From Ebola suits to terrorist garb, Halloween costumes reach new low, critics say

Terrorism, Ebola fears and domestic violence in sports have brought out the worst in Halloween revelers, with costumes taking bad taste to frightening lows and even causing potential national security issues, according to one expert.

One retailer, BrandsOnSale, is selling various controversial costumes this year, including an Ebola hazmat suit -- equipped with a breathing mask and face shield -- as well as a "baby pot" outfit and severed heads.

"The deadly Ebola virus has landed in the United States and the crisis has reached new levels of domestic escalation. You are sure to be prepared if any outbreak happens at your Halloween party. This will literally be the most 'viral' costume of the year," reads the company's online advertisement for a $79.99 Ebola suit.


While thousands in West Africa continue to die from the disease and critics of the costume call it distasteful, BrandsOnSale Chief Executive Jonathan Weeks was quick to defend it Thursday.

"People like to dress up as what's current," Weeks told

"There's people who get killed in plane crashes and there's pilot costumes and there's people who die as nurses and doctors and there's costumes for that too," he said. "This is no different than any other EMT worker that is out there helping save lives."


Weeks' company also sells cannabis costumes for babies and the 'super fly' baby pimp costume.

"The baby pot costume came about because there was a lot of media about children using marijuana to treat seizures," he said.

"People are going to offend everyone this year. It’s an offensive holiday," Weeks added. "If you don't like it, then don't go out and trick-or-treat."

The Internet has also gone viral with pictures of homemade Ray Rice costumes that depict the former Baltimore Ravens running back beating his wife. Some photos on Instagram and Facebook show men in a Rice jersey standing next to women with fake black eyes. Rice was arrested in February 2014 for beating his then- fiancée and current wife Janay Palmer in an assault that was captured on surveillance video at an Atlantic City hotel.

Some costumes, however, cross the line from distasteful to potentially dangerous, according to Mideast expert and Fox News contributor Walid Phares.

Photos have emerged on social media of people dressed up as ISIS militants, toting fake knives and guns, which Phares called "alarming" especially in the wake of the Ottawa shooting in which a lone masked gunman killed a Canadian soldier. One picture, posted Oct. 27 by user T.J ‏@Skinny215 shows a group of ISIS-looking militants with the caption, "Where's the Halloween parties... Isis will be there."

"With the increase of young persons planning on wearing ISIS-like uniforms and being masked for Halloween, there are some concerns which we, and law enforcement, need to be attentive to," he told

"It is all about one day or one night, and hopefully there won't be any incidents, but here are two scenarios that could be developed by jihadi terrorists for Halloween," he speculated. "One is that they would wear ISIS type clothing and mingle with the Halloween celebrants, mostly in public places, and perform violence and film it with devices. The videos produced would be extensively used by ISIS or jihadists for propaganda purposes. They would claim having hit the enemy at home, while wearing jihadi uniforms."


"A second projected scenario, would be to trigger violence and draw law enforcement into reaction, and having law enforcement disoriented by the fact that many youth would be in ISIS clothing, with possible tragic incidents following. There are many scenarios which can be used by jihadi terrorists, particularly by lone wolves," Phares said.

While Weeks does not sell terrorist costumes, he noted that the "severed heads" some costumers buy each year to decorate their homes with are selling in abundance.

"We sell severed head props for Halloween decorations," he said. "They have been more popular this year than ever. We don’t find that funny in the context of ISIS."

"There is a line you have to draw," Weeks added. "We never had an Usama Bin Laden costume. People in the past have dressed up as the Boston bombers and the Twin Towers, which I think is extremely distasteful."

Ricky's, a New York City-based chain store that sells everything from makeup to costumes, confirmed to that it does not sell any terror-themed costume.