Asda and Tesco in Halloween Horror
Supermarket giants Asda and Tesco sparked nationwide outrage after selling a ‘mental patient’ costume for Halloween.
There has been widespread criticism of the costumes as many felt it stigmatised those with mental illness. Asda’s costume consisted of a blood-stained white coat and fake meat cleaver, and Tesco’s offered a ‘psycho ward’ boiler suit with plastic jaw restraint.
Both chains have apologised for offence caused and withdrawn the costumes from sale.
Asda has pledged £25,000 to mental health charity, MIND and Tesco is to donate an unspecified amount.
Those suffering with mental illness are often stigmatised in society and many feel these costumes reinforce the negative perceptions that drive people to suicide.
Sue Baker of Mind’s anti-stigma ‘Time to Change’ campaign told BBC Radio 5 live that “The stigma can be life-limiting and life-threatening because people don’t think they can talk to anybody.”
The costumes have fuelled widespread anger and people have taken to social networks to voice their outrage about the incident.
One Twitter user posted a picture of himself in normal clothes, with the hashtag “my #mentalhealth outfit for the day.”
Mental Health Charity Rethink also used Twitter, demanding that Asda explain their costume description: “Everyone will be running away from you in fear in this mental patient fancy dress costume.”
In a statement on Twitter, Asda confirmed that the outfit had been withdrawn and called the costume a “completely unacceptable error.”