The most offensive Halloween costumes of all time

Halloween costumes are difficult to get right. Get it wrong and you'll be the only Smurf at the party

halloween smurf costume

"Oh for smurf's sake. You tell me it's a mother-smurfing costume contest and I show up like this, and you all show up dressed like smurfing smurfs. This smurfs. Smurf all you smurfs." *

*In the above sentence the word smurf has been substituted for the f-word, several c-words and the word 'prostitutes'. That was one mighty angry Smurf.

Dressing up for Halloween sucks. No-one likes the genuinely terrifying costumes, such as "man with concealed knife" and "person who stands ever so slightly too close to you when they talk, and occasionally whispers the word 'blood'."

Other costumes end relationships, like going with your girlfriend dressed up as "commitment" and telling everyone it's the only thing that wakes you up to the sound of your own blood-curdling screams.

Then there are ones which are so wilfully offensive they'll get you into the national newspapers. Below are a few tips on what to avoid this Halloween, provide by students and celebrities who didn't avoid them.

Dressing up as the twin towers on fire is always offensive

Two students at Chester University won best dressed at a halloween costume contest, whilst dressed as the Twin Towers on fire.

The students said: "We never meant to be offensive, but we apologise if any offence was caused.

"The idea was to depict a serious, modern-day horror that happened in our lifetime and was not intended as a joke."

Ah yes, I see it. The costumes are a sombre attempt to depict a terrible day for the world, whilst their happy smiling faces depict the eventual triumph of liberty and justice over terror. Bravo; it's like a Horizon documentary about 9/11, distilled into costume form.

Tragic deaths are not costume ideas

Most people read the news to stay informed. Others, apparently, just browse through the stories of tragedy, genocide and destruction looking for costume ideas.

Students at Portland last year, during the height of the ebola panic, dressed up as people tackling the ebola virus, parading around campus and causing mass panic.

student ebola costume

When fellow students thought better of them and asked them if they were just terrible astronaut costumes, the students insisted they were "meant to be ebola nurses", clearly proud of what they'd done.

Tragic celebrity deaths are not costume ideas

Bill Maher, famous for his chat shows in America, must have been elated when he saw Steve Irwin had been killed by a stingray. "Bang", he must have thought "Halloween costume done."

This is how he dressed a month after Irwin's death:

Bill Maher Steve Irwin

'Should I... yeah... it's fine. People will get the point I'm making here. I should probably send a selfie to his widow.'

Bill refused to back down and apologise for the costume, saying "Stop hassling me about my Halloween costume... People who really love animals understand if you get killed by one, chances are you were doing something to it you shouldn't have been."

Drug addiction is less amusing than Adrianne Curry thinks

Bill Maher at least waited, respectfully, for the celebrity he was mocking to die. Adrianne Curry clearly thought she had a costume idea so great it couldn't wait.

Adrienne Curry Amy Winehouse

Yep, that's US model Adrienne Curry mocking troubled drug addict Amy Winehouse, gleefully injecting what appears to be Ribena.

York students and white celebrities love to show up in blackface for some inexplicable reason

Everyone loves the film cool runnings. It's about a team of amateur Jamaican bobsledders who against all odds make it to the olympics, and then against all odds lose the olympics spectacularly. It's up-lifting.

No matter how much you love it, though, it it's imperative that you never show that love through blacking yourself up.

That's what these students from York did, and the results are offensive, as you can plainly see:

cool runnings halloween costume

What's weird is that wearing this costume at Halloween implies that the one thing that really terrifies these people is non-white bobsled teams.

Students at Edinburgh did a similarly offensive costume idea, dressing as Somali pirates:

student somali pirates offensive

And again celebrities are just as offensive. Here's Ted Danson from 3 Men and a Baby

ted danson 3 men and a baby

Picture taken the very moment he realised what this might do to his career. No-one wants to make '2 Men, 1 Blacked Up Man, a Baby and Child Protective Services'

And here's Julianne Hough, self-proclaimed "actress", dressed as a character from Orange is the New Black despite there being a wide range of caucasian characters to choose from:

julianne hough orange new black

This is still by far the best work she's ever done. Don't believe me? Try watching Burlesque...

Alternative to racist costumes:

Go as a spooky ghost...

...but be very careful when selecting a hat, unlike this teacher in the 70s.

Costumes that got out of control

A problem with dress-up is that some people go full on method actor and the costume takes control.

That's what happened to one drama student in 2011, who was dressed as the Incredible Hulk. He went on a full-on rampage and smashed a car to pieces.

student hulk rampage

Police were unsure whether to charge the man, or applaud him for staying in character.

The Alternative

If you get too into character when you dress up, try a less destructive costume, like this guy did:

student batman costume

He's a man genuinely handing over a wanted criminal whilst dressed as Batman in 2013.

Cheap alternative costumes

Got a zipper and a face? Why not go as zipper face:

zipper face halloween costume

You'll also need fake blood and some cheap face-paints. View this tutorial for more details.

Keep it simple

Sometimes a pen and a shirt are a costume:

geek halloween costume

Go digital

Create a digital costume downloading a digital costume app, then hiding a phone

digital halloween costume idea

facetime halloween costume

Or put an hole in your chest using two iPads, by making them Facetime each other

If you absolutely have to have an offensive costume, put it on an adorable child

If you absolutely have to see your offensive costume idea realised (maybe an image of a dead celebrity dressed up as a Mexican and having an abortion during the Pearl Harbour attacks flashed into your mind, and won't go away till you see it in costume form), take a leaf out of these people below.

They put their offensive costume ideas onto children, making anyone who views it far too broody to be offended.

Heisenbaby only offended people because they're babies, dealing 'meth', but they're still far too cute to invoke anger:

baby breaking bad costume

Who's my little meth kingpin? You are, Heisenbaby, you're my little meth kingpin.

Parents of these kids posted photos on Facebook as a joke, only to find them go viral when Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse on Breaking Bad, posted every single photo on his Pinterest page.

Then there's Baby Hitler:

baby halloween hitler costume

Look at this toddler dressed up as Hitler and tell me you don't still want to hug his tiny, jew-hating face.

So, grab a niece or nephew, bring him to the union and get costuming. Don't though. Seriously, please don't do that. Stay in, grab a free Cadbury's Screme egg and try to eat it in a non-offensive way, for god's sake.

Like this? Check out the best Halloween costumes of the year...