Sunday, 26 October 2014

Five Halloween Costumes to REALLY be Scared of

This time of year has come to be marked by a familiar woe as various costume companies and theme parks market a peculiar brand of offensive mental health paraphernalia in the name of Halloween entertainment. From experiential tours of a "scary Asylum" to "mental patient" fancy-dress, if you want to spend a surprising amount of money buying into stereotypes that are deeply hurtful to a large number of people, then there is a company which can help you do it. I won't catalogue examples here as Sectioned has a good page detailing comprehensively the various offenders. Instead, I am going to do my bit for mental health stigma by offering some alternative fancy dress options for anyone seeking to truly terrify their friends this Halloween. All of these are far scarier than any imagined "mental patient" and are made more so by their ubiquity and relative invisibility. Here are 5 Costumes to REALLY be scared of this Halloween:

1. The Pharmaceutical Sales Rep:


The Pharmaceutical Sales Rep's only job is to flog medicines to healthcare organisations Although a science background can "boost your credibility", it is by no means a requirement in a field which principally requires that you "sell sell sell" and raise the profile of your brand. The pharmaceutical sales rep is the perfect example of the shady figure tacitly manipulating the minds of others to see that his ends are met. He is especially scary because although his knowledge might be low, his influence can be high. Some doctors may be unable to resist his creepy powers of mind control!

You Will Need : A grey suit and a bland tie. 

2. The Healthcare Administrator:


The Healthcare Administrator makes life and death decisions about whether to fund particular treatments and services. Poised between the world of political decision making and healthcare provision, he is aptly positioned to draw on the worst of both. Although the healthcare administrator is capable of using his powers for good, he is also capable of much evil. Last seen in a helicopter over Connecticut, deciding whether to pay for a 9 year old's cancer treatment.

You Will Need : A grey suit and a bland tie. 

3. The Public Relations Expert:


The Public Relations Expert's job is to present something as good, even if the thing itself is not that good; even if it is actually rather bad. While there's nothing scary about doing the promo material for, say, a poorly written book, the work this guy will do to help people cover up fairly egregious errors (and get wealthy in the process) is a little more sinister. 

You Will Need : A grey suit and a bland tie. 

4. The Arms Dealer:


Let's ramp things up a notch. If you are insufficiently scared by the murky antics of the Sales Rep, the Administrator and the PR Expert, you can't fail to be terrified by the downright horror of the Arms Dealer. Utterly unconcerned by anything other than turning a profit, the Arms Dealer will happily sell weapons to anyone willing to pay. The ideal scenario for the Arms Dealer is a protracted and bloody war in which he can offer his wares to both sides over the longest possible period, getting rich as his customers shoot one another indefinitely. As a major player in most western economies, the Arms Dealer is seriously scary! 

You Will Need : A grey suit and a bland tie. 

5. David Cameron:


He's real, he's the Prime Minister, and he's coming for YOU!

You Will Need : A grey suit and a bland tie. 

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