The Anne Frank Costume Controversy


Elizabeth DeLeo, Writer

It’s that time of year when children all over the world ask themselves the question, “What do I want to be for Halloween?” However, there is a new costume this year that is stirring up controversy on social media. Amazon, Walmart, and other Halloween retailers are selling it: the Anne Frank costume. The outfit includes a dress, beret, and satchel, which is similar to what Anne Frank would have worn.

The costume controversy started in August when stores began releasing their costumes for the Halloween season. Stores advertised the Anne Frank costume as “WW2 Anne Frank Girls Costume,” or as “World War II Evacuee Girl Costume.” Another online store, called, described the costume as a “World War II hero and an inspiration.”

In defense of their decision to sell this costume, retailers explained it as a way to “learn from the struggles of history.” Upon its release, people immediately started tweeting and mentioning it on social media sites, causing an uproar, which led to many stores taking it down. Many people saw it as sickening and something extremely serious that should not be taken as a joke, with many referring to it as “offensive” and that it “trivializes her suffering.”

Alexandra DeVitt, a spokesperson for the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, stated, “There are more appropriate ways to commemorate the legacy of Anne Frank than through a Halloween Costume.” In response to the whole situation, Ross Walker Smith, a spokesperson for, apologized to anyone who thought the costume was offensive. He made a statement saying, “We sell costumes not only for Halloween, but for many uses outside of the Halloween season, such as school projects and plays.” Then, they subsequently removed the costume from the website. The New York Times summed up how everyone was feeling by stating, “Frank-ly, it was a really bad idea.”