Considering all the very real horrors of 2020, Halloween already feels sort of feeble this year. Then again, perhaps all this madness will inspire some truly memorable costumes. Los Angeles-based make-up artist Jason Adcock has surely come up with one, as he’s designed a terrifying mask based on the popular Karen meme.
Karen is, of course, the prerogative nickname for an entitled, typically racist white woman prone to loud and obliviously hypocritical complaining. You know, the type of person who will scream about individual freedoms but then refuse to wear a mask in a privately owned store and ask to see the manager. Karens have always been here, but they truly took off this year thanks to viral videos surrounding the pandemic and civic unrest.
That’s why Adcock was struck by the idea to do a Karen mask. “I was starting on this year’s Halloween projects and kept seeing ‘Karens’ pop up in my news feed and thought, ‘Damn this is the real monster of 2020,’” Adcock told Business Insider.
He decided to make two versions of the hand-painted latex masks: regular Karen and Karen-19, a pustulating iteration to celebrate the Karens who don’t take COVID-19 seriously. It takes Adcock about two to four weeks to make the masks by hand himself, which has made it hard for him to keep up with the flood of orders. After posting the designs on Etsy for $180 each, he’s already had to stop taking new orders just so he can catch up.
Of course, because it wouldn’t be Karen without a little rage, Adcock has faced some backlash for the masks. Commenters on Facebook and Instagram have called him out for being “racist,” with one user saying, “If this were a black mask people would be losing their minds over it.” And there have been a lot of comments and DMs worse than that.
Adcock, who’s thankful the masks’ success has allowed him some financial relief in the time of COVID, is taking it in stride. “‘Karen’ is transcendent of all gender and size. She is just a modern-day tyrant. Anybody evil can be a Karen,” he told Good Morning America. “Just take it for what it is: a funny Halloween mask. I’m not here to ruin anybody’s day. I’m just trying to make people laugh.”