The end of la Castanyada and dressing-up for the Apocalypse 2018-01-29T11:40:57+00:00

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Originally published on gentnormal.com
October 21, 2016

It’s La Castanyada time again, and you know what that means…

Time for a local tradition to be trumped by a sugary North American appropriation of a pagan ritual. Halloween! We North Americans really know how to get kids of all ages hooked… add some commercially produced candy with some polyester costumes and you’ve got yourself a worldwide phenomenon with which no one can compete. Not even the humble chestnut and sweet potato stand a chance when you can dress as a sexy pirate and gorge yourself on individually wrapped chocolates.

Younger generations are increasingly combining these two holidays or even sometimes grabbing the nearest jack-o-lantern and forfeiting La Castanyada altogether. Is Castaween the best of both worlds or a sign the apocalypse may be upon us?

I’ve got a lifetime of experience in the USA with the great Halloween. I’m here to inform you that almost as ancient as dressing-up for Halloween is the tradition of sporting totally offensive racist, sexist, classist costumes. Now that I’m in my third year living in Catalunya celebrating Halloweenyada, I’ve got international training to bring to the ‘taula’, taking these costume skills to a whole new level.

I’m here to share with you the most horribly amazing costuming that only white people would have the audacity to feel comfortable flaunting in public spaces. Inspired by the USA and unfortunately most likely coming soon to a Castaween near you (and if not, all you have to do is wait for Carnaval)…

THE INDIAN 

One well-placed feather and some moccasins. Simple, sexy and racist, what more could anyone ask for? Don’t be fooled by words like these of Native people, this costume says that you’re one with mother earth and all her hottest creations:

“How can we expect mainstream support for sovereignty, self-determination, Nation Building, tribally-controlled education, healthcare, and jobs when the 90% of Americans only view Native people as one-dimensional stereotypes, situated in the historic past, or even worse, situated in their imaginations? I argue that we can’t–and that, to me, is why Halloween matters.” 

Or

“Since white people have a long history of systematically exterminating and driving Native Americans off their own land, it’s pretty shitty to dress up as an inaccurate, ‘sexy’ stereotype of a Native American and get wasted.”  

THE RAPPER 

Never had to personally struggle against racism? Don’t have a single black friend or acquaintance? Have no idea about the history and origins of hip-hop being to combat white oppression? Use the n-word freely in your all-white circle of friends? Constantly insisting that you’re obviously not a racist? Then this is the disguise is for you!

Because it’s not enough we’ve stolen black music all the way from rock and roll to hip-hop. Let’s mock the most stereotypical fashion we all continually steal inspiration from too. Gold chains, backward hats, big hoop earrings, baggy pants, maybe even the notorious tooth ‘grill’. It doesn’t matter that black people are being shot in the streets for racial profiling because when white people wear it, it’s hilarious. Thug life!

Warning: likely to be confused for a member of P.A.W.N. GANG.

ANYTHING WITH BLACK OR BROWN FACE 

May I suggest dressing as the Conguitos or Negrita Rum mascot? Spain is a country of tradition and pride, and these two marketing campaigns are both. Why change a symbol that’s been used for ages only because it’s incredibly offensive and utilizes cartoon stereotypes that even the KKK are embarrassed to use publicly? This Halloweenyada, let’s prove that history proves that history is never wrong.


THE SNAKE CHARMER, ALSO KNOWN AS THE TALIBAN FIGHTER, ALSO KNOWN AS THE ISIS MEMBER, ALSO KNOWN AS THE PERSON WHO SELLS FRUIT AND VEGETABLES 

Wrap some fabric around your head and you have the trending topic costume. For this disguise, we don’t recommend painting your face brown because you could wind up being arrested, having someone try to buy beer from you, and verbally or physically assaulted if someone really thinks you’re from anywhere around the Morrocistan region. Keep your white skin and keep your rights.

THE GEISHA 

It’s unclear if this is a Chinese, Japanese, or Korean thing… but they’re basically all the same, right? Just look how successful Katy Perry was when she sported her own Geisha look on the red carpet:

“The thing is, while a bucket of toner can strip the geisha makeup off of Perry’s face, nothing can remove the demeaning and harmful iconography of the lotus blossom from the West’s perception of Asian women — a stereotype that presents them as servile, passive… unconditional’ worshippers of their men, willing to pay any price and weather any kind of abuse in order to keep him happy.” 

-Jeff Yang for The Wall Street Journal

THE RASTA MAN 

Everyone knows listening to reggae (Bob Marley) and smoking weed makes you a Rastafarian. Celebrate Bob Marley’s vision of political justice for black people by throwing on a wig of yarn dreads (or maybe you’re advanced enough to have real-life actual white people dreadlocks). And whatever you do, ignore the cries like these of black folks with locked hair:

“Now, I don’t know why white people choose to wear dreadlocks, but there seem to be a few reasons. If you wear dreadlocks as an appreciation of black culture, than by wearing dreadlocks and perpetuating white privilege as a result then aren’t you actually harming the black diaspora…? If you truly cared for black people and not just our culture you wouldn’t want to wear dreadlocks.

Secondly, if you wear dreadlocks because it “looks cool” then you’re still perpetuating white privilege and you’ve chosen to be ignorant of the significant contemporary history. I believe in equality and I am an advocate for it. I would love to be able to say “we can all share everything” as if we are equals, but we are not. Appropriating black culture and perpetuating privilege will not get us there.”

MEN DRESSING AS WOMEN 

A dress and some fake breasts, that’s all it takes to be a woman! Who knew it was so simple and hilarious! Make sure to prompt other people to squeeze your fake boobs to really perpetuate rape culture and male ownership over women’s bodies. In a time when ‘woman’ is considered a costume category, it’s clear we’re living in world of total equality! Add a dash of fat hate, and you’ll be the queen of Castaween!

The best part is you get to take the disguise off whenever you want and never have to worry about things like being paid less, rape, being verbally harassed on the street or at work, body issues and pressures, domestic violence, or other everyday sexisms that those crazy feminists are always complaining about.

Every day is white privilege day, but on this special day, we get to really show the world that we white people can take whatever we want, from whatever culture, whenever we want. And anyone who says anything differently is obviously just not nice, too sensitive, and takes life too seriously. I mean, when has mocking another culture lead to something not awesome!?

Having a hard time choosing between all these amazing ideas? Have no fear, Carnaval is right around the corner!

Any favorites I’ve missed? Add them below!

Not sure if your costume is racist enough? Here’s a handy flowchart.

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