Walmart Now Has An Internal “Swat Team” To Prevent Embarrassing Costumes From Hitting Shelves

In 2013, Walmart had to remove this "Naughty Leopard" costume from its stores because... well, it's pretty self-evident why.

In 2013, Walmart had to remove this “Naughty Leopard” costume from its stores because… well, it’s pretty self-evident why.

Walmart and its website have a spotted history when it comes to questionable Halloween costumes, like the “Naughty Leopard” outfit for toddlers, or the entire section of Walmart.com dedicated to “Fat Girl Costumes.” In an effort to pre-empt this sort of embarrassment, the retailer now has an internal team tasked with heading off offensive costumes at the pass.

Bloomberg reports that a “swat team” of around a dozen Walmart staffers in San Bruno, CA, are responsible for keeping Walmart’s costume selection out of the news headlines this season.

Thus far, the team has apparently stopped a handful of potential embarrassments — like a costume mocking Caitlin Jenner; or a decapitated Cecil the Lion head, complete with dentist’s smock; or costumes targeting presidential candidates — from being sold in stores or on Walmart.com.

The notion is to be proactive, explains Walmart. They read through the news each day and keep an eye out for attempts to cash in on controversy by selling risque or outright offensive costumes.

But the Walmart team has already allowed some questionable outfits — like the Israeli soldier costume for kids that includes a toy machine gun, or the “Little Amigo” costume that lets you dress up your child like a mustachioed Mexican stereotype. These items were pulled, but not until after the public had already seen them.

As Bloomberg notes, there is no shortage of potentially offensive costumes — including some of the ones mentioned above — for sale on Amazon, but that rarely seems to draw as much public outrage as Walmart costume gaffes. Perhaps that’s because Amazon shoppers are more used to the site selling just about anything, especially when it comes to items sold by third-party marketplace vendors.

Or maybe it’s because parents can look on Amazon without having their children seeing these costumes, asking “What’s a naughty leopard and can I be one for Halloween?”