Heidi Klum – Goddess Kali
Super-model Heidi Klum has become sort of a Hollywood legend for her extensive and ornate Halloween costumes over the years. As a matter of fact, most of the time you can’t even tell who is behind the makeup or masks.
However, Heidi’s idea to dress up as the Goddess Kali fell flat as Hindus around the world took offense in 2008. Hmmm... Maybe it was the severed heads, or the knife-wielding that did it...
Kendall Jenner — Corpse Bride
The only reason we know what Kendall Jenner dressed as is because she captioned this photo, "yer corpse bride" on Instagram. But we have questions. So many questions...
Only half the body was painted blue! Is she only half a corpse? Why do the photoshopped flies look like the flies from that Mike Pence meme? With all her money and connections, she couldn't have made this look any less...lazy?
Katy Perry & Orlando Bloom — Vaccine & Dr. DILF
If anyone wondered where Katy Perry and her husband Orlando Bloom stood on the whole vaccine debate, they made it pretty clear on Halloween 2021. The couple dressed up as "Dr. DILF" and a "Katy & Perry" vaccine. Fan reactions were mixed.
Some loved the couple's costume and commented things like, "RELATIONSHIP GOALS" on Perry's Instagram post. Some, however, were skeptical about the inspiration behind the costume. Some questioned whether Bloom was really dressed up as "Dr. DILF" or the now-controversial figure Dr. Fauci. One user commented, "Wow how much money did you get paid for this? Lmao."
Bebe Rexha — Anna Nicole Smith
This costume is tasteless on so many levels. Although Bebe calls Smith an "icon" in her Instagram caption, this feels more like poking fun at someone who passed away tragically (and under mysterious circumstances) than it does a tribute.
And who on earth is the old guy in the photo? Her grandfather? A paid actor? She gave credit to the photographer, makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist, flowers, and production—but not to the old guy! Hopefully she paid him, because he didn't even get a tag.
Steve-O — Sasquatch
The Jackass actor posted this photo on Twitter with the caption, "Thanks so much to about 100 dudes who donated their pubes to my epic Halloween costume! Sasquatch lives!!! Woohoo!!!"
...if we were wearing other people's pubes, not so sure we'd be that excited. But to each their own, Steve-O.
Hillary Duff and Jason Walsh - Native Americans
In 2016, actress Hilary Duff and then boyfriend, Jason Walsh, donned sexy matching Pilgrim and Indian costumes. Pretty insensitive at the time, considering that the North Dakota pipeline protests were growing more and more volatile.
They won the prize for being the first celebrities to apologize for a Halloween costume faux pas in 2016 considering they released their apologies on their separate Insta accounts on All Hallows Eve.
O.J. Simpson – Gynecologist
Okay, so maybe this one isn’t so much controversial as just in bad taste. O.J. Simpson, formal football super-star-turned-con, is most commonly known now for having killed his wife and her lover and for the most part got away with it.
The ex-con dressed as a gynecologist named Dr. Seymour Bush. But instead of being offended by the costume, bar guests lined up for selfies and autographs.
Chris Brown – Terrorist
As if he didn’t have enough controversy in the media already at the time, in 2012, Chris Brown made headlines once again. This time it was for his choice of Halloween costume.
Brown and a bunch of his friends thought it would be cute to dress up as Muslim terrorists for Halloween in 2012. The internet did not agree.
Scott Disick – Sheik
In 2014, then honorary Kardashian, Scott Disick thought it would be fun to play Arab Sheik for Halloween. He posted a pic of himself in costume with the caption “We getting Arab money tonight.”
While many didn’t see any harm in the costume, there were many who were disappointed with the reality star’s choice of cultural appropriation. Disick never apologized for the costume, but eventually Khloe Kardashian did once she realized their faux pas.
