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Stores reject offensive 'alien' costumes

October 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Each fall, Halloween stores burst at the seams. The costumes bloom and the choices multiply. It's enough to make you scream. But this year, two costumes have people screaming for all the wrong reasons.The outfits go by the title "Illegal Alien"

One is a mask of a space alien with a thick mustache, and the other depicts an alien in a prison jump suit holding a green card.

"When you add that sole dynamic of the green card, then it becomes something that's crossed the line," said Jesse Diaz, an immigration activist.

Diaz doesn't see the humor in the costumes. He says they're a mean-spirited swipe at hard-working immigrants.

The costumes were being sold by retail giant Target, but the company pulled them after immigrant rights groups began complaining.

"They should have a better conscientious idea of what they're selling," said Diaz.

However, most costume stores are usually packed with outfits that some people would find offensive. Many would ask, "Since when is Halloween supposed to be politically correct?"

"It's just a costume, it's a mask, it's a regular mask, it's Halloween, no big deal," said Miguel Montoya, a costume shopper.

"It's creative, but I don't think it crosses any lines," said Nate Brown, another costume shopper.

"Almost anything could be offensive," said Debra Mirabella, owner of Cinema Secrets, a Burbank costume store.

Mirabella had a chance to stock the costumes earlier this year but passed.

"If it's offensive to so many people, it's just best not to go there. So it was just kind of a conscious choice," said Mirabella.

Mirabella says each year, she shoots down several costumes that she finds objectionable.

This one, she admits, didn't bother her too much, but even though stores like Cinema Secrets like to scare customers, they don't want to scare them away with offensive costumes.

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