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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24th, 2012 - Kelowna, BC - The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), a national organization supporting and representing the interests of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians, is expressing outrage and dismay at a Hallowe'en costume vendor which actively markets and sells "blind" Hallowe'en costumes.  Operating online as Spirit Hallowe'en (with retail locations across Canada), the vendor claims: "Play blind man's bluff or create a blind referee costume - feel your way through the crowd when you create or complete your costume with this walking stick and glasses set."

"I was devastated when I became aware of the Hallowe'en costumes," says Carolyn Gunn, President of the AEBC's Nanaimo chapter.  "It was even more disturbing when I realized that a mother had purchased one of these for each of her three children." 

The costumes include a pair of dark sunglasses and a mimic of a white cane, which is ordinarily used by persons who are blind as a travel aid.  The AEBC believes that such costumes are inappropriate, offensive, and unreasonably attempt to make light of what is essentially a personal characteristic. Donna Jodhan, President of the AEBC, says, "Hallowe'en is supposed to be a fun time of goblins, witches and ghosts, not a time to make fun of people with disabilities.  Can you imagine the outcry if there were a 'Black Person' costume, an 'Asian Person' costume, or an 'Anorexia Costume'?" 

The AEBC believes that these costumes take the fun of Hallowe'en and warp it into a form of mockery that is wholly inappropriate, especially where children are involved.  To the members of the AEBC, blindness is not a "scary" or "frightening" or "horrific" proposition, which is traditionally the point of many Hallowe'en costumes.  "People are afraid of things they don't understand, and blindness is unfortunately one of them.  Costumes like this, and the association of Hallowe'en with fear, simply further this misunderstanding," continues Jodhan.

Gunn concludes, "We hope that if parents already have these costumes for their children, they will reconsider whether this is really appropriate."

Let us also not forget the safety factor for all kids as they venture out on this night; and it does not matter if they are blind, partially sighted, deaf/blind, or sighted.  It does not matter what type of costume is being worn.  Moreover, in many provinces, the law actually prohibits carrying a white cane if you are a person who is not in fact legally blind.

The AEBC, which works to educate and inform people about blindness and visual impairment, calls for an immediate stop to sales of these and any similar Hallowe'en "costumes" which purport to depict persons with disabilities. 


For more information, contact:

Donna Jodhan, President


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