Caroline Eames Brasler, the adoptive mother to two young Black daughters, first sounded the alarm when she went shopping at a Party City store in Bailey’s Crossroads, Va., just outside of Arlington. She shared photos of the costumes on Facebook.
One was labeled “Confederate Officer,” and showed a young boy with a fake sword and dressed in uniform, complete with a Confederate flag on his hat. Another costume labeled Confederate General Robert E. Lee showed another boy with a fake sword and dressed in boots, a uniform with a Confederate flag on his hat as well as a fake beard.
“Really? Deplorable display of racism found at Party City on RT 7. I’ll be sending a complaint," Brasler said on Facebook, sharing the photos. Her adopted daughters are 10 and 12.
"The Confederate flag to me is a symbol of racism. To have that out there for a child to wear on Halloween sends so many horrible messages," Brasler told WUSA. "I'm the adoptive parent of two beautiful African American girls. We discuss race, we respect race. And to see something like that just flies in the face of everything I try to teach them to be proud young women."
Party City said in a statement that “The costume in question was sold at a franchise location and is not produced or sold in any Party City corporate-owned stores. We have reached out to our franchisees and other partners to remove it from all retail locations ASAP.”
“At Party City, we do not tolerate racism or hatred of any kind, and we stand together in solidarity with our diverse colleagues, customers, and communities,” the statement provided to WUSA said. “As the leader in Halloween with more than 60 million customers per year, Party City supplies a broad assortment of costumes, none of which are meant to be offensive in any way.
“We know that as a company, we can and must do better, and we’re taking immediate action. We value customer feedback and will continue to evaluate how to make each shopping experience fun and welcoming for all as we support efforts in inclusion internally, in our communities, and beyond."
Similar Confederate soldier costumers are sold by third-party vendors on Amazon.