Arguable Attire

Arguable Attire

With the Netflix show’s “Monster: the Jeffrey Dahmer Story” recent release, starring the beloved Evan Peters, the glorification of infamous serial killers is at an all-time high. In fact, despite social outcry, millions of teenagers spent their 2022 Halloween dressed up as Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacey—some of the most notorious murderers in American history.  

“I think it is interesting how some serial killers are idolized. When I dressed up as Patrick Bateman, it was for fun because I thought he looked cool, but there are people out there who actually want to be them, which is disrespectful,” Everett Johnson, junior, said.  

While some find fascination in fictional monsters such as Patrick Bateman, Freddy Kreuger, and Michael Myers, others have taken a renewed interest in real-life individuals, often forgetting the heinous nature of their crimes or even the victims themselves. The most notable example is Jeffrey Dahmer, a cannibalistic serial killer with an array of documentaries, movies, and mini-series that portray his actions. With the 2017 release of “My Friend Dahmer,” featuring a performance from heartthrob Ross Lynch, the fetishization and romanticization of Dahmer skyrocketed. However, it did not start there; Hollywood has devoted numerous films and documentaries to Dahmer, including “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files,”Raising Jeffrey Dahmer,” and “Roots of Rage.” Such documentaries have flourished in households and are glamorized on social media.  

“I would say that, though serial killers make a good costume, it can bring attention to people that do not deserve it like Bundy or Dahmer,” Josh Faile, senior, said.  

These programs have become so popular, largely because they portray the criminals’ troubling pasts, motives, and mental illnesses; this resonates with a generation that emphasizes mental health’s importance. As a result, many find themselves caught up in the murderer’s personal aspects, further removing them from the consequences of their actions. This glamorization has taken place on social media platforms such as TikTok, where popular creators have been caught under fire for cosplaying Dahmer.  

“I think the glorification and romanticization of serial killers in recent years is extremely disrespectful and insensitive. For more recent murderers, their victims’ families may still be alive and so, not only do they have to go through the trauma of losing a loved one and the ensuing press and public attention but now have to see jovial reenactments and reminders of a very hurtful experience,” Ava Banko, senior, said. 

Others feel as though portraying Dahmer (and others) in such a positive light is insensitive and harmful to the victims’ families. Large film agencies like Netflix do not require permission from those whom the crimes have personally impacted to produce documentaries, meaning anyone can see the intensity of such offenses. To combat the surge of people idealizing criminals, like Dahmer, certain companies, such as eBay, have removed the sale of those costumes. However, it is difficult to stop the sale of khaki pants and wide-rimmed glasses that characterize Dahmer’s appearance.  

“The website [Ebay] banned these costumes, as its policy does not support benefiting from anything that is closely associated with a crime,” Fandom Wire said 

For those wanting to dress up as something realistically spooky next Halloween, there are plenty of harmless options that derive inspiration from chilling fictional villains, such as Vecna from “Stranger Things” or the Joker.