Perhaps it is some strange offshoot of the relatively recent American fascination with all things zombie. Halloween season is upon us, and people everywhere are trawling for a good costume. Some folks have stumbled upon a costume idea that is both timely and readily available, if not controversial.
It is being called the “Ebola costume”. Basically it is just a hazmat suit. The idea is that it mimics the PPE (personal protective equipment) that medical personnel in areas stricken by the Ebola epidemic would wear. It may also hearken to a Centers for Disease Control look.
Normally, getting your hands on a hazmat (hazardous materials) suit is not easy. A true hazmat suit can set you back at least $200. One costume company sells the suit, face shield, breathing mask, goggles, and gloves for about $80. But you can get just the coveralls for under $15.
But it turns out that the hazmat get-up is not new for this Halloween. It was also a big seller last year, thanks to the popularity of the television show Breaking Bad. Protagonist Walter White would wear a hazmat suit while working in the meth lab. For folks who wanted that Breaking Bad look, but didn’t want to go out in underwear and a shirt, the hazmat suit was the answer.
So if you wore a Breaking Bad hazmat suit last year, you can save money this year by calling it an “Ebola costume”.
But some people see the idea of having fun with the topic of Ebola as a tad insensitive.
"I really don't think people are thinking about that. I don’t think they’re thinking about the families and the victims,” said Mikhael Gilmore of Texas. A third person was recently diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas. Perhaps that is not the best place to trot out the suit.
Another alternative that some costume companies recommend is not wearing the Ebola suit, but using makeup to fake the symptoms of the disease.
Somehow that sounds worse.