Image 1 of 10: Suicide bomber- In very few circles is blowing one’s self up with the intention of killing and maiming large swaths of people a laughing matter. If dressing up like a suicide bomber is your idea of a joke, it is probably best to go back to the drawing board and also to seek professional help.
Image 1 of 10: Sexy Abaya- All the women looking for a quick, make-a-statement kind of costume with the Abaya (over-dress cape ) and mini skirt combo -- don’t. Righteous on top and Risque on the bottom will not go over well when you ring the doorbell at the local Imam’s house. It’ll be all tricks and no treating for this 'harama-mama'.
Image 1 of 10: Osama Bin Laden- OMG, you’re OBL! If you’re for looking for LOLs in the Arab world with this guise, think again. Somehow the verdict is still out on ol’ bin Laden in these circles, so if mirroring Al Qaeda’s former number one is your great idea, it’s best to save that long white beard for December's Christmas party.
Image 1 of 10: Saddam Hussein - Have you already bought the big black moustache and bushy eyebrows for what you thought would be an amazing Saddam satire? Keep the tache, buy some red overalls and go as Super Mario. Mr. Hussein is still highly revered by some Arabs and thus, out of bounds. There are plenty of other dictators to chose from.
Image 1 of 10: Khaleeji/Bedouin dress- Thobes n burkas: Dressing up like an old school Arab might work in NYC, but rocking the traditional garb at a costume party in the ME is downright lame. It lacks creativity, style and the foresight that an actual Bedouin might be there and mistake you for his uncle. Go native or folklore at the next 'dabke' dance instead.
Image 1 of 10: Twin Towers: You and your other tall friend shrouding yourselves in long black boxes, painting on windows and adding smoke may be funny to those hopefully few fans of the flames that destroyed the world trade center on 9/11 but it’s perhaps the worst idea ever for Halloween attire in the ME or wherever for that matter. Stick to Twin Peaks.
Image 1 of 10: 72 virgins - Putting the sheer impossibility of scoring 72 willing chicks to dress in long white dresses aside, this idea is dead in the water. Since the majority of Arabs are Muslim and this get-up can be perceived as a mockery of their afterlife optimism -- comic relief notwithstanding, it’s best to leave this inspiration in its virgin state.
Image 1 of 10: Bashar Assad- Grow in a Hitler moustache, get your chin surgically removed and you’re a spitting image of Syria’s Bashar Assad, right? Slow down there Master of Disguises. Prancing around as a reigning dictator still raining down chemical weapons on his people might not win you first prize in the ‘Best Costume’ category. Too soon, too soon.
Image 1 of 10: Orthodox Jew - Going door to door as the man every Arab loves to hate most likely won’t result in any love lost. Not just a little off in PC stakes, this straight-laced look may leave you in a grizzly situation in hostile spots lacking peace treaties with their Jewish neighbor state. Stick to the classic universal Greek toga instead!
Image 1 of 10: Gay- Tight jeans, tight shirt and gelled hair might translate into a gay man in America but in the Sahara, that’s just some young STRAIGHT dude. Chances are that when you tell people you’re going as a homosexual, every other guy in tight pants will take violent offense.
With Halloween around the corner, the hot topic of conversations across the global party scene is “what are you going to dress up as”. It’s no different in the Middle East quarters for disciples of this pagan festival and indiscriminate party people!- expats and denizens of the Arab world - alike.
But the potential for getting it wrong is rife as the growing catalogue of creative costumes can be a minefield for political and fashion faux pas -- Prince Harry’s Gestapo gaffe only reminded us that it’s never going to be socially acceptable to pull off a Nazi number. In the politically and religiously charged Middle East where dictator get-ups or dodgy draws like the classic ‘terrorist’ present themselves at every news bulletin, we thought it fitting to put out a cautionary panel of potential Halloween hazards - the horrors that are costume slip-ups best slipped-off! Here, easy costume wins can easily lose you your street cred and friend groups in a society steeped in sensitivities and riddled in red-lines.
So enjoy the night of spooks and keep it footloose and fancy-free, but smarten up your fancy-dress sense -- dress to impress, not to offend.
Every new Halloween season brings the opportunity to overachieve in the realm of costume mayhem. Just be careful that you don’t go so far as to suggest you’ve been completely possessed. There IS a line...and if you want to cross it, try these “over the top” and mostly offensive getups. Or don’t.
Make sure that liberal and daring don’t spill over into tacky and oh-no-you-didn’t
! The no-no’s and blips to avoid this Halloween in our horror show costume parade from the Muslim kinky to the Arab slinky.