Ashley Benson – Cecil the Lion
Flashback to Halloween 2015 and the uproar (pun definitely intended) was over Ashley Benson’s idea of a funny costume. When the actress posted a photo of her wearing a sexy lion costume, her original caption made a reference to the lion that had recently made headlines for being slain on protected grounds.
After several users let her know that they thought her costume idea was offensive, the Pretty Little Liars star changed the caption to just say lion. She later defended herself by saying she only wore the costume for a few minutes and took it back off.
Kim Kardashian – Aaliyah
I mean. Could we really make a list about controversial celebrities and not include at least one of the Kardashians? Kim faced backlash back in 2017 for her Aaliyah costume.
Although, the costume itself surely set the internet ablaze with commentary, it was her apology statement that really set the world off when she claimed that “We don’t see color in my home.” People of color were even more offended at that statement since her husband and child(ren) are black.
Julianne Hough – Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren
In 2013, Orange Is the New Black hit Netflix and the world had a new obsession. Apparently, Julianne Hough was also obsessed and decided to portray one of her favorite characters of the show for Halloween that year—complete with blackface makeup.
Another celeb who arrived at the party at the same time tried to get to Hough quickly to tell her to take off the blackface makeup before photos were taken, but alas, she was too late. The photos of the celeb in blackface quickly made the rounds on social media and Hough was forced to post a formal apology the next day.
Ashley Tisdale – Sugar Skull
This one is still debatable. In 2016, when High School Musical alum, Ashley Tisdale, attended gal pal Vanessa Hudgens's Halloween bash dressed up as a sugar skull, the Internet was set on fire immediately.
Many were angry at the actress for cultural appropriation. Still, many defended the actress, stating that it was considered a costume in Mexican culture as well.
Shaun White – Simple Jack
In 2018, Olympic gold medalist, Shaun White, attended a Halloween party dressed as Simple Jack from the 2008 film Tropic Thunder. Almost immediately the Special Olympics blasted the Olympian for setting a bad example. They made a statement to Huffpost.com, “…Disability is not a joke, nor should it be a punchline…”
The three time Olympic champion apologized almost immediately. His response was, "I owe everyone in the Special Olympics community an apology for my poor choice of Halloween costume the other night," White said in a statement on social media. "It was a last minute decision. It was the wrong one. The Special Olympics are right to call me out on it."
Prince Harry – Nazi
In January of 2005, Prince Harry thought it would be funny to dress up as a Nazi to a friend’s fancy costume party. Unfortunately, a photo of him in the uniform leaked to the press and ended up all over The Sun tabloid cover in time for the afternoon edition.
In January of 2005, Prince Harry thought it would be funny to dress up as a Nazi to a friend’s fancy costume party. Unfortunately, a photo of him in the uniform leaked to the press and ended up all over The Sun tabloid cover in time for the afternoon edition. Funny enough, this is the only copy of the photo that still exists, today.
Jeff Ross – Joe Paterno and Company
Okay so this wasn’t for Halloween, but it’s pretty controversial. Jeff Ross showed up to Roseanne Barr’s comedy roast dressed as Jerry Sandusky—or more commonly known to Penn State fans as JoePa—with two boys dressed in nothing but towels and football helmets.
The comedian, who admitted his costume was controversial, claimed that he was making a statement. We think the statement may have been lost, here.
Chrissy Teigen – Native American
In 2008, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend attended a Halloween party, Legend as a cowboy and Teigen in full Native American regalia. This immediately sparked outrage across the interwebs.
Although it sparked controversy, Teigen stated that, “It was, to me, very cute, but now thinking back I’d never do it again. Bad idea, Chrissy, bad idea!”
Jemima Khan – Melania Trump
Okay. But this one is funny. In 2016, British journalist Jemima Khan attended the UNICEF Halloween Ball in London dressed as Melania Trump with a dummy of an apparent Donald Trump wrapped around her back, reaching for—well—you can see what he’s reaching for, there.
