Halloween is a fun time of year. There’s tons of candy to eat and scary movies to watch, as well as countless costumes that let you play around with your identity for a night or two. It’s a holiday that everyone—from children all the way up to grandparents—can enjoy. But the very lighthearted nature of the whole thing means that sometimes certain Halloween costumes just don’t work. Often, when people dress up as other cultures or certain characters there’s the possibility of wearing something that unintentionally trivializes what they represent due to ignorance.

With that in mind there are a few general rules: don’t dress up as a race that you don’t belong to. That means geishas, Native Americans, or any kind of Mexican (either sporting a poncho and a sombrero or Dia de Los Muertos makeup) are all out of the question for many people. Blackface is always a big, fat no; any kind of ‘thug’ or gang member costume is also probably out of the window. Finally, just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean you get to be provocative or offensive: it’s a day like any other, and niche groups like transexuals or homeless people deserve our compassion 100% of the time.

Dress up like TV or movie characters! Hell, make them zombies if you want! Go for a clever couples costume! Go for a weird, punny idea you threw together last minute and might have to explain to your friends all night! Whatever you do, don’t follow in the footsteps of the people below, who took the perfectly innocent and fun concept of Halloween and perverted it to become some weird, provocative, offensive way to seek attention.