Two U.K. women have made themselves an entry on this year’s list of no-no Halloween costumes.
Amber Langford and Annie Collinge are facing intense criticism after dressing up as the burning World Trade Center twin towers for Halloween, bagging a nearly $250 prize in a club’s costume contest.
The 19-year-old women wore costumes this year resembling the towers shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks that killed more than 2,700 people.
The costumes were labeled North Tower and South Tower and included model planes and model people falling to their deaths, according to the Telegraph.
The two won the “best fancy dress” award at Rosie’s, a club in Chester, south of Liverpool. According to a statement by a club spokesperson, the person who made the award was a contracted DJ.
“We are extremely concerned that an award of shopping vouchers was made to two young women who were dressed in a distasteful and offensive manner … A full investigation by the company is taking place,” the statement said in part.
The joke didn’t go over well with Langford’s father, a retired pilot who was flying a United Express jet in the U.S. on 9/11.
“I didn’t know anything about it, but I’m not happy at all,” Martin Langford said, according to the Independent. “She knows I’m a pilot and that’s not cool.”
Following intense criticism on social media and coverage in U.K. newspapers, the two women have issued an apology.
“We never meant to be offensive, but we apologize if any offence was caused,” they told the Sun. “The idea was to depict a serious, modern-day horror that happened in our lifetime and was not intended as a joke.”
The costumes aren’t the first this year to get attention for making light of a tragedy. A Michigan woman lost her job and received death threats after posting photos of herself online dressed as a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Two Florida men have been the target of condemnation after dressing as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman and posting photos to Facebook.
Even celebrities aren’t immune. Actress Julianne Hough recently apologized after donning blackface and an orange jumpsuit in tribute to Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black.” The costume ignited an Internet firestorm, and Hough was quick to try to explain her choice.
“I am a huge fan of the show Orange is the New Black, actress Uzo Aduba, and the character she has created. It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize,” Hough tweeted.