This year offers a new threat: the Ferguson protester costume, complete with "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" sign, live-streaming smartphone and anti-tear gas mask.
Before you decide to translate anger over police shootings in Ferguson and Shaw into your get-up for the scariest night of the year, Daily RFT requests that you give a little thought to your choice.
Here are nine questions you should ask yourself before dressing like a Ferguson protester for Halloween, complete with recommendations for anyone who answers, yes:
1. Did I protest with Michael Brown supporters?
Get more creative. You are a Ferguson (or Shaw, or downtown, or wherever) protester. Halloween is about assuming a new identity. Take a chance. Dress like a unicorn.
2. Did I protest with Darren Wilson supporters?
No. Just no. Tell your friends you thought about a protester costume, laugh, and then pick something else to bash.
3. Did I at any point consider dressing in blackface as part of my costume?
If you answered yes to this question, you should not dress as a Ferguson protester for Halloween. In fact, your Halloween costume privileges are officially revoked.
4. Do I drink? A lot?
Dressing like a Ferguson protester makes you a target for drunks who want to scream their "take" from the last three months of unrest. Even if you agree with these drunks, you'll likely be caught in a vortex of incoherent arguments all night long. And if you're drunk yourself, you're setting yourself up for unnecessary disaster. Choose a costume that's fun to talk about while drinking, like an anti-Prohibition protester from the 1920s.
5. Am I trying to be funny?
There's nothing funny about police brutality or racism, and it's impossible to play a Ferguson protester without invoking those two things. If you're going for humor, choose something from a John Oliver sketch, like a shady pageant organizer or FIFA czar.
6. Am I trying to be provocative?
Let's get this one straight: Michael Brown's death and the protests that followed were provocative. You are not provocative for referencing them in your costume. Choose something less lazy.
7. Am I trying to be topical?
Get some scrubs and dress like a doctor treating Ebola instead.
8. Am I comfortable with someone getting violently angry with me over my costume?
We hope not. Choose something that won't get you punched.
9. Do I have any other ideas for costumes?
Choose one of those.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.