Cross-posted at Womanist Musings.


NOT my idea when I think of a woman in niqab. But this is the "Sexy Middle Eastern Arab Girl Burka Halloween Costume." They could have at least added "Mohammadean South Asian snake charmer Harem girl."

Two princesses, a killer clown, Avatar, a scary magician, three zombie cheerleaders and a baby bumblebee later, Eryn finally stopped fearfully burrowing into my cloak and finally got into the Halloween spirit. This year because of a rotten cold we’re all generously sharing, the family decided to stay home to hand out candy. Eryn was a pumpkin with a purple witch’s hat — and for my costume, I just wore hijab.

This week for Halloween the HuffPo ran an article discussing why hijab is a terrible idea for anyone planning to dress up as a Muslim. It argues that in this anti-Muslim climate of hijab-bans and anti-shari’a legislation, it’s wrong to appropriate a religious symbol that’s also often used an excuse to incite hatred against Muslims. It’s an interesting article (though I have to disagree with the author’s statement that hijab is only a religious requirement. We wear it for cultural, personal and political reasons too – and those who don’t wear it are just as pious as those who do), but I totally agree with the article’s intent – that like any negative appropriation of religious or ethnic culture, it’s just wrong to commodify a religious symbol.

But that got me thinking of all the times I incorporate my hijab into my Halloween costume. Whether I’m Princess Leia, a Ringwraith, witch, sorcerer or vampire, it’s hard for me not to use my own clothes for Halloween because they lend themselves so nicely to some pretty awesome costumes. An abaya makes an excellent black cloak. And I’m going to be covering my hair and dressing modestly regardless, so why not use what’s on hand?

(more…)