As the seasonal Spirit Halloween stores begin popping up in malls and shopping centers across America, so do the controversial costumes being sold.
It's become fairly common over the years for news stories or viral internet sensations to find themselves as Halloween costumes.
Among the pop culture costumes of late are the dress which some saw as black and blue, others as white and gold, and Covid-19, which still remains a deadly threat even with vaccines being steadily distributed.
But a frontrunner for the dubious distinction of the most controversial costume of 2021 is "Karen."
While the costume, showing a White woman with a blonde bob and sunglasses, might seem rather generic, it stems from a pejorative whose significance drastically grew in 2020.
"Karen" usually refers to an entitled White woman, prone to complaining about minor inconveniences and asking for the manager, or in some extremes exhibiting covid-denying, anti-vaccine or even racist or otherwise bigoted behavior.
Referring to angry White women as Karen became exacerbated in May of 2020, when Amy Cooper made false and harmful accusations against a birdwatching Black man after he asked her to put her dog on its leash in Central Park.
Referring to women as a "Karen" has proven to be a highly polarizing subject, as many feel even though the term is meant to call out entitled women behaving badly in public, it is also misogynistic with no apparent male equivalent.
Not surprisingly, women actually named Karen have not taken too kindly to the term's growing popularity, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Karen Heyman of La Jolla, California deemed the term "misogynistic and ageist" and bemoaned its frequent use in print publications.
"Columnists should be objecting to it rather than making excuses for it."
"As someone who was bullied as a child, I refuse to humor a trend that mocks my name. Woe be unto you if you keep insulting your middle-aged readers."
While Los Angeles native Vincent Brooks spoke out against labeling women as "Karens" in defense of his wife, Karen.
I'm writing on behalf of my wife, Karen, and I'm sure for Karens of all colors and ages when I say, please cease the senseless sexist stigmatizing of a name that means no harm to anyone.
The "Karen" costume has also received a highly divided reception.
There were some who found the costume to be a harmless joke and expressed their amusement with the idea on Twitter.
But with "Karens" now more commonly associated with racist, not just difficult, behavior, others weren't able to find anything funny about the costume.
Many questioned if anyone should wear such a costume in jest, or if companies should profit from such a costume, as it might make light of some of the more horrific actions these women have become associated with, as well as emphasize the inherent misogyny of the term.
Naysayers, not to mention taste levels, aside, don't be surprised to see an abundance of "Karens" out and about this Halloween, as the "Karen" wig has already sold out on Spirit's website.