She was also holding a sign that said “Trump 2016… Vote on 28th November!!!” This was poking fun at Trump since the date of voting in 2016 was November 8th and Trump told his supporters several times to vote on November 28th. And as if she hadn’t already made a statement, Khan was holding papers that read, “Michelle Obama’s Convention Speech.”
Tia Mowry – Geisha
In 2013, Tia Mowry decided to dress as a traditional Japanese Geisha for her Halloween party. Many of her Insta followers were not impressed. One user commented “My race and the races of others are not a costume for a cheesy holiday.”
Another commented, “Please do some research on cultural appropriation. Geisha costumes are not cool, girl.” However, the actress wasn’t daunted because she never removed the post nor apologized for it publicly.
The Chainsmokers – “Ebrola”
Okay, so this one wasn’t Halloween either, but it’s pretty offensive. During the 2014 Ebola pandemic the EDM-pop duo, The Chainsmokers, dressed up as “Ebrola” health care workers while playing at a frat house.
The epidemic at that point had so far claimed more than 5,000 lives and was nothing to sneer at. However, these guys found a way to turn it into a joke and never apologized.
Bill Maher – Dead Steve Irwin
Just barely more than a month after Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, was killed by a stingray while filming on the Great Barrier Reef, Bill Maher decided to shock the world by dressing up as Irwin.
While dressing up as the zoologist might not have made headlines, the fact that it was a bloody costume with a stingray tail sticking straight out of his chest. And what made it worse? The comedian refused to apologize for the costume because he figured Irwin may have “been doing something” to the stingray that he shouldn’t have been.
Harry Hamlin – Sid Vicious
Apparently, celebs never learn from those that have come before them. In 2015, Harry Hamlin and girlfriend Lisa Rinna dressed up as infamous Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his just as infamous girlfriend Nancy Spungen for a party on a Friday night.
That would have been all well and good, and no one might have batted an eyelash, had Harry not chosen a red t-shirt with the image of a swastika on it to portray Sid. By Monday morning the pair were both on Instagram trying to accomplish damage control.
Kylie Jenner – Eskimo
I mean. Are we surprised that yet another Kardashian has appeared on this list? On Halloween of 2015 Kylie Jenner posted a photo of herself dressed up on Insta with the caption “Eskimo.”
She later changed it to say “Snow Princess” after she came under fire for her offensive remark, but many were not buying it. The term Eskimo is generally considered a slur, and fans did not appreciate her using it.
Luann de Lesseps – Diana Ross
Real Housewife Luann de Lesseps landed herself in a pot of boiling hot water in 2017 when she attended fellow Housewife, Dorinda Medley’s Halloween party. Indeed, in the episode, another fellow Housewife can be overheard saying that, “Luann’s costume is so disrespectful.”
What set off her fellow castmates? Luann dressed up as Diana Ross, complete with a giant, black afro. The former Countess apologized and said, “I’m horrified! I never meant to hurt anybody’s feelings.”
Ellie Goulding – Native American Chief
In 2014, singer Ellie Goulding made a faux pas by not only dressing as a Native American, but also by posting a now deleted photo of herself on Instagram dressed up with the caption saying, “Chief.” She then posted a second now-deleted photo wearing a large tribal headpiece that included beading and feathers.
Her followers were quick to criticize the star and she quickly deleted the photos. She then defended herself, saying, “I only wore that beautiful unauthentic headpiece for about 5 minutes,” but then also agreed to donate to a Native American charity.
Bill Murray – Jimi Hendrix
In 2010, Bill Murray hosted the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Bridgeview, Illinois on June 26th, 2010. Unfortunately, he chose to show up dressed as Jimi Hendrix in full blackface.
Although this took place before celebs were shamed across social media, when the photo of Bill as Jimi did make it’s rounds on the interwebs, the backlash was minimal and many took it in the spirit in which Bill probably intended in the first place.
Nicky Hilton – Native American
Ummm. Like… Duh. Apparently big sister didn’t learn from little sister’s mistake from 2010 because in 2015, Nicky dressed up as a Native American at the 2015 Casamigos Halloween Party.
