Outcry as ‘Lunatic and psycho’ Halloween costumes are released

Online fancy dress and Halloween retailer Jokers’ Masquerade has sparked controversy by releasing Halloween costumes titled ‘adult psycho ward’ and ‘adult Skitzo costume’

The Joker’s Masquerade website has a page in it’s Halloween costume section titled ‘Lunatic psycho costumes’. The website subtitles the section with the following description “Away from the fictional world of zombies and werewolves, the human character can be terrifying or even more so than any other monster seen at Halloween. Make a change from your standard ghost and devil outfits, which people are just not scared of any more, by choosing a piece from this great collection of psychological horror costumes… Release your crazy side for an unforgettable fright night this Halloween.”

This has similarities to an event that last year sparked massive controversy when retail giants Tesco and ASDA released Halloween mental patient outfits.

This recent event has been met with outrage from the mental health community, Sue Baker, director of mental health anti-stigma campaign Time to Change, said: “Halloween is a great opportunity to enjoy some scary fun. But we’re often made aware of Halloween attractions based around ‘mental patients’ or ‘asylums’, fuelling the deep rooted misconceptions that still surround mental illness.

“Imagine how you’d feel if you, or a member of your family, had just been in a psychiatric hospital and were enjoying a fun day out, only to be faced with this type of ‘entertainment’? Or were out shopping and came across a product or costume making light-hearted fun of an illness which you have been struggling with?

“We are finally starting to see attitudes change and there is a shift in the public mood. What these instances highlight is that there is still work to be done in tackling mental health stigma and discrimination and we have written to the company to complain about the costumes on sale. We also encourage people to challenge these outdated stereotypes – that only serve to reinforce negative views of those who experience mental health problems – by complaining directly to the companies concerned to share their views.”