Is Asda's latest Hallowe'en costume completely mental?

26 September 2013

Oh dear Asda. In a fit of shocking taste, Asda’s decision to sell a mental patient costume for Hallowe’en has been criticised by all and sundry for pandering to outdated and harmful stereotypes. The costume has now been removed from sale, but we have a picture of what it looks like.

mental patient

As you all know, decaying skin, blood spattered clothing and  a meat cleaver are the top three ways in which you identify someone with mental health issues. These horrors certainly do not look just like you, or me, and are incredibly terrifying individuals, worthy of a scary costume.

Last night, Asda issued a statement saying the decision to sell the costume was a "completely unacceptable error” adding that it “should never have been sold and it was withdrawn as soon as it was brought to our attention."

Asda finished: "We're deeply sorry one of our fancy dress costumes has upset people."

Mental health charities have roundly deplored Asda's actions, and the supermarket has announced it will be making a “sizeable donation” to Mind by way of an apology. Fellow supermarketer Tesco has also withdrawn one of its Hallowe’en costumes named ‘Psycho’, in which the wearer sports an orange jumpsuit, a hockey mask and a machete, in anticipation of a related backlash.

But is it the costumes that are the problem or the name? The Tesco costume looks more like an escaped prisoner (or a famous art-loving cannibal) than someone with mental health issues, and the Asda costume was originally found under a link to a “zombie” costume. Would we have this debate over zombie and cannibal costumes?

Either way, it seems the stigma surrounding those with mental health is still alive and kicking, despite the much quoted statistics that one in four of us will suffer mental health problems during our life. And if you have three friends who seem normal- looks like you’re the nutjob.

 

7 comments

  • Alexis
    What a load of bollocks. Just an excuse for mental charities to get some free PR by being 'offended' on behalf of nobody who gives a toss.
  • Kevin
    All the name. These are available all year round and noone bats an eyelid. Just stupid names they should have had more sense than to use.
  • noshit
    I think my bum would look big in that.
  • Warwick H.
    just change it to a Cameron -Clegg - Millipede suit, its the same thing.
  • Yawnext
    in which case most of the superhero / supervillain costumes should be banned due to the edgy nature of the characters persona / incarceration within a loony bin they keep on escaping from... farce, we couldn't make it up (says my invisible friend). Oh how about bible related cstumes too, they're somewhat delusional, I mean big invisible fella in the sky no-one ever see's ..now that' crazy* *have at you various religious leaders.
  • Terry
    No one really gets offended by this. Why not change it's name to 'deranged mental patient' then no one can complain. Don't conform to these stupid requests for removing items, or eventually we'll all only be able to buy rainbow coloured beans.
  • DragonChris
    Did anyone see the 'outraged people with mental health issues' on tv? One woman with depression said it trivialised and stereotyped mental health - was she being bloody serious? I suppose she could have been, if she was so depressed she wanted to go on a murdering spree with a machete and a hockey mask... In retaliation, I propose that Tesco and Asda release new outfits for Halloween - "Disgruntled Mental Patient Masks": A cardboard cut out of the woman's face from the TV. The supposed sudden outcry over something that is widely accepted as a horror stereotype is such bullshit. Historically yes, mental issues suggest crazy looney shit but these days most people supposedly have mental health issues, but we still know the difference between a machete wielding Psycho and some daft bint who is depressed.

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