Kate Hudson wore sugar skull makeup for a Halloween party: beautiful?

Kate Hudson

A slew of B-listers attended the Casamigos Tequlia Halloween party this weekend. Paris Hilton was there in her traditional trashy costume. I swear she has a whole closet full of them. Halloween is her favorite holiday. Kate Hudson attended without a full-on costume, but she did have her face painted as a Mexican death mask. I suspect this will be a popular costume for many after the recent children’s movie, The Book of Life, brought Dia de los Muertos to theaters.

Kate is not Mexican, yet she has her face painted in sugar-skull mode. Is this offensive at all, or is she simply showing her appreciation for the Mexican culture? Several US cities hold Day of the Dead celebrations where people who are not Mexican get their faces painted at the festivals by Mexican artists. So this is an honest inquiry: Is Kate’s costume on the same level of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the US? You tell me. I’m all ears. Some people do find it offensive when non-Mexicans wear this makeup.

The rest of the celebrities in attendance were pretty try hard. Paris dressed as Minnie Mouse and had a ball for the paps. Elisabetta Canalis wore a Wizard of Oz Dorothy costume. Paris was probably upset she didn’t dream that one up, so she could carry one of her many tiny dogs. Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber came as fancy hippies. Molly Sims was … very pink? Chord Overstreet dressed as a cop. A hot cop? That’s debatable.

P.S. Have you seen the Ray Rice-inspired costumes this year? Disgusting.

Paris Hilton

Cindy Crawford

Elisabetta Canalis

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN

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89 Responses to “Kate Hudson wore sugar skull makeup for a Halloween party: beautiful?”

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  1. QQ says:

    LOL is not offensive to ME but I’m not Mexicana so maybe they might side eye it more

    It IS however what “pretty girls” “do” when they are trying to “uglify” themselves for Halloween aka The highest of Gay Holidays

    • mimif says:

      Every single hipster douchebag burner I try not to know has been wearing sugar skull makeup for years, either that or is tatted with them. As a Caucasiaweenie, am I allowed to be offended that it’s gone mainstream?

      *pets QQ*

      • QQ says:

        Yes Mimif, Dan Savage says It’s also become the sluttyween for straights

      • mimif says:

        True story. This is exactly why I’m going as a sack of potatoes for Halloween. Only Jaderu would think that’s sexy.

        Please tell me you and bf from Narnia are going as a witch & a wardrobe, pleeeeease!

      • Jaderu says:

        “I’m going as a sack of potatoes for Halloween”
        That’s HOT!!
        I’m going as a Lincoln MKC. My husband is going as McConaughey and walk behind me jabbering philosophical stoner sh-t.

      • QQ says:

        MIMIF!! STOPIT I wanna do NOTHING he is Really Lobbying hard that we dress Spike as Dr Spikestein and Scruffy as a FAT frankenstein with Bolts around his head… I don’t know he’ll let me skate next Halloween

    • wiffie says:

      Sugar skulls are beautiful. If they are trying to uglify themselves, they’re doing it wrong.

    • Betty says:

      I live in Los Angeles and many of the Dia de los Muertos celebrations here are open to everyone. Whether this is cultural appropriation is a slippery slope because the holiday celebrates the cycle of life and death, an experience everyone shares. That said, I can see how Mexican Americans could find it offensive to see a “gringa” wearing such makeup, especially if she’s clueless about the origins of the holiday. While I have never worn such makeup, I’ve bought pan del muerto on multiple occasions and served it to diverse groups. No one has ever remarked that it’s wrong for me to do because I’m black.

    • k says:

      i, personally, believe that anything that unites people is better than not uniting them.
      i have issues with “cultural appropriation” for that very reason.

      • snowflake says:

        exactly. me too

      • Erm says:

        This, a thousand times, this.

      • Anna says:

        I think it’s different when your culture is the one being appropriated especially when white people can take something you see as a important or sacred part of your culture and are praised for it while you are unable to take part because you are shamed for practising your own culture. So I can understand people getting mad, it’s a shame you think it’s okay.

      • Leek says:

        Agreed. I’ve also known a half-Japanese girl who was 5’10″, porcelain skin, and red ringlets. I also know two friends who are half-Mexican who could be mistaken for white Irish girls. It’s embarrassing watching people get their panties in a twist when at times they have no idea who they’re talking about.

      • Kiki says:

        What about Halloween itself? It’s originally European, so based on the same logic should Europeans get all ‘offended’ by non-Europeans who get celebrate it? When did people get so miserable?!

  2. Allie says:

    I don’t understand the point of grown women wanting to dress like little girls ie Minnie Mouse and Dorothy. Get some originality . I’m not Mexican so I can’t comment on it bring offensive, but I do think the face painting looks beautiful and original!

  3. SypherMomma says:

    I wore sugar skull makeup as a last minute Halloween costume just this weekend, I had no idea it could be considered offensive. I’m from Canada so perhaps it’s not on our radar, I feel terrible now :(

    • Kiki says:

      Don’t worry, it’s not. We have a very “we make fun of everything” attitude. It’s flattering.

      • Fancyamazon says:

        I’m a Maritimer, originally New Brunswick, now in Nova Scotia, and I thought about doing a sugar skull for a halloween costume this weekend. I always thought that the celebration of the birth-death cycle is something everyone could be involved with. I ended up deciding on a zombie thing (no sexy at ALL, thankfully), but had no idea the sugar skull could be offensive to anyone. I wouldn’t want to offend someone’s religious beliefs.

    • Sea Dragon says:

      Don’t feel terrible. Halloween is there to be celebrated and so are sugar skulls! They’re beautiful, they have a joyous meaning and one can be incredibly creative with them whether it be in a costume or when decorating one from scratch.
      I hope you stood tall, were surrounded with good people and had a lot of fun!

    • Erinn says:

      I’m not positive on it really – I’m Canadian too – but I feel like it may be almost a gray area thing? It’s not like blackface, and I don’t think it’s the same as the NA headdresses issue because I believe it was a thing that everyone could take part in, not just higher level people if that makes sense?

      But at the same time… I believe the Dia de los Muertos is a sacred thing, but I really don’t know enough about the culture surrounding it to make a call. At least, if it is considered offensive, it was done without malice, and you would feel sorry if someone was offended by you doing it.

      I think sugar skulls are beautiful, and really like them, personally. Beautiful works of art.

    • wonderwoman21 says:

      Don’t worry, I believe very few people find it offensive. I’m half Mexican and live in the southwestern part of the USA (Arizona) where there’s a huge Mexican/Mexican American population and my city celebrates Dia de los Muertos every year. Everyone is welcome to participate. I wouldn’t liken it to black face or using Native American identity as a costume.

    • Natalie says:

      I’m Canadian too, and I did an elaborate halloween La Catrina costume maybe 4 years ago…the huge hat & turn-of-the-century gown & beautiful skull makeup. Back then the term “cultural appropriation” wasn’t even on my radar, and now I feel a bit bad in retrospect. The washrooms at work even have a “is your costume racist?” checklist posted on the wall this year, and really my (beautiful) costume wouldn’t have passed. Now I know what cultural appropriation is, and I do/did understand the cultural relevance to Mexicans (and explained as much to anyone who asked about my costume!) and would think harder before re-doing a similar costume in the future because: privilege. Live & Learn!

    • Andy says:

      Don´t worry, I am Mexican, and I don’t think that foreigners wearing sugar skull (calaverita de azúcar) makeup is offensive, especially if they know the meaning, for me is beautiful and makes me very proud, especially since here in Mexico people are leaving behind this kind of costume for more Halloween ones or slutty ones, hope that makes sense.

    • claudia says:

      I am Mexican and I can tell you that we are very proud of sharing our culture with others.So, most Mexicans wouldn’t feel offended at all. I invite you to learn more about the nature of this beautiful holiday. And you do not need to be Mexican to celebrate your loved Departed.

  4. Kitten says:

    The Ray Rice costumes…WTF is wrong with people?

    Now THAT is offensive.

    • maybeiamcrazy says:

      Those costumes are horrible. Even worse is that there probably many more of them.

    • Peppa says:

      My daughter was at a birthday party a couple weekends ago, and the mom of one of her friends was talking to me about costumes. She goes “Oh man, our friends have the best couple costume planned for our Halloween party. He is going to be Ray Rice and she is going to be the wife. They are both going to paint their faces black, and she is going to have bruises on her face too.” I just said “whoa that does not sound like the best idea” even though I was thinking of saying “your friends sound like jerks.” My brother already saw a couple dressed like that in a bar over the weekend. People love offensive costumes like that, remember the Trayvon Martin ones from last Halloween?

    • Grace says:

      And people are proud of them! Showing them off on Instagram and Facebook. Bizarre.

    • Pennyclover22 says:

      @Kitten I agree but it brings back my faith in humanity that I am not the only one that finds the Ray Rice costume in bad taste.

    • Norman Bates' Mother says:

      That’s horrible but nothing will probably surprise me in terms of Halloween after I recently saw a picture of Charles Manson/bleeding Sharon Tate with a knife in her pregnant belly couple’s costume. This is not just a bad taste – it is sick beyond any understanding and should guarantee those insensitive jerks a cosy spot in the psychiatric ward.

  5. Ashley says:

    I don’t find it offensive. It’s a skull.

  6. Sea Dragon says:

    I think it’s very pretty and tasteful. Yay for Halloween!

  7. elo says:

    I live in San Antonio, and Dia de Los Muertos is simply part of the culture here, not racially divided, just part of local culture, there are balls, alter contests, church services, etc. I paint my face every year and make traditional skulls, I have never heard anyone take offense. It really is more of a celebration of life not cultural appropriation.

  8. Babadook says:

    Aren’t Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber supposed to be Sonny and Cher?

  9. Angel L says:

    My daughter was a Dia de Los Muertos sugar skull a few years ago for Halloween. I made sure that she knew the cultural significance of the costume and when someone asked what she was she was able to explain it. I thought she was beautiful and I hope no one was offended.

    This year she was the fabulous Phryne Fisher – her choice.

    • megs283 says:

      I LOVE Phryne Fisher! I’m so bummed only the first season is available on Netflix…I can’t wait to see season 2. :-) Do you live in the US? I feel like no one really knows about that series over here. (I’m talking about the TV series, though I had never heard of the books until last year either.)

    • Ana says:

      That was awesome from you. I bet your daughter looked beautiful. :)

  10. Pri says:

    Elisabetta was there? Interesting…

    • Jaderu says:

      And the plot thickens…
      *lightning crashes as a ceramic cockatoo falls to the marbled library floor*

  11. Corinn says:

    Paris Hilton always wears hideous shoes.

    • AlexandriaTheGreat says:

      Ha! It’s because she wears a size 11 and there’s not many designer ones that fit her : /

  12. Candy Love says:

    All of the costumes look cheap and half a$$ed.

  13. Beep says:

    I think Cindy Crawford and her husband were supposed to be Sonny & Cher.

  14. captain hero says:

    Paris looks stupid. Cindy looks like Megan draper. I think Kate looks nice but I’m not in a position to say whether it is offensive or not.

  15. launicaangelina says:

    I’m Mexican American, my dad is from Mexico so my ties to Mexico are close. I don’t find it offensive at all. It’s beautiful and even more so when it coincides with honoring the memory of a loved one. I may do this for Halloween this year.

    • megs283 says:

      I never knew about the Day of the Dead (other than that it exists) so your comment inspired me to read more. I was surprised to learn that tradition says that the gates of heaven open at midnight on Oct. 31 and the spirits of deceased children can come home for 24 hours. My daughter passed away last year on Oct. 25, and we buried her on Nov 2. Picturing my daughter with us for 24 hours will help ease some of the pain during that time…

  16. OhDear says:

    I can see how people consider it offensive – it’s part of Mexican culture and it’s being reduced to “ooh, so pretty!!!” (similar to Gwen Stefani and Maddona’s cultural appropriation of bindis, Native American headresses, Japanese street culture, etc.).

    I’m also not a fan of the St. Patrick’s Day stuff (and know Irish-Americans who are offended by it).

    The Ray Rice costumes are disgusting.

    • sienna says:

      Offence of St Patrick’s Day… really? My husband was borne and raised in Ireland. We always go the the pub with his family and other Irish expats on St Pats. They love to celebrate it. Makes them nostalgic for home.

      • OhDear says:

        It’s more about the overgrown frat boys/sorority girls who use it as an excuse to pretend they’re “drinking like the Irish” and get completely trashed.

  17. mkyarwood says:

    It’s been making the hipster hallowe’en circuit for awhile now and I’ve never heard anyone speak up about being offended! I wonder if doing the full Geisha would be offensive now, too. I’ve always wanted to do both :(

  18. chloeee says:

    It irks me that something that has been around forever and never talked about is now trendy. It irks me on a cultural level, slightly. But there are more offensive things out there.

  19. Dhavynia says:

    I’m Latina but not Mexican but IMO it depends who is painted. There are a lot of people who hate Mexican, even among Latinos so if I was Mexican and I saw one of them painted I’ll be like “wash your face, you don’t the right” then again that’s just me.

  20. MVD says:

    I am Mexican and I believe when someone from a privileged group takes a symbol of cultural significance from an oppressed group and uses it to “express themselves,” they are guilty of cultural appropriation. You do it because you think it’s cool or you think it makes you look cute but it divorces that imagery/symbol of its original significance and in doing so, dilute it. However, Halloween is hardly the only time I’ve seen this done. Now it is also cool for “offbeat” brides to misappropriate Day of the Dead imagery in weddings.

  21. Blythe says:

    I didn’t realize how much Elisabetta Canalis and Alessandra Ambrosio look alike until now.

  22. Dolce crema says:

    There are so many things to be for halloween, and halloween costumes are often a joke. So I think if you have a hankering to paint your face in sugar skull, you should be free to do it on another occasion, whatever the holiday is, or in your mourning period, celebration of life, even an arty photo shoot. Maybe for a private halloween party, but not out in the mall or trick or treating. I feel like it’s easy enough to find something else. Even having multi cultural costumes in a fashion shoot in vogue is more appropriate to me than using them for halloween.

  23. Dolce crema says:

    I think press hungry celebs have figured out that a mildly controversial costume is a great way to get ppl talking about them without actually getting in trouble..

  24. SAKS says:

    I AM Mexican. This is not offensive at all. I showed this to a friend, and we both think she looks beautiful.

    I really dont know anyone who gets offended when people use our traditions this way, the most people I know actually find it flattering. We are really proud of our traditions, Día de Muertos is especially beautiful, and we like when people from other countries apreciate our culture.

    Just like a person from any other country, we Mexicans feel offended when it appears that our culture and symbols are use while displaying huge ignorance or actual offensive behaviour. E.g.: The Mexican flag shorts, Bieber wore to a box practice (It is against the law in Mexico to use the flag in such things, so that is quite offensive, even tho he said he used them because we have a great tradition in boxing).

    Oh, and just one more thing, when we disguise like that its not suposed to be a sugar skull, but the “Catrina” (“Catrin” when is used by a man) a super elegant skull that became really famous after Mexican Revolution, and very typical during Día de Muertos celebrations, along with the big altars, the delicious food and the candles. It’s really beautiful.

    • kathy d. says:

      @SAKS and others who have espoused such positive responses, thank you for your gracious and open view to this discussion! It reaffirms my belief in the importance of embracing other cultures by first,learning about them, then secondly, having the opportunity to share them in a beautiful, heartfelt AND respectful manner. Doing so with an emphasis on learning and understanding the origin and meaning behind other cultures’ customs allows us all to benefit as we become more aware of the numerous cultures that exist in our world. THank you =)

  25. Liesl says:

    We threw a Dia de Los Muertos party for my seven-year-old last year (per her request), because her birthday coincides with the holiday. I didn’t even consider that it might be offensive (since we’re not Latino), which is no excuse — I just got the impression that since it’s an international holiday, it was okay to borrow the tradition.

    I speak Spanish and have lived in Latin America, so I have witnessed the festivities firsthand. (Not sure that makes any difference.) I will say all the workers at the pasteleria where we bought calaveras were delighted to see my little blondie so excited about their holiday. But maybe when they start selling sexy Dia de Los Muertos costumes, they won’t be so amused.

    (Side note: We saw The Book of Life this weekend, and it was incredible!)

    • SAKS says:

      That’s awesome! and don’t worry it is not offensive. I think it’s great that your daughter finds Día de Muertos that interesting. As I said in a previous comment, we feel flattered when people from other countries appreciate our traditions.

  26. lylaooo says:

    this is not offensive! stop trying to find offensive sides on everything!
    i’m mexican, and when we know that people from other culture´s and countries embrace our culture we found it flattering and we feel proud of it.

  27. paranormalgirl says:

    Will no one think of we pagans to whom Halloween (Samhain) is a holy day?

  28. Adrien says:

    So who is Randy Gerber supposed to be? Fabio? I love Morrissey’s (or was that Quentin Tarantino) officer costume. He’s the cop behind Paris Hilton.

  29. Maria says:

    I doubt most non Mexicans who do this understand the culture significance behind it.

    It doesn’t offend me but I will internally side eye the hell out of anyone who just thinks of it as cute.

    It’s nice when people find our traditions beautiful but without understanding the meaning, it’s empty.

    Another poster above who told her daughter what it meant did it right ;)

  30. JessSaysNo says:

    I wore Sugar Skull last Halloween and never thought it was offensive. It’s certainly less offensive than a poncho, mustache and sombrero that some people call a costume when its just mocking Mexicans.

  31. Bibi says:

    The origin of the Catrina (upper class female skeleton or Calavera) by Jose Guadalupe Posada (Mexican) was intended as a satiric politic matter around 1910-1913 ( he died in 1913). Mexican culture then incorporated to the VERY ANCIENT way to commemorate the passing of a loved one. Tradition of celebration on Nov1. (dead children) and Nov2 (dead adults) will bring you to a Calavera (sugary skull) on a panadería or to a Written Calavera (a kind of rhyming poem ab your life and the way you died). I’m Mexican and used to write Calaveras for friends, teachers and my boss in Spanish and English. Though Celebración of Día de Muertos is more than a mere mask or face painting for cute reasons.

  32. Bibi says:

    ***meant to say that written Calaveras are written in a funny way, as a joke about the way you LIVED. Also, every year is a sure thing politicians and celebrities will see their Calavera printed on National or Regional newspapers, intended as a way to flatter you because you are Well Known.

  33. Kate2 says:

    I think she looks beautiful and whoever did the work did a wonderful job. The rose in her hair is perfect. I have Spanish heritage (my great great grandfather was a Spanish sea captain, but that’s it. Although I get my last name from him.) but not Mexican, so I don’t know if its offensive. But I’m seeing Mexican commenters here saying its not. Which is good because if its done respectfully seems to be a really beautiful expression of this culture. Its really a work of art.

    I’d rather see this than Paris Hilton’s Slutfest 2014 getup.

  34. Ana says:

    How come when it comes to using Latin American culture in clothing, make-up etc no one throws the “Culture Appropiation” speech? It seems like a continuation of discriminatory behaviour against those countries that are allegedly less “advanced” in socio-economic status from those which are supposed to be in the “first” world. I dunno, called me biased because I am Latin American, but it’s something I have been pondering about for a while when I see trends like Aztec prints and alike in the shops and catwalks.

    P.S. I cannot say for sure because I haven’t been in the US during Dia de los Muertos, but I think Mexican artists would paint non-Mexicans faces without an issue because it’s their source of income.

    • elo says:

      Anna, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m in San Antonio which 80% Hispanic and it is a huge thing here. A lot of the parties that are thrown are done so by museums, dress is required and money is given to cultural foundations. Every time I’ve been painted I’ve only received compliments. Growing up in Texas I am aware of the cultural meaning and traditions behind the holiday and have always been welcomed to participate. As there is not a history behind the sugar skull like black face I think it avoids falling under cultural appropriation.

  35. Chem says:

    Why sugar skull??
    A sugar skull is some sort of candy. That’s Catrina makeup.
    No, I’m not offended.

  36. snowflake says:

    i just wanna know if paris will ever give up her sex kitten/ditzy blonde routine and act like a grownup. she’ll prob be 50 and dressing like that for Halloween. it must be killer on her, getting older

    ps who is that in the black wig?

  37. dani says:

    Why would it be offensive??? The opposite, Im Mexican, an it actually makes me very proud to see that our traditions are now followed by other cultures! It is very nice, since it is an incredible festivity.

  38. picopink says:

    The sugar skull makeup is pretty and well-done, not ghoulish at all. And I don’t see why you see why you have to be Mexican to wear it.
    Sidenote: I thought Cindy Crawford was Terri Hatcher. She looks a little hardened in that pic.

  39. drea says:

    People who find Kate’s makeup offensive have probably not been hanging out with the club kids these days. It’s a hip thing now.

    We all take bits and pieces from other cultures. I think it’s great that, for the most part, we’re allowed to share.

  40. Bec says:

    I think the dia de los muertos skull is beautiful, and living and dying is something everyone does, so I’m at a loss as to why it might be offensive. People who don’t go to church wear crosses around their necks and celebrate christmas (I know christmas isn’t about Christ, but try telling christians that) so how is it offensive to pay homage this with sugar skull make up? I say stop flying the racism flag every time someone does something.

  41. Annie says:

    My sister in law is Mexican and she has blond hair and blue eyes. And one of her daughters is also blond and blue eyed. Not all Mexicans are brown. The sugar skull face painting is a recent trend in Mexico as well. Everyone is doing it in Mexico even if they didn’t grow up celebrating dia de los muertos. Dia de los muertos celebrations have usually been in rural mexico and in indigineous communities. But it is becoming mainstream in other classes in Mexico. About 10 years ago I dressed as a Catrina for a dia de los muertos celebration. The make-up was just black/white skeleton which has now morphed to the sugar skull look. A sugar skull is not a sacred object . The skulls are given to kids. They eat it! Kind of like Easter and candy eggs.