Party City store in Virginia was carrying Confederate costumes

Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia — Caroline Brasler goes all out for Halloween with her daughters Meredith, 12, and Olivia, 10.But the Arlington, Virginia mother of the two adopted Black children says she spotted something she could hardly believe at the end of an aisle Sunday in the Party City store at Bailey's Crossroads. It was selling Civil War rebel costumes with the Confederate flag on them, she told CBS Washington affiliate WUSA-TV. Party City said it's clearing its shelves of the costumes. Brasler said, "The Confederate flag to me is a symbol of racism. To have that out there for a child to wear on Halloween sends so many horrible messages." Two of the Confederate soldier costumes the Party City store in Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia was selling as of September 2020. WUDA-TV Just below the pilgrim and Ulysses Grant costumes was one costume called "Confederate Officer." The other, with a bearded Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Both of their wide-brimmed hats were emblazoned with the Confederate flag, which has caused so much pain in the African American community. Trending News "I'm the adoptive parent of two beautiful African American girls. ... We discuss race, we respect race. And to see something like that just flies in the face of everything I try to teach them to be proud young women," said Brasler. The costumes don't come up on the Party City website, but they were still in at least the Bailey's Crossroads store as of Monday afternoon, WUSA reported. They're also available from many other retailers nationally, including from Amazon, the station says. Brasler said as she was taking a picture of the costumes, Olivia asked her what she was doing. "I said, 'That's a Confederate flag, that's a symbol of hate,' and she said, 'Oh, ma, really?' Then she took off for the candy aisle." Caroline Brasler with her two adopted daughters in September 2020. WUSA-TV Brasler says even at their young ages, her daughters have already experienced racism. She just didn't think they'd find it at the party store. She said after seeing the Confederate costumes, she refused to buy her daughters any costumes there. She'll get their vampire and zombie unicorn costumes elsewhere. "No more princesses for them!" she said. Party City issued a statement to WUSA saying, "At Party City, we do not tolerate racism or hatred of any kind, and we stand together in solidarity with our diverse colleagues, customers, and communities. "As the leader in Halloween with more than 60 million customers per year, Party City supplies a broad assortment of costumes, none of which are meant to be offensive in any way. "The costume in question was sold at a franchise location and is not produced or sold in any Party City corporate-owned stores. We have reached out to our franchisees and other partners to remove it from all retail locations ASAP. "We know that as a company, we can and must do better."