It’s Hallowe’en again, and as sure as ghouls emerge from graveyards, we have another crop of “hilarious” costumes making a joke out of mental illness.
Asda and Tesco were forced to apologise last year after coming in for a barrage of criticism for selling “mental patient” and “psycho ward” costumes, so you might think companies would have learnt that it’s really not on.
Well think again.
This year the cream of the crop comes from Joker’s Masquerade, which had a whole selection of “lunatic”, “schizo” and “psycho” costumes on sale a couple of weeks ago (it also had a couple of Ebola costumes in case you fancied having a laugh about people dying horrible deaths right now).
After a Twitter storm and stories run by the BBC and various local and national press, the company seems to have removed the bulk of the costumes from sale - although Adult Psycho Ward is still available as I write.
But the company isn’t remotely repentant, as its blog makes clear. Apparently the people who took exception are, among other things “incestuous Tweeters”, attacking an “ethical” company.
I’d love to see its ethical policy.
Many people with mental health problems already feel isolated and vulnerable - seeing themselves treated as figures of fun might just be the last straw for some.
What will it take for people to realise that making money out of other people’s misery is utterly unacceptable?