Oct 29 2012 1:00pm

Great Instances of Sci-Fi/Fantasy Characters in Halloween Costumes

Great Instances of Sci-Fi/Fantasy Characters in Halloween Costumes

Halloween is inarguably one of the best times of year—a holiday where you can become anyone for a whole day? Sign us up! But we’re not the only ones who enjoy passing ourselves off as other people. It’s not at all uncommon for fictional characters to take the time to dress up and party on All Hallow’s Eve, too! With that in mind, here are some favorite moments where science fiction/fantasy characters wore costumes on Halloween….


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

If your little sister is Drew Barrymore, then you definitely need to showcase her in an adorable cowgirl costume for Halloween festivities. The suburban backdrop of E.T. gave Steven Spielberg the perfect excuse to round up kids in homemade getups. But what’s truly special about the choice to set this tale during a hallowed time of year is how it provided Elliott with some eminently appropriate attire to go sailing in front of the moon on his bike. Can you imagine that iconic silhouette without his cape trailing behind him? I think not.


The Nightmare Before Christmas

So it’s arguably always Halloween in Halloween Town, and the people who live there aren’t really in costumes. That is, unless you count the finest trick-or-treaters: Lock, Shock, and Barrel. What makes these costumes so genius is that their masks are really just masks of their actual faces. That’s like swimming in a pool of irony and then proceeding to drink from the Irony Fountain. Plus, it’s really hard not to love that trio—they sing fabulously together, travel by clawed-foot bathtub, and manage to trap Santa in a Hefty bag.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer

There were three Halloween episodes throughout Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s run, and while they’re all pretty amusing, we might have to give the edge to “Fear, Itself.” Dressing the Slayer up as Little Red Riding Hood when you consider her day job is a stroke of genius (and gets points for practicality since she can carry all sorts of dangerous goodies in her basket). Willow as Joan of Ark is a win for the Scoobie team—yay for chainmail!—and then we get to see Giles in a sombrero. Oh, Giles. Rock that poncho-and-tassles combo.


Hocus Pocus

All Hallow’s Eve isn’t all fun and games; it’s also the perfect cover for all sorts of unsavory characters. When the Sanderson Sisters come back from the dead that night, no one is the wiser because…well, let’s face it, they just look like three ladies who had fun raiding the Ren Faire for some knockout semi-historical costumes. They fool everyone well enough to perform an inpromptu concert featuring a song that was produced about 200 years after their deaths, with no one the wiser. (Maybe they’ve been listening from beyond the grave? I’d say they were hanging out with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in the afterlife, but he was alive when this movie hit screens.) Of course, little Dani’s witch costume is utterly precious, and Allison’s initial Ye Olde Dress of Fabulousness isn’t anything to be scoffed at either. It would have been fun if she had remained in it for the rest of the film, though, however impractical that might have been.


Homestar Runner

This genius web cartoon series (can we call it a series? It’s not exactly apropos, but nothing else seems to fit) was known for a variety of shorts, but the cartoons they created for the holidays were always a bit extra special, and the Halloween jaunts were extra extra special because every character dressed up. One of the best was “The House That Gave Sucky Treats,” where you could choose what candies (or apples or pocket change) to give to each member of the Homestar crew. Costumes that year included Pom Pom as Michael Moore, King of Town as Hagar the Horrible, Strong Sad as Andy Warhol, da Cheat as the Hawaiian Punch guy, Homestar as The Greatest American Hero, and Strong Bad as Carmen San Diego. You should go play it right now.


Donnie Darko

If you had seen Frank the Bunny any time outside of Halloween, is there a chance in hell that you wouldn’t run screaming from the scene? That mask has become an icon all its own, perhaps gaining more recognition than the film itself. And then there’s Donnie’s skeleton costume, a pretty apt figure for him to assume when you consider the events of the film and what is in store for his though Donnie is already dead and simply doesn’t know it. Ooh, just got chills.


It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

The Peanuts holiday specials have always been fan favorites, and have a tendency to be startlingly moving. The Great Pumpkin outing is no exception, with Linus’s stalwart belief fueling a night-long stakeout in the pumpkin patch. Despite Lucy’s violent insistence that her brother is wrong for putting his faith in the pumpkin, she removes him from the field after he has fallen asleep and tucks him in bed. Then there’s Charlie Brown’s awful evening of trick-or-treating: every house they visit gives him a rock. Fans were so upset by his poor treatment that people from all over the world sent Charles Schultz boxes of candy for Charlie Brown.



In Farscape’s 4th season there was a lot of dallying on Earth, but in “Kansas” it was for once entirely accidental…well, accidentally back in time. The crew got flung to the 1980s around Halloween, when John Crichton was still a teenager. Similar to Hocus Pocus, the festivities provided the perfect cover for a gang of aliens, but they dressed up even so, figuring it would help them fit it. Chiana wound up in a clownish dress, D’Argo in a sports jersey, and Aeryn donned a 60s-style combo that made John exclaim, “You look like Cher.” Inevitably, culture clashes took place, with Chiana thinking that the middle finger was a common Earth greeting, Aeryn learning English from Sesame Street, and Rygel getting a serious high off of Halloween candy.

What are your favorite costumes for fictional characters? Lets rack up the list!

Emily Asher-Perrin’s costuming history is too big to fit on the internet. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

Liz Bourke
1. hawkwing-lb
That Farscape episode is the funniest thing in the whole wide world. While still managing to hit a couple of really serious emotional beats, too.
2. Tifachan
Castle's halloween episode was the best. Seeing Nathan Fillion coming out in his old firefly duds was great. Alexis's comment made it even better.
Michael Grosberg
3. Michael_GR
BattleStar galactica 1980. Yes, it was utter crap, but there was this one episode that took place on Haloween; some Cylons land on Earth and are mistaken for humans in custumes.
5. Dean B.
"I got a rock."
Melissa Shumake
6. cherie_2137
i honestly can't BELIEVE that castle's halloween episode didn't get a mention. when nathan fillion came out wearing mal's costume, i think it might be the most i've ever fangirled at once in my entire life. just thinking about it makes me all giddy. also the episode of castle about the steampunk folks deserves a mention, although i don't think it was a halloween episode....

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