By: Daniel Aruz

Last year, the McMaster Campus Store was forced to remove controversial Halloween costumes from its shelves that were stocked as part of a pilot program. That partnership with costume retailer Party City will not continue this year, and as a result, the Campus Store will not be stocking any costumes this year.

Party City’s decision to pull out of the campus market was supposedly unrelated to the removal of the offensive costumes. Donna Shapiro, Director of the Campus Store, assured that the volume of costumes sold in the previous year could not match the sales in the standard pop-up store locations, meaning Party City decided not to return. Sales for the costumes were slow, and only really began in the week leading up to Halloween.

“They had a ton of costumes so they could have picked different ones and we could have went with it again, just the volume wasn’t there,” said Shapiro.

The pilot program was started last year but was met with an outrage from a large group of students when images of offensive women’s costumes began circulating online.

The costumes, including “Cutie Eskimo” and “Sexy Indian Princess” were promptly pulled from Campus Store shelves after numerous complaints online, from members of the First Nations Student Association and through a petition for their removal which garnered 500 signatures.

“We tried to seek out another partner with the thought that we would then go through Student Union and Human Rights to vet what the costumes would be that we bring in, but we weren’t able to find another partner,” she said. “We provided the sales from the previous year and nobody was really interested in pursuing it.”

However, this may not be the end to Campus Store costumes or similar partnerships in the future.

“We are always looking for pop-up stores and partners, be it that or be it some other organization so that we can offer some diversity and products to students, and we can use up some of our space that isn’t used in the month of October after rush.”

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