, home of the SJW, play it safe, everyone gets offended at everything there..
SJW? Really? Your political leanings are showing Terromaster, be careful.

We like to keep that stuff outta the forums so I'll just say I agree on knowing your audience Terrormaster. Every place has conservative & liberals & they can ALL be offended by Halloween in some fashion.

It's the one thing that brings everyone here together which in this day & age is a comfort & a nice change. We've all been given crap of some sort about our chosen holiday & if it wasn't you personally that got crapped on, we all know the stories of a home haunter being shut down or violating some HOA garbage with just "normal" decorations that aren't even remotely scary, bloody, gory or political. Many are posted here, you just gotta google.
 

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If you care enough to actually worry about it, I'll be honest and say yes, it will be offensive to a lot of people. It would be offensive to someone who practices Voodoo as their religion. It would be cultural appropriation. Not everyone will be offended by it but I have seen Voodoo-esque costumes usually complained about in the same breath as Native American feather headdresses, etc..

I do not practice Voodoo and I am not presuming to speak for anyone that does, this is just what I have seen spoken of by people that do. Really if you want a definitive answer you'd have to ask a practitioner, but the following is a good common sense guideline that almost always works in lieu:

The rule of thumb is if it's someone's race, it is not a costume. If it is someone's religion, it is not a costume.***


*** If you want a more indepth explanation PM me. I'd be happy to discuss it with you, but can't elaborate without upsetting someone here.
 

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I by no means find it offensive...actually I myself have toyed with the very idea of doing a full on voodoo on the bayou theme...even got as far as making a few props...then I had a few people tell me they wouldn't attend our party based on the voodoo aspect. Now who knows if they were offended or just worried we were gonna sacrifice a chicken...but it stopped me dead in my tracks. Eventually I will do the theme, guests or no guests ;) but again know your audience...not everyone will like it (and that's okay)....

As for the face makeup (to create the skeleton look) I find it no different than sugar skulls (which we've done several times and never had any complaints
 

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siiiigh..... Why does this even have to be an issue?

If it were me I would do it. And if I had any friends who were that thin skinned to be offended (which I dont) they wouldnt be invited anyway.

Do what you want and dont let anyone dictate what you consider fun. As long as you are not harming anyone physically or creating a nuisance, its noone elses business .
 

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IMHO, short of race, everything is fair game for Halloween. I've been seeing a lot of this "culture appropriation" nonsense and it's exactly that - NONSENSE as you cannot appropriate culture. We have freedom of speech and expression. We are artists in a sense and it's our interpretation. You can't please everyone, especially in this overly hyper-sensitive world we find ourselves in today. But I'm anything but politically correct and feel that people should be able to

Again, know your audience. I grew up in New Orleans and wouldn't think twice about doing a Voodoo theme - it's incredibly common their still. Google "Necropolis 13" in Baton Rouge, LA which is part of the 13th Gate. Check out the Voodoo ceremony of said haunted house on YouTube. It's good stuff. They have an entire maze built in the style of New Orleans above ground cemeteries. It's incredibly popular and on my must visit list if I'm ever back home during the high holiday season.

So no, I don't find it offensive at all. Then again, I didn't find the Maui (from Moana) skin-suit costume offensive last year either. And like I said before. If someone thinks you're doing black-face by using black for shadows in skull face makeup they're just trying to pick a fight. Give them enough rope and we'll never be able to apply black makeup to our faces for anything if we're white. Bottom line is black makeup is part of it. So much so, even those of African decent use it despite that their skin is already dark:



-TM
 

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I am doing a "Terror on the Bayou" theme this year as well. I have never even consider this issue. Probably because I have had a handful of "voodoo doll & witch doctor" type costumes show up over the last several years. Plus is a bloody head on a pike doesn't offend you, I feel that your not allowed to be offended over something so trivial haha


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We did the whole swamp/voodoo theme a couple of years ago complete with actors walking on "hot" coals while, a soundtrack of chanting and voodoo music, zombies and even Marie Leveau. Everyone who came gave very positive feedback and we got absolutely no complaints. We live in Dallas, so I'm not sure if people here are a little more tolerant, or if they just knew and appreciated the amount of work that obviously went into the whole set-up. In any case, we've had people ask us if we will be doing that particular theme again soon. They're actually disappointed to learn that we do something different every year and rarely repeat a theme.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We did the whole swamp/voodoo theme a couple of years ago complete with actors walking on "hot" coals while, a soundtrack of chanting and voodoo music, zombies and even Marie Leveau. Everyone who came gave very positive feedback and we got absolutely no complaints. We live in Dallas, so I'm not sure if people here are a little more tolerant, or if they just knew and appreciated the amount of work that obviously went into the whole set-up. In any case, we've had people ask us if we will be doing that particular theme again soon. They're actually disappointed to learn that we do something different every year and rarely repeat a theme.
That sounds amazing!


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