No plans to pull ‘Indigenous themed’ costumes off shelves, Spirit Halloween says
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2016 2:38PM CST
A chain of Halloween stores across North America has no plans to remove costumes consisting of mock aboriginal attire from its shelves.
A spokesperson for Spirit Halloween sent an email to CTV News on Tuesday morning stating the company will not be pulling the costumes.
“We have not directed any of our Spirit Halloween stores to remove Indigenous themed costumes from our shelves, nor do we plan to have these costumes removed,” the email, which was in response to recent media coverage regarding the costumes, stated.
“Understanding certain sensitivities, we always strive to present our costumes in a responsible and respectful manner. While we respect the opinion of those who are opposed to the sale of any cultural or historical costumes, we are proud of our costume selection for men, women and children. We will continue to offer this broad assortment of costumes in the future, while we maintain our commitment to our diverse customer base.”
The company made headlines last week after Saskatoon activist Zoey Roy claimed she was kicked out of Spirit Halloween’s 51st Street store in Saskatoon for confronting the manager about a costume — labelled “Native American” — she deemed offensive.
The costume, intended for young girls, featured fringed faux leather and a mock headpiece.
“Those costumes are offensive because our ceremonies were banned, we weren’t allowed to speak our language, our ancestors went through residential schools, we got our traditional clothing taken away, we got our language taken away, we got our food, our homelands, everything, taken away and we’re expected to get over it,” Roy said.
“And now people can just wear our traditional clothing, regalia, as a Halloween costume, and that’s such a slap in the face to who we are as peoples.”
She called for shoppers to avoid the store, and on Friday, an employee with the 51st Street shop told CTV News the costumes were briefly pulled from the shelves before Spirit Halloween’s head office told staff to put the costumes back out.
The company’s email Tuesday did not address the employee’s comments or the alleged confrontation between Roy and the 51st Street store’s manager.
Spirit Halloween, owned by retailer Spencer Spirit Holdings, operates more than 1,100 stores across the U.S. and Canada, according to the shop’s website.
Nearly 70 results pop up on the site when searching for costumes that include the tag “Native American.”
A sign sits outside Spirit Halloween's downtown Saskatoon store on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. The chain of pop-up costume stores has been gathering media attention this week after a local activist claimed she was kicked out of the chain's 51st Street store in Saskatoon for confronting a manager about a "Native American" costume. (Kevin Menz/CTV Saskatoon)
Zoey Roy claims she was kicked out of a Spirit Halloween store in Saskatoon on Sunday. Oct. 9, 2016, after she confronted the store's manager about this costume. (Twitter/@Pricelys1)