Cecil the Lion is inspiring a lion’s share of 2015’s Halloween costumes. However, some consumers are questioning the taste level of looks based on the beloved big cat that met such a terrible fate.
The senseless killing of Cecil the Lion caused a social media outrage this summer, and now companies that sell Halloween costumes are hoping to capitalize on the massive amount of attention surrounding the lion’s sad tale. According to the Telegraph, one of these costumes is a “Sexy Cecil the Lion” outfit being sold by Yandy, a lingerie retailer that features a large selection of skimpy Halloween costumes.
The Sexy Cecil the Lion costume is a shiny velour bodysuit with a plunging neckline and a long tail. It also comes with a furry hood that actually looks quite cozy.
However, as the Telegraph points out, “Dead big cats aren’t a common turn-on, and some may feel that it is making light of the lion’s death.”
The $118.95 Sexy Cecil costume might be in poor taste, but Yandy wants customers to feel good about buying it. According to the website, a portion of the proceeds from the costume’s sales will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund.
“Show your support for all wildlife in this limited edition, Cecil the Lion costume featuring a light brown, crushed velvet romper with long sleeves, a zip up front, attached lion tail, a cheeky cut back and a deluxe, faux fur trimmed hood with lion ears,” the product description reads. “20% of the proceeds of our limited edition, Cecil the Lion costume will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund to support global conservation initiatives.”
According to Time, another controversial Cecil costume is being sold by the Costumeish website. It’s called “Lion Killer Dentist Halloween Costume,” and it comes with a fake severed lion head and blood-spattered dentist smock. It’s obviously inspired by dentist Walter James Palmer, the man who paid to kill Cecil the Lion.
The costume caused quite the outrage online, prompting Costumeish Founder and Vice President Johnathon Weeks to issue a response to critics. He told Time that his company simply creates Halloween costumes based on what consumers are searching for online, and Cecil costumes just happened to be a popular search topic.
“I’m not here to offend anybody, I’m just here to keep things questionable,” Weeks said. “We’re just in the very beginning of this Halloween season. There’s more to come.”
The outrage has evidently boosted sales of the Lion Killer Dentist Halloween costume.
“Due to overwhelming demand the price of the costume has been raised to $139.99,” a note on the Costumeish website reads.
Time reports that the company is advertising that 15 percent of the proceeds from the costume’s sales will be donated to “a wildlife foundation,” but there’s no reference to this anywhere in the costume’s description.
The Lion Killer Dentist costume almost seems like a celebration of Cecil’s death, so it’s not surprising that PETA decided to respond to its sad existence. However, instead of simply complaining about it, the animal rights organization created its own Halloween costume called “Cecil’s Revenge.” The costume imagines what would have happened if Cecil the Lion had been aware that he was being hunted by Palmer.
“For those on the lookout for a table-turning twist this Halloween, PETA is officially taking pre-orders for its cheeky limited-edition costume ‘Cecil’s Revenge’—a dentist’s uniform with a ‘Dr. Palmer’ name tag, complete with a plush lion grabbing the coat from behind, leaving ‘bloody claw marks,'” the costume’s description on PETA’s blog reads.
Interestingly, it’s priced at $139.99, the exact same price that the Lion Killer costume was raised up to. All proceeds from the sales of Cecil’s Revenge costumes will go to PETA.
The Independent Journal reports that some people are also finding the revenge costume in poor taste. They don’t think it’s right that PETA is “making a joke out of the whole affair,” and one Twitter critic pointed out that “2 wrongs don’t make a right.”
At least Cecil the Lion hasn’t been turned into a zombie (yet).
[Image credits: Yandy, Costumeish, PETA]