Memo: Offensive Halloween Costumes Are Not Funny

Written on October 31, 2013 at 3:13 pm , by

Julianne Hough (second from the right) dressed as Crazy Eyes from “Orange Is the New Black.”

This morning I put the finishing touches on a set of wings for my 12-year-old, who will be trick-or-treating as an angel alongside her BFF, the devil. [Note: The wings were made out of cardboard covered with folded flat-bottomed coffee filters, which look amazingly featherlike.] I’m lucky that she’s a good kid—sweet, smart and so far immune to the usual tween-teen problems. She’s no mean girl, nor is she bullied. Her good friends include boys as well as girls. She doesn’t obsess over clothes, hair or having a thigh gap. She thinks Miley Cyrus is silly and kind of dumb.

Which brings me to the latest Halloween costume outrages of 2013. That is, Julianne Hough partying in blackface as Crazy Eyes from Orange Is the New Black and Florida dudes Greg Cimeno and William Filene, who decided it would be “f—ing hilarious” to dress up as George Zimmerman and a murdered Trayvon Martin, then posted pics of themselves on Facebook. Julianne was needlessly insensitive and racist—and she’s since apologized. The other two went way beyond that, making a mockery out of a profound tragedy, and they still don’t get it.

I don’t know whether I’m going to talk about this with my daughter tonight as we plow through her chocolate stash. She doesn’t need the ethics lesson, and it all seems so obvious. Blackface, or yellow or brown, is never okay. Making fun of someone’s death, not to mention one so fraught and controversial as Trayvon’s, is never okay. But clearly there are folks who haven’t gotten the memo, and I’ll probably drive home the point to her anyway. Are you in with me?



Spook-tacular Fun at Boo at the Zoo

Written on October 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm , by

Today might be Halloween, but here at Family Circle we’ve been anticipating this holiday for a while by brewing up our recipes and spooky decor tips.

Halloween fans that we are, when we got to sponsor some pre-October 31st fun at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo we were super excited. Boo at the Zoo is the annual month-long Halloween celebration that includes some (not-so) scary thrills like treat stations, a hay maze and the Extinct & Endangered Species Graveyard.

We hosted a spook-tacular 3-D pumpkin-carving demonstration, face painting and a seasonal crafts table where boys and girls of all ages got to create their own masks to take home. Even our editor in chief, Linda Fears, and our executive editor, Darcy Jacobs, got in on the Halloween fun.

Our favorite photos from Boo at the Zoo follow below! To check out even more photos, click here for our entire Facebook album.


At a pre-festivities VIP brunch, children were transformed into characters of all kinds by our master face painters. This girl becomes a ghoul.

Photo credit: Jennifer Cyr with Cyrience Photography












Zoo-goers let their creative juices flow.

Photo credit: Jennifer Cyr with Cyrience Photography












Hocus-pocus! These girls took their time creating these cute witch masks.

Photo credit: Jennifer Cyr with Cyrience Photography













Even editor in chief Linda Fears, publisher Lee Slattery and executive editor Darcy Jacobs got in on the Halloween fun.

Photo credit: Jennifer Cyr with Cyrience Photography

Colored Contacts for Halloween? Proceed with Caution

Written on October 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm , by


With vampires and zombies in the midst of a major Pop Culture Moment, my money is on lots of teenagers dressing up as one or the other this Halloween. Many might be tempted to amp up a costume that seems only so-so with special-effects contact lenses, but should do so ONLY with adult oversight. (Pardon the pun.) Parents, please be aware that ALL contacts, even so-called novelty or theatrical types, are still considered medical devices by the FDA. They need to be prescribed and fitted by a licensed professional—yes, even if they’re just for “show” and not corrective. And it’s crucial that lenses be stored correctly between uses and never, ever shared. (Doing so could result in a serious infection, or worse.) For more info and a detailed Safety Checklist, go to allaboutvision.com.