At some point through the years, October was rebranded as “spooky season.” While horror movie buffs used to get only one day a year, the entire month has been transformed into a celebration of ghosts, ghouls and other haunted creatures. If you aren’t watching “31 Days of Horror” on Freeform or the SyFy channel, you might be catching up with The Midnight Club on Netflix or Hocus Pocus 2 on Disney+.
We can already tell that the last year of pop culture will surely inspire some interesting costumes. Stranger Things fans always find creative ways to show their Halloween spirit, and you can expect Top Gun military uniforms to fly off the shelves. After a few years of nothing but Pennywise and Harley Quinn, it will be nice to see a little variety in North Texans’ Halloween celebrations.
You may already have your Halloween movie marathon picked out. While you could always go with a classic like A Nightmare on Elm Street or Texas Chain Saw Massacre, more recent flicks like Freaky or Get Out might be more popular among younger viewers. If you’re looking for something a little less scary, something like Frankenweenie or Beetlejuice might be a good choice.
A great meta way to celebrate the season is by watching Halloween celebrated on film. Halloween is a popular setting for fall movies, and some movie characters have their own inspired costumes. Here are a few of our favorites.
The Yoda Costume, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)
In order to give his alien friend a Halloween to remember, Elliot dresses up E.T. and sneaks him out for some trick-or-treating. E.T. is draped in a sheet, but he catches a glimpse of another child wearing a Yoda costume from Star Wars. E.T. says “home.” Wait a minute — does that mean that they’re from the same planet?
Young Michael Myers’ Mask, Halloween (1978)
Michael Myers was always a rotten kid. In the opening scene of the original Halloween, the young boy dresses up in his signature mask and murders his sister in cold blood. Michael Myers masks can be spotted every Halloween season, but not usually on children.
Karen’s Mouse Costume, Mean Girls (2004)
We have to hand it to the Mean Girls characters. They all have pretty great costumes, but if we had to pick a favorite, Amanda Seyfriend’s mouse ears might just be our pick. Even if it’s just the ears, it all seems pretty obvious to Karen. We also have to shout out Aaron’s football player costume — you can’t blame him for keeping it simple.
PigPen’s Ghost Costume, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (1966)
The Peanuts gang don’t change up the classic ghost costume very much, but leave it to PigPen to get his dirty. The trail of dust that surrounds Peanuts’ dirtiest character does have a sort of creepy, undead vibe, come to think of it.
Scout’s Ham Costume, To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
Scout learns a lot of hard lessons growing up in To Kill A Mockingbird. Sadly, Atticus Finch never has the heart to tell his young daughter that her ham costume looks absolutely ridiculous.
Cobra Kai’s Skeleton Costumes, The Karate Kid (1984)
Leave it to the biggest bullies in town to all dress in identical skeleton costumes, but Daniel LaRusso manages to beat them senseless during one of the most iconic fight scenes in The Karate Kid. These spooky shirts were brought back in Netflix’s Cobra Kai.
The Henchmen's Masks, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Is The Nightmare Before Christmas a holiday movie, or can you watch it around Halloween? There’s an argument to be made for either. The Oogie Boogie’s brain-dead henchmen do manage to insert some chills into the Christmas season when they don masks to kidnap Santa Claus.
Two-Face and The Riddler’s Masks, Batman Forever (1995)
You’ll never go a Halloween season without seeing at least one person dressed up as a Batman villain, but these Batman villains actually did some trick-or-treating themselves. Jim Carrey’s Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face put on some childlike masks when they attack Wayne Manor in the criminally underrated 1995 installment Batman Forever.
Donnie’s Skeleton Costume, Donnie Darko (2001)
October marks the end of Donnie’s life. While he’s been tormented for the entire month by a guy in a giant rabbit suit, Donnie keeps things relatively simple when he wears a classic skeleton shirt. Some Donnie Darko fans have speculated that this indicates that Donnie knew what fate was ahead of him.
Julian’s Lobster Costume, Big Daddy (1999)
Julian has never been out trick-or-treating, so Adam Sandler gives this sheltered young boy a first Halloween to remember in 1999’s Big Daddy. Julian’s lobster costume is pretty charming, and Sandler even manages to convince some of his neighbors to give him extra candy.
The “Mike Myers” Masks, Baby Driver (2017)
Jamie Foxx hires some of the dumbest criminals on the planet to stage a critical heist in Baby Driver. Although he has specifically asked for a “Michael Myers” mask, his goons accidentally bought him masks of Mike Myers as Austin Powers. We can’t imagine that it’s very easy to rob a bank wearing Austin's goofy glasses.
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Liam Gaughan has been covering film and television since before he had a driver's license, and in addition to the Observer has been published in About.com, Schmoes Know, Taste of Cinema and The Dallas Morning News. He enjoys checking classic films off of his watchlist and working on spec scripts.