You would think that with the world becoming more multiculturally diverse and aware that celebrities (who are supposed to be role models) would be a little more sensitive to the subject.
Colton Haynes – Kanye West and Mahatma Gandhi
Colton Haynes of Teen Wolf fame has a long history of intricate Halloween costumes, sometimes they’re weird, sometimes they’re funny, and sometimes they’re just downright offensive.
In 2011, Haynes thought it would be cute to wear a long, gold chain, black sweatsuit, and gold-rimmed sunglasses, complete with blackface to dress as Kanye West. Then he turned around the next year and put on blackface again to dress up as Mahatma Gandhi! Celebs just never learn…
Jason Aldean – Lil Wayne
In 2015, Jason Aldean dressed up as Lil Wayne, complete with blackface, dreadlocks, and bling and headed out on the town in Nashville with a group of friends. The Internet reacted swiftly and angrily.
Eleven months later, the country singer issued an apology that was not an apology at all. “In this day and age people are so sensitive that no matter what you do, somebody is going to make a big deal of it… If that was disrespectful to anyone, I by all means apologize.”
Pam Anderson - Native American
How many times do celebs need to be told not to do this kind of stuff? This one was from 2019, so she certainly should have known better. As you can imagine, the comments didn't exactly end up going the way she wanted them to. People were even calling her out then.
One comment read, "This is really disappointing & racist Pam, I thought you were better than this." It was so bad that NPR wrote an article on her. Anderson then responded by posting an article called "The Illogic of Cultural Appropriation." Yikes.
Kate Hudson - Wild Wild Country Cult
Kate Hudson got some major backlash after she dressed up for Halloween as the Rajneeshees. It is a cult that was featured in the Netflix documentary, Wild Wild Country. She posted the Instagram picture with the caption from the cult's leader, "Don't be worried about the future. Live this moment so totally that the next moment comes out of it golden."
As you can imagine, people weren't a fan. Critics accused Hudson of being insensitive and noted that the cult has committed several crimes over the years, including poisoning local townspeople. Emulating a group that's committed bio-terrorism just isn't okay, Kate. Then, quoting the man as if he was a good person? That's gonna be a no from us.
Rihanna - Pot
Well, this isn't the worst on the list, but it certainly earned Rihanna her share of backlash. For Halloween, she went scantily clad and dressed up as marijuana. Parents who let their kids listen to Rihanna were certainly shocked, but we can't help but wonder if they should limit what their kids listen to if they have such a problem with it.
It isn't exactly like Rihanna's music is kid-friendly. This one comes to us from 2012, but Ri-Ri didn't leave it there. Recently, in 2021, she dressed up in a "joint dress" for the 30th Anniversary of Dazed magazine. We get it, but now it's getting to be a little on the nose, right?
Kelly Osbourne - Rachel Dolezal
Overall, this was just a bad decision. Rachel Dolezal by herself is offensive. She was an equal rights activist who presented herself as a black woman despite the fact that she was born to two white parents. Being that she's pretty controversial, Kelly Osbourne dressing as her for Halloween landed her in some hot water.
It doesn't help that a week prior to that, Kelly Osbourne posted a photo of Dolezal when she was younger (with very light skin and blonde hair) next to Dolezal today. This meant that Osbourne knew what Dolezal was doing, but decided to throw on a curly wig and call it "#CallMeRcahel"
Kenya Moore - Native American "Warrior Princess"
We're not sure what's worse about this one: the fact she did it at all or the fact it happened on TV. Kenya Moore, famous for her role in The Real Housewives of Atlanta, went on the show dressed as a "warrior princess." It was complete with a full outfit and a headdress.
Later, after she was called out, she posted a Twitter post that stated, "I want to apologize for inappropriately wearing the Native American headdress as a costume. I now realize that this was both disrespectful and insensitive." Wait, she needed to be told that it was awful to do?
Chris Hemsworth - Native American
Just days before Halloween in 2016, Chris Hemsworth shared his biggest costume faux pas — his Native American costume. This came during a post with Taika Watiti where he held a sign saying he "stands with those at Standing Rock." In the description of the post, he brought up when he attended a "New Year's Eve" party that was themed after the Lone Ranger.
He admitted, "I was stupidly unaware of the offence this may have caused and the sensitivity around this issue. I sincerely and unreservedly apologise to all First Nations people for this thoughtless action." At least he told everyone about it before we pulled it up from the dust.
Gwen Stefani – Harajuku
This one may seem like a stretch, but it really isn't (and we'll tell you why). Back in the early 2000s, Gwen Stefani went through a phase when she loved Asian culture, specifically Harajuku culture. That being said, she went a little overboard with it, turning real live people into dolls. That's why she's on this list, as she used them as part of a costume.
Even the women, who were later dubbed Love, Angel, Music, Baby, admitted that Stefani didn't treat them with respect and that they felt more like part of a costume that fetishized their culture. For that reason, we're putting her on this list. That being said, she also dressed up in Harajuku attire, so she just overall crossed the line.
Jimmy Kimmel - Karl Malone
Comedians definitely risk crossing the line, but something like this should have been obviously bad. Jimmy Kimmel — yes, the late-night TV show host — once dressed up as famous basketball player Karl Malone during a skit on The Man Show. Even back then we knew that blackface was poor taste, so why did he do it?
We're sure that people threw out the excuse of "boys will be boys," but that's not really gonna fly here. Kimmel apologized for his skit, but he honestly never should have done it in the first place. That's just a line you don't cross comedically or otherwise.
Macklemore - Um...This
So the Jewish people aren't really unfamiliar with being treated awfully, but this? This has gone too far. Many Jewish fans have come out to criticize Macklemore for his anti-Semitic caricature. There's zero excuse for this move. Macklemore said he "chose the costume pieces at random" in an attempt to surprise fans.
Well, he certainly shocked a lot of his fans. There was no way that these pieces were chosen at random. We don' know if it was a joke gone badly or what, but Macklemore decided to defend his position. Although, eventually he did apologize for offending anyone. Just look in the mirror before walking out on stage, man.
Lili Reinhart - "Demonic Creature"
You're telling us that at no point, Lili looked at herself or these photos and went "wait...there's something wrong here." She never should have gotten this close to the idea. Let's discuss the situation. Her Halloween costume this year was this little "demon" that was the "color of her soul." After posting it on Twitter, she got tons of backlash.
People immediately began accusing her of blackface in an awful way. Many people argued that she didn't have anything to apologize for, but she still went ahead and posted an apology on her Twitter. She stated, "I did not mean for my tweet to come off that way. I can see how it was interpreted as being insensitive, completely."
Perez Hilton – Miley Cyrus
Perez Hilton has never shied away from controversy. He’s always wanted to remain smack-dab in the middle of it all, which was why he went as Miley Cyrus for Halloween during one of Heidi Klum’s infamous parties. They’re all the rage, and Perez had tons of pics taken with him in this outfit.
It doesn’t help that Perez Hilton seems to constantly jab at Miley, resurfacing (or releasing) photos of her. One was even a photoshop that supposedly showed her crotch when she was getting out of a car. Yeah, he should probably just leave the young woman alone, right?
Mark Wright - Tekashi 6ix9ine
Mark Wright faced a ton of backlash in 2021 when he posed as rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine for Halloween. This comes only a few years after Tekashi was charged in 2015 for the use of a child in a sexual performance. Wright claimed the Halloween costume was inspired by his 2020 video "Goomba," but that doesn't mean it isn't in poor taste.
Soon after the backlash started, Wright disabled comments on his photo, which was captioned "Happy Halloween" while tagging 6ix9ine in the photo. Now, he deleted it, but the internet doesn't forget. Later, he apologized for the photo and costume altogether.