Activist Zoey Roy calls for boycott of Spirit Halloween store over Indigenous costumes

Saskatoon activist Zoey Roy is calling for a boycott of the Spirit Halloween store because of costumes based on traditional Indigenous clothing.

Appalled by kids' costumes based on Indigenous clothing

Spirit Halloween Native American costume. (Spencer Gifts)

Zoey Roy says it's 2016 and we should all know better.

Roy was shopping Sunday with her family at Spirit Halloween, a costume outlet on 51st Street. Everything was going along fine until she strayed into the kids' section with her niece.

"The first thing I saw was this little Native American costume, and there was this girl in a leather outfit with fringes and a headband and stuff like that," she said.

"Typically, we would wear that clothing after a buffalo hunt, we would use the entire animal. We have a relationship with our clothing. For them to wear it as a Halloween costume was appalling to me. I had to say something."

Roy said she calmly approached the store manager and asked that the costume be removed from the store shelves.

Zoey Roy wants Spirit Halloween and costume stores across Canada to stop selling Native American costumes. She's been in contact with the Spirit Halloween CEO who understood her concern and removed the costumes from its Saskatchewan stores. (Don Somers/CBC)

The manager refused, and escorted Roy and her family from the store.

Roy was not pleased and took to social media. She asked her community of followers to boycott the store, and to spread the word.

She also reached out to the store's parent company in Philadelphia, Pa., Spencer Gifts.

They've been communicating with her and she got a formal response later Tuesday. But she said earlier anything short of pulling the costumes would not be satisfactory.

"After everything that we've been through and everything that we should know, especially being on Treaty Six territory where there's a vast amount of Indigenous people," she said.

"So I've encouraged the community to refrain from buying their costumes at Spirit Halloween until this situation is dealt with because this has gone far too long."  

Costume pulled from Saskatchewan stores

Roy told CBC News on Tuesday she had been in contact with the CEO of Spirit Halloween who said they've spoken to their merchants instructing them to pull the Native American costume from the shelves.

But Roy hopes these costumes are never manufactured again. 

Spirit Halloween in Saskatoon removed the Native American costume from its shelves according to Zoey Roy, who spoke to the company's CEO. (Don Somers/CBC)

"I'm not trying to be punitive I don't want anyone to lose their job, my intention is to make sure these costumes aren't available," she said. "My goal is to have these costumes pulled from every Spirit Halloween store this year and for them never to be available to the public at all. They don't even need to be made."

On top of pulling the costumes, Roy added she gave the company until Oct. 25 to remove all accessories and Indigenous items from the shelves, which she said there are about 90 items. 

"All of them need to be removed and I know that's going to affect their bottom line, but what's going to affect their bottom line more is that there's a huge community of people who are not going to shop at Spirit Halloween for as long as these costumes are there."

"It's 2016 — this shouldn't even be a costume."