Monday Mood News: “Scary Asylums” and Other Mental Illness-Related Halloween Bad Practices

October 31, 2016

Today is Halloween, and with the holiday comes a number of controversial costumes. From famous people to costumes of varying degrees of taste, there’s one segment of Halloween’s “fright night” costumes and attractions we’d like to see go away: anything and everything mental illness-related.

From news reports of “Asylum” attractions connected to theme parks to “mental patient” costumes, it’s time to retire these antiquated notions of what mental illness looks like. Not only can this type of imagery¬†create terrifying misunderstandings¬†in the minds of those who attend, but it mocks the real pain and suffering of those who must live with mental health-related concerns. There’s nothing fun about a straight jacket. There’s nothing entertaining about illnesses that work against the mind. Really. It’s time for these Halloween “attractions” to stop, and for real information and education to take their place.

We’re not trying to take the fun out of Halloween. Quite the contrary: we’re hoping for an inclusive holiday where everyone can have sweets, maybe delight in a little spooky fun, and feel accepted regardless of any pre-existing condition. You wouldn’t think a “cancer patient” costume was in good taste, right? Let’s finally retire these costumes to the past and focus on education and acceptance. That’s a Halloween we can certainly get behind.