HUMOUR — A crowd gathered in front of the Parliament in protest Oct. 22, but this group contained more than your average citizen. Ghosts, ghouls, vampires, werewolves, and mummies alike gathered together with signs for a demonstration against the selling of stereotypical Halloween costumes. Their organization, the Altered Living Alliance, founded in 1784, fights for the rights of persons recognized as ghoul, ghost, vampire, mummy, or werewolf by the Canadian government. Currently the organization is demanding a ban of seemingly harmful Halloween costumes in stores, declaring the costumes responsible for promoting negative, untrue stereotypes. The organization’s co-founder, Damien LeMauvais, spoke on the scene with the Martlet about the protest’s intentions. “We’re just tired of these Halloween costumes perpetuating demeaning stereotypes,” said LeMauvais. “By allowing these costumes to be sold it lets these stereotypes continue to be accepted and expected from altered-living persons such as myself. We need the government to recognize that and take action to ban them.”
The Altered Living Alliance is also pushing the government to provide educational programs about altered-living to eliminate current, harmful perceptions. “Until these education programs are created and these Halloween costumes are banned, people will continue to fear us for false reasons,” says the organization’s second co-founder, Mr. Banshee. “Even though it’s 2013, people still think that we rattle around in chains, and vampires still suck the blood of humans.” According to the ALA’s website, vampires have stopped sucking blood since the 1970s and since then switched to a human-tofu program. It also states that ghosts never wore chains by choice, but instead were forced to in the ghost slavery period of the 19th century. “It’s such a touchy subject for so many ghosts, yet stores still sell them. I wish the government would realize that just because we are see-through doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings,” says Banshee.
The ALA also hopes that their protest will raise awareness and end the stigma of being an altered-living person. Dr. John Adams was at the protest today speaking out against job discrimination for altered-living persons. “I was tenured at the University of Victoria before I was bitten by a werewolf,” explains Adams. “As soon as the university found out, I was fired without notice.” Since then, Adams has applied for other work but, despite having a doctorate in chemistry, no other university has offered him a job. “I’m not even scary looking all the time, just a few days a month,” says Adams. “And it’s not like the students will notice. They assume all tenured male professors are scary, super hairy, and only communicate in growls anyway.” Adams is also protesting against the werewolves’ negative stereotype of eating people, declaring that it’s untrue, “except for that one time, and I apologized.”
Harper has not given any recent comment regarding the protest, but was given flak last year for making negative comments regarding the ALA. When asked last year about the ALA, Harper replied, “Frankly, they really scare me and I don’t want to talk to something that is super scary.” LeMauvais hopes that despite this, action will be taken soon. “I just want people to stop screaming when they see me; my eardrums are very sensitive,” he says. “Or at least stop putting stakes through my heart, that doesn’t even work.” Banshee agrees, but knows the changes will take some time. “The government banning Halloween costumes will be a good start, but so much more needs to be done. It will still be a while before I can stop having panic attacks about vacuums.”