• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

"Halloween in New York City. ... A day when you fit in with everyone else... when even a teenage mutant ninja turtle can walk around in the open."


Elevator Passenger: Cool Spidey outfit.

Spider-Man: Thanks.

Elevator Passenger: Where did you get it?

Spider-Man: I made it.


Elevator Passenger: Looks uncomfortable...

Spider-Man: Yeah, it's kind of itchy... and it rides up in the crotch a little bit, too...

For the paranormal, their mere appearance in a blissfully unaware society can cause chaos and panic. Thus, they constantly have to hide their nature from those not-in-the-know. Except for one glorious day... Halloween. On this singular day they could walk out and be among people who look like zombies, ghosts, goblins, sorcerers and demons. And all that they'll receive are glowing compliments on the workmanship of their "costume". Or the opposite.

This is the rare time when someone can be themselves among the populace and still do some good, or just have fun. They're also likely to enjoy a good Masquerade Ball.

While "Non-Humans and Halloween" is a popular use, the trope is really about how the circumstances of an event allow a normally secretive character to walk around in the open without destroying The Masquerade, thus it can also happen at carnivals, costume parties or just claiming to be a weirdo who likes to dress up at random times. In effect they are masquerading as themselves, and even outside of having fun there are advantages to being the unnoticeable Clark Kent instead of Superman. Similarly, this often results in an unusual sight of a Superhero in their civilian identity but still wearing their actual costume.

Compare All Part of the Show, Your Costume Needs Work, Bruce Wayne Held Hostage, I Am Spartacus, Mistaken for An Imposter, Hidden in Plain Sight and City of Weirdos.

Examples of For Halloween I Am Going as Myself include:


  • In the modern times, the titular Inuyasha went to Kagome's School Festival wearing a hat to hide his dog-demon ears. When the hat was knocked off in front of Kagome's friend, she paid no attention, assuming he was simply cosplaying as some other random dog-demon as there were dozens of background charcters dressed in cosplay-esque outfits.
    • In a previous episode Inuyasha was in the modern world and was helping Kagome's grandfather with chores, wearing a rag over his head to keep dust out. He went off looking for Kagome and upon entering her room through the window he came across her friends. Because they couldn't see his ears, the only thing they were curious about were his white hair and yellow eyes and Kagome walked in on them having a pleasant conversation.
  • If Takato isn't hiding him in a box, he's trying to pass Guilmon for a guy in a costume.
    • In the first series too several members of Myostismon's group walk around in broad daylight. Wizardmon pretends to be a street magician (it's a wonder that worked out considering he's about 3 foot tall though), pumpkinmon and gotsumon were assumed to be kids in costume.
  • Shortly before his first battle with Mousse in Ranma ½, Ranma was stuck in girl form by a capricious Cologne. So Ranma, desperate to keep the girl-curse secret, decided to humiliate Mousse's fighting style by comparing his "Hidden Weapons" with cheap stage magic... and went on to fight "disguised as a girl" in a Playboy Bunny suit. The audience was pleased (especially with Mousse near-missing Ranma to the point she's left completely naked, only to be promptly dressed up by Akane), but Mousse didn't take it well. The trick kind of backfired when Ranma remained locked as a girl afterwards, revealing his condition to the entire school.
    • It's not like he remained; he briefly turned back into male thanks to Dr. Tofu hitting a pressure point on his back (and he knocks Mousse out in male form), but the hitch is that said pressure point only works once but never again. By the time Tofu reveals this, it has already started to rain on Ranma's head, so... You know what happens.

Comic Books

  • One issue of Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is set during Halloween; when the cops show up after the big fight is over, they tell the turtles to go on their way, thinking they're just kids in costume.
    • Also used by the turtles in an episode of the 1980s cartoon, where Splinter suggests they go as themselves to a Halloween party. They lose to someone who went as a Teenage Mutant Ninja AARDVARK (Who also happened to be the boss of the place).
    • Similar in the non-canon (but Eastman-and-Laird illustrated) short story in the TMNT Role Playing Game, where the Turtles go to a Hallowe'en party as themselves (and no one has any idea what they're supposed to be).
      • The irony is they DID have costumes, but the costumes got shredded in a fight early on in the story.
    • The 2003 cartoon revealed that for years Halloween was the only day Splinter would take the turtles to the surface and that they would trick-or-treat all day.
  • In the first Justice Society of America story, Hour-Man told a story of how he went to a costume party dressed as Hour-Man, and ran into a gang of thieves planning to rob the party, all of them dressed as Hour-Man.
    • The Spirit Holiday Special had a similar story, where-in a group of five criminals perform a late-night robbery disguised as the Spirit, and go unnoticed because it's Halloween. The Spirit manages to infiltrate and take down the group because none of them noticed a sixth man in the same costume.
  • In an issue of Harley Quinn, Harley shows up to one of Bruce Wayne's masquerade balls in her own costume. She even introduces herself as Harley Quinn. He is actually suspicious - but then, he is Batman.
    • He'd have every right to be even if he wasn't. As Tom Katers points out, thieves and supervillains in the DCU have a habit of breaking into high-class costume parties by pretending to be someone pretending to be them.
  • Batgirl's origins invoke this trope somewhat, as Barbara Gordon created the Batgirl costume for a Halloween party, and didn't tell anyone about it, so that when she went to the party no one knew it was her, however when a group of criminals crash the party she defeats them as Batgirl and has used the costume since.
  • An issue of Impulse has him going to a school Halloween party in his costume. He is, of course, not the only Impulse there.
  • In Vertigo's Proposition Player, Moloch and Anubis (of Hebrew and Egyptian theology) are looking for the protagonist in Las Vegas, the latter not bothering to hide his animal head.

  Anubis: This is Las Vegas. We just saw thirteen Elvises play blackjack. They'll assume I'm part of some Egyptian attraction.

  • An old (and probably not canon anymore) Superman comic had Supes going to the Daily Planet's halloween costume party... As Superman! So he buys a cheaper Superman costume (the spandex part is OK but the cape is a solid plastic piece which he has to throw away halfway thru the party), and goes with his glasses on, so that he's obviously just Clark Kent disguised as Superman. It helps that every other guy at the party and one girl decided to go as Superman too, and many of their disguises were better. All this leads to one of the most amusing scenes in Superman ever, when the obligatory supervillains crash the party and he tears down his Superman costume to reveal his Superman costume.
    • Supergirl sort of gets away with a variation of this a few years later in Adventure comics #392. It's Supergirl Day at Stanhope Women's College, so everybody's supposed to wear a Supergirl dress. Unfortunately, Kara flew through something radioactive and now her dress is being decontaminated. As Linda, she gets a replica dress at school, but has to wear it for some actual super-deed that leaves it badly ripped. She simply tells everyone she took it off because it was a bad fit and didn't look right.
  • An arc of Legends of the Dark Knight entitled Idols features a craze among Gothamites for dressing as Batman. Bruce Wayne attends a party wearing a bat pendant, then has to steal someone else's bat mask in order to save the day as Batman when there's a riot.
  • In The Books of Magic, Zatanna takes Tim Hunter to a Halloween Ball. Halfway through, Tim looks at the wolfmen, vampires and black