The coronavirus pandemic has put many Halloween plans — from haunted houses to trick-or-treating — on hold this year. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that some celebrants will be channeling their frustrations into ghoulish costumes inspired by “the most feared monster out there, corona.”
That’s the description offered by Etsy seller Light Up Your Life LLC, which specializes in glowing items made with LED lighting, including their newest design: the LED COVID-19 mask. A hot ticket for Halloween, the fast-selling $72 mask depicts the virus’s spiky, spherical appearance, with a monstrous face, rotted teeth and glowing red LED accents thrown in for good measure.
It’s bound to stir up some shrieks — and also controversy, given the gravity of the pandemic, which has claimed more than 950,000 deaths worldwide, more than 200,000 of them in the U.S. That’s to say nothing of the economic repercussions and unemployment, the strain on mental health and the devastating physical impact long-haulers continue to experience.
For months social media commenters have groaned about the inevitably of a “sexy coronavirus” costume — which appears to have not yet emerged — and urged would-be trick-or-treaters to exercise sensitivity over shock value. But it’s not the first time a pandemic has resulted in Halloween garb; in 2014, the online retailer Brands On Sale released a “sexy Ebola costume,” with ad copy reading: “As the deadly Ebola virus trickles its way through the United States, fighting its disease is no reason to compromise style. The short dress and chic gas mask will be the talk of Milan, London, Paris and New York as the world's fashionistas seek global solutions to hazmat couture. Ending plague isn't the endeavor of a single woman, so be sure to check out our men's Ebola Containment Costume for a great couple's costume idea.”
Regardless of concerns about the sensitive nature of the pandemic — and potential backlash — COVID-19 has certainly provided inspiration for a holiday notorious for taking on timely topics. Etsy vendors are currently selling crochet COVID-19 hats, tiara-style headbands and foam “social distancing” hats that read “keep your distance.”
Over on Amazon.com, COVID-19 has gotten a killer clown makeover, one of several latex masks inspired by the pandemic. Another standout is a mask which depicts President Donald Trump as a sickly green version of the coronavirus’s spiky image.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus piñata sold by Party City is out of stock online. But the popular Halloween destination is all set when it comes to another 2020 costume trend: plague doctors. These historical physicians’ ominous beak-like masks and long dark coats date back to the peak of the bubonic plague, centuries before scrubs and PPE. Whether today’s frontline workers will get similar shoutouts this year remains to be seen.
For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.
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