Poor taste, good cause, or both? 'Cecil the Lion' Halloween costumes on sale

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Your first reaction to hearing that there are now "Cecil the Lion" Halloween costumes on sale might be one of shock – but is there a possibility it's not as inappropriate as it sounds?

That is, of course, open to debate – the death of a noted lion at the hands of Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer incited much controversy around the globe, and the killing is undoubtedly still fresh in the minds of many.

There are currently two companies known to be offering Cecil-themed costumes – one of the said getups is graphic and provocative, while the other is eyebrow-raising in a different way.

The former – called "Lion Killer Dentist Halloween Costume" (seen above) – is sold by Costumeish and features a blood-spattered smock, dentist's tools, and a lion's head.

Gruesome it might, but the company's website indicates high demand has forced Costumeish to raise the price of the costume to $99.99.

And there may be some altruism behind the scary suit and its asking price – 15 percent of the proceeds, Costumeish says, will go to a "Wildlife Foundation."

The costume has been condemned, however, by animal rights charity Born Free, who told the BBC it trivializes the illegal killing of the famous lion after it was lured from a national park in Zimbabwe.

The charity's Mark Jones told the broadcaster: "While we applaud the idea that some of the proceeds should go to lion conservation, nevertheless it does seem inappropriate to be trivialising this very serious issue in this way."

Costumeish founder Jonathan Weeks told Time magazine "I’m not here to offend anybody, I’m just here to keep things questionable."

The other costume, offered by Yandy.com (which specializes in "sexy" novelties for women, like swimwear and lingerie, as well as Halloween fare), while skimpy, is less shocking than its bloody counterpart.

Called simply "Cecil the Lion Costume" (which is quite similar to the website's "Deluxe Lion Costume"), it'll set you back about $120 – 20 percent of which goes to the World Wildlife Fund, the website says.

The Los Angeles Times wrote that the sexy costume might not be a "totally bad idea," calling it a chance to "pay homage to the late Cecil the Lion this Halloween and raise some money for a good cause at the same time."

And it's apparently pretty popular, with website representatives telling the paper that the "limited edition" item had sold out, forcing the company to order more inventory.

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