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Toronto girl demands party supply giant take down offensive Halloween costumes

Click to play video: 'Toronto girl urges party giant to think twice about costume selection' Toronto girl urges party giant to think twice about costume selection
ABOVE: After visiting a North York Party City with her mom, a Toronto girl felt compelled to write a letter to the retail giant. As Shallima Maharaj explains, her goal is to reinforce the importance of respect for others – Oct 23, 2017

At eight years old, Charlie McGurrin is a pint-sized and spirited social activist.

So when she went to the Party City store on Orfus Road two weeks ago and encountered Indigenous-themed Halloween costumes, her response was to pen a letter.

“She’s very good at demanding action be taken, so when she sees injustice in the world, I get a lot of pressure to do something about it,” said her mother, actress Liz Whitmere.

Instead of sending Charlie’s letter by mail, her mother posted it to social media.

READ MORE: Retailers remove children’s ‘Anne Frank’ Halloween costume after backlash

“I wanted to demonstrate to Charlie what it’s like to have a platform and how much more effective it is to post a picture of a letter to social media, than it is to mail a letter in the mail to corporate headquarters,” explained Whitmere.

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Charlie, who is only in the third grade, says she has been learning about cultural appropriation in school.

“I want them to stop selling these [costumes] so the company will have to close down from lack of interest,” said the little girl.

A number of costume retailers have come under fire in recent years.

LISTEN: Elizabeth Whitmere joins AM640’s The John Oakley Show.

Last year, members of the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism took aim at Spirit Halloween in Regina.

They tacked labels onto costumes dubbed “Reservation Royalty” and “Wolf Dancer.” The labels warned customers that the merchandise was offensive. They also included information about missing and murdered Indigenous women.

READ MORE: ‘It just felt kind of repulsive’: Edmonton woman wants stores to stop selling Indigenous-themed costumes

Party City Canada’s website still carries “Teen Girls Native American Princess” and “Adult Native American Princess” costumes.

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The retailer was tagged in Whitmere’s post, but she says she has yet to hear directly from them.

Late Monday afternoon, they responded to Global News’ requests for comment.

“We certainly respect her concern and more importantly, respect the rights of our customers, of individuals to choose costumes that suit their personal needs, their personal creativity,” said Dan Sullivan, executive vice-president of Party City.

“We aim to be topical and of course, we do not in any way aim to offend customers.”

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