Throw Away That Coconut Bra and Plastic Hula Skirt

Read this before Halloween!

Mackenzie Plunkett


Photo by Lee Vue on Unsplash

What do you want to dress up as for Halloween this year?

An Astronaut? Scientist? Alien? Scooby-Doo?

Before you answer that, let me help you not make a fool out of yourself.

Wearing any costume for only one night might seem harmless.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Unless you are dressing up as a specific character, plastic hula skirts and coconut bras are NOT the way to go.

As a Native Hawaiian, I’ll fill you in on a little secret.

That is not how we dress. At all. 🤮

Every year we see a plethora of examples embodying cultural appropriation.

Waikiki Halloween 2012 by Kyle Nishioka. Creative Commons.

Plastic hula skirts, paper leis, and coconut bras may seem Hawaiian to the outside world, but in reality that is far from the truth.

⬆️ Above is a perfect example of what NOT to do. ⬆️

If you add a pineapple to the ensemble, please note pineapples are NOT native to Hawaii and were introduced to Hawaii from the Americas.

In the spirit of aloha I encourage you, my dear readers, to choose a fun costume that is authentic and respects others.

Native Hawaiian culture is way more than a phony Halloween costume.

And “dressing up” as a hula dancer exhibits lack of understanding of the cultural signifiance of hula to kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiians).

Follow me, @Mackenzie Plunkett, for more on all things Hawaiʻi. Mahalo!

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📖 Need a definition for a Hawaiian word I used? Click here.

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Mackenzie Plunkett

A Young Native Hawaiian Woman Passionate About Indigenous Sovereignty & Life In Hawaiʻi Nei