Fright Catalog's Idea Of A Scary Halloween.
Fright Catalog, a Massachusetts based Halloween production company, released many new products for last Halloween. Fright Catalog's products are shipped to big retailers such as Wal-Mart and Party City. One of the Halloween masks that stood out most to the public was "Vato Loco." This mask was very popular and not for a good reason. The production of these masks became a huge outrage to a large amount of Latino communities.
"Vato Loco" was racially discriminating toward the Latino community for so many reasons. The name alone, "Vato Loco," translates into "crazy, street tough guy," which can be implying Latinos are somewhat dangerous. Fright Catalog's description of "Vato Loco" says "This scary stud can empty out a full house just by walking through the door." This description also can be very offensive and once again implying Latinos are "scary". Many Latino community members were extremely offended and were protesting the mask that was trying to portray a Latino gang member.
Lisa Navarrete is a spokesperson for the National Council of La Raza, which is a group aiming to reduce poverty and discrimination for Hispanics. Navarrete herself was not very happy with the situation and says, "This is an absolutely grotesque stereotype that represents some people's images of Latinos." This definitely is a "grotesque stereotype" and can really have a negative affect on the way Latino's are perceived.
In defense of "Vato Loco" the company's owner Mark Arvanigian fist apologizes then goes on to say, "Our company is not racist in any way and we do not condone any type of hateful actions… In fact, the item is manufactured in Mexico, by a labor force mostly made up of Latinos. They did not have a problem with it when it was manufactured." To make things even worse a few weeks after, Mark Arvanigian threatened he would put "Vato Loco" the cover of the next edition of Fright Catalog for Halloween.
The national executive director of League of United Latin American Citizens, Brent Wilkes, said, "The idea of taking any race or ethnicity and making a costume out of it concerns me... But to combine or promote violence along with that ethnic stereotype is even more offensive." The League of United Latin American Citizens contacted Fright Catalog and pursued them to stop carrying these racist products. According to Fright Catalog's website the "Vato Loco" mask is no longer available and has been discontinued. After much persuasion justice was rightfully served. A job well done to the Latino community in making the world a better place for everyone.