Heidi Klum, the Queen of Halloween (Getty Images)
In the regular world, Halloween is a night where children experience their first brush with diabetes and adults begrudgingly haul themselves to a party at the home of a friend whose drunken antics haven’t been cute since college. In the world of celebrity, it is a two-week affair in which each star tries to outdo the other with elaborate costumes. And every year it ends the same way: Heidi Klum wins, while another celeb is roundly chastised for an ill-advised or straight up offensive costume, looking like a cautionary tale from a university sociology course. So here’s a plea to all the soon-to-be paparazzi’d-and-Instagrammed celebs out there who are planning their Halloween outfits: Let’s finally learn from past scandalized stars’ mistakes and keep Halloween on the more inclusive side of fun, shall we?
Julianne Hough as ‘Orange Is the New Black’s’ Suzanne 'Crazy Eyes’ Warren (Pacific Coast News)
We’ll start with the easy stuff: just don’t paint your face black. Great, glad that’s settled.
As far as other cultures go, things can be a little more complicated. So here’s a handy mnemonic: No Other People’s Ethnicities, or NOPE for short. Wanna be a Native American for Halloween? NOPE! Another culture is not something to try on for giggles as one would a Hogwarts robe or a Wonder Woman costume.
In fact, let’s expand this to say, Halloween is not an excuse to join any racial/socioeconomic/political class that wields less power than your own. We see you, Dwight Howard.
Dwight Howard, no (Twitter)
And then there are the topical joke-costumes that aren’t funny at all.
Ripped-from-the-headlines outfits provide ample opportunity to add a little humor to All Hallow’s Eve. For example, grab a bag of ice and a red shirt and you’re Netflix and chill. Extra bonus: Your drink will stay cold all night. But if you’re thinking about going as a lion whose death-by-braggy-hunter was mourned nationally, you’re going to get plenty of blowback. Just ask Ashley Benson.
Ashley Benson as Cecil the lion (Instagram)
Edgy humor is always going to make someone upset, and outrage is the first language of the Internet, so if you don’t feel like spending a week explaining what you meant, maybe just go as Raggedy Ann? No one’s ever been upset about Raggedy Ann.
Have a happy Halloween, Hollywood, and stay safe out there. Though, as we all know, time is a flat circle and the only real guarantee is that this year, like all years, another celebrity costume will offend and we’ll be back here on Nov. 1 to talk about it.
Related: Celebs Get Spooked: Halloween 2015
Oh, and one last rule of thumb — and honestly, no one is more surprised than me that I still have to say this: Please don’t dress up as a Nazi.
Prince Harry the Nazi (the Sun)