‘Anna Rexia’ Halloween Costume Enrages Parents, Experts

A Halloween costume comprised of a skin-tight dress with glittery bones on it to indicate anorexia is causing an Internet stir as parents and eating disorder experts express dismay at the idea of making light of a disease that affects up to 10 million American women, and is the mental illness with the highest mortality rate.

The “Anna Rexia” costume, which also comes with a waist tape measure, has been pulled from many costume shops–more as the negative reaction spreads– and it has been discontinued by its manufacturer, Dreamgirl.  But it is still for sale by a few costume vendors and online shops.

“We understand that some people will not find the dark humor funny,” Alicia Brockwell, Dreamgirl’s marketing director, told CNN.com, “Halloween is an eccentric and irreverent holiday for people to express themselves in a myriad of ways. While some people may not like a particular costume – it is a matter of taste and personal discretion.”

Eating disorder experts are not amused.

“There is absolutely nothing funny about anorexia,” Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, told CNN. “If you saw an 8-year-old kid on a feeding tube you’d be surprised. Anorexia is not a choice – at all.”

“Eating disorders are mental and the consequences are physical.” she continued, pointing out that related health issues can include early osteoporosis, kidney failure, digestive system ailments, renal disease, and more. “If you’re not feeding yourself, you’re not feeding your brain and your body – and your body needs the fuel.”

Grefe urged anyone who is concerned about eating disorders to call 800-931-2237 or visit NationalEatingDisorders.org.

(image via: http://www.dollymix.tv)

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  1. by Becca

    On October 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Personally, I think they took this costume out of context. It is just a costume! They are not making light of a serious illness, it is just for Halloween and people who find this kind of thing funny to dress up as. Like people who dress up like the have leprosy. It isn’t a funny disease, and people still do it because for Halloween it is amusing. People need to just take a chill pill and relax a little about some things.

  2. by Mary

    On October 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I guess all skeleton costumes will be off the market, soon. The only mistake this company made was in naming the costume. No, anorexia is not funny, but we really need to stop taking ourselves so seriously and lighten up.

  3. by kim

    On October 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    interesting that parents are against it as a message for children. It doesn’t have a sign calling it that, that children can read AND it is an ADULT costume. Leave parenting to the parents and costumes to free choice.

  4. by Debbie

    On October 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    One thing I can say is that it is not going to look like “that” on many people. And I agree, it’s Halloween, it supposed to be funny. People are getting all worked up over the craziest things anymore. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

  5. by Marie

    On October 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Another thing people need to lighten up. It’s a costume!!!

  6. by Marie

    On October 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    My first comment wasn’t published. This is what it sd. Wow, I have never seen a big deal made out of fat costumes which is also an eating disorder, some times due to mental illness and can cause death due to the complications and no one has ever pulled those costumes. If this kind of costume is going to be pulled then might as well pull them all. People need to have thicker skin!

  7. by Caprice

    On October 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    It’s just a costume, get over it. Why does everyone make suck a big deal out of nothing. I don’t see anyone causing a stir about FAT costumes, or mentally ill costumes, the list goes on and on. Seriously theres better topics to throw a bitch fit over.

  8. by NIkki

    On October 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I wonder if this costume wasn’t named “Anna Rexia” if it would have caused such a fuss? Is it really the costume that bothers everyone or just the name? & really Kim–I think you nailed it. If your child is seeing this maybe you should do a better job protecting them from it. Make it a teaching moment & allow them to understand that it isn’t a funny disorder and ways they can prevent it. :)

  9. by Melinda

    On October 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Personally, I think they’re totally freaking out about something stupid. This is how humans ruin every fun thing with their political correctness and inability to laugh or look the other way.
    Everyone should be more bent out of shape that every kids costume seems to be made for a pint size whore and less concerned about what ADULTS decide to wear.

  10. by Rosa

    On October 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Grow up! It is just costume. What about the costume that represent fat people? Take it off the shelf or let the anna rexia costume continue to be sold.

  11. by Heather

    On October 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Murder isn’t funny. Death isn’t funny. Mental illness isn’t funny. Yet these are common, familiar themes in Halloween costumes and events. Part of the appeal of the holiday is getting to safely explore ideas that we find frightening.

    We often use humor to protect ourselves from scary or painful things. I actually think including anorexia as one of the horrors of Halloween is a good thing. It indicates that it is a serious and scary matter, and something to be feared.

  12. by Margie

    On October 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    This costume is actually quite appropriate considering that anorexia falls under the “horrifying” category for Halloween costumes. But I doubt most people would view it that way.

  13. by Larry B.

    On October 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    “eating disorders are not a choice”????

    Of COURSE they are.

  14. by Rachel

    On October 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Just looks like another skeleton costume to me. Minus the measuring tape.

  15. by willow

    On October 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    What about the fat suits? Isn’t just as bad?

  16. by Xalleah

    On October 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    It’s Halloween! So how is dressing up as an anorexic any better than dressing up as something covered in blood or having guts hanging out? The point of Halloween is to be freaky and make light of horrible situations. It’s not a kids costume. Get over it. I mean people dress up as WAY worse every year and people see it as normal.

  17. by Linda

    On October 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    As the above poster mentioned, I think if they named the costume something else, no one would have cared. But the intent is to stir up sales and draw attention so from the marketing stand point I thought it was clever. There are plenty of costumes out there that look just the same if not worse, skimpy, tight, seductive and too short. Not just this one.

  18. by Pamela

    On October 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I like it. I don’t see anything wrong with it. I kinda think it’s cute.

  19. by Cassie

    On October 10, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Thank you everyone that helped me see that making fun of a disease or mental illness is funny!!! I am now going to dress up like a cancer patient this year now that I know its okay!!!

  20. by Teresa

    On October 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I think you are all stupid!

  21. by Valeria

    On October 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe how many ignorant people are commenting on this thread on a PARENTING website. I feel horrible for your children, many of whom, I hate to tell you, will suffer from some kind of mental health issue at some point in their lifetime. To those who say Anorexia IS a choice. Wow. How do you live with yourself throwing out completely misinformed proclamations? I’m not going to break it all down here, but Anorexia is an illness that happens to ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE (rich, poor, black, white, male, female) and is no different than being afflicted with other major illness. I really don’t understand what people are saying about how this costume is no different than other costumes portraying “fat” people or other illnesses. Umm, can you provide concrete examples? I’ve never seen anyone dressed up as a leper. I understand that much of this comes from the stigma in the U.S. attached to mental illness. It’s a terrible reality, but maybe we can get rid of some of that if some of you were to take the time to educate yourselves instead of making these kinds of posts, making yourselves look downright stupid.

  22. by Kelsey J.

    On October 20, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Good grief. It’s a Halloween costume for ADULTS for crying out loud. I think some people overreact about everything. They need to get a sense of humor. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

  23. by Normal

    On November 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Seriously? “Anorexia is not a choice?” EAT A GOD DAMNED SANDWICH YOU SKINNY BITCHES.

    There are kids in 3rd world countries who would murder you for that little piece of chicken you just can’t have because you’re so fat.

    Get the fuck out of here.

  24. by XTC

    On November 14, 2011 at 2:50 am

    I think you are all sick and exaggerated Americans

  25. by alexiastarwatcher

    On November 20, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Never mind this costume, Halloween costumes in general have become far too slutty. It’s okay for adults, I mean… if you like wearing that stuff, but it’s too risque for a child to wear, obviously.

  26. by Satan

    On December 4, 2011 at 1:09 am

    big frickin, deal, take the tape measure away and its just a dress with a skeleton print on it. Lighten up, pull the sticks out of your arses.

  27. by Joanna

    On January 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    OMG!! I know that it is a serious disease with severe consequences. With that said, this costume is HILARIOUS!! People need to stop being so sensitive. Live life, laugh with life, love life.

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  29. by Rainbow81

    On February 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Having suffered from anorexia nervosa for 18 LONG years this costume is in poor taste…but so are many other costumes out there. I guess i am neutral. I do not find it amusing in any way, and just chalk it up to society being overly ignorant and insensitive about serious matters. Typical.

  30. by Dena

    On February 13, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Ya know there are hot dog costumes that people who don’t eat pork, or even just people who don’t eat meat would find offensive. There are baby costumes which people who don’t want kids would find offensive. There are policeman costumes which people who don’t like cops would find offensive… see how stupid it is to pick a part a Halloween costume? I mean really. Halloween is an extreme holiday, you get to dress up as the craziest thing you can think of. Anorexia.. pretty scary.. makes a great Halloween costume. Get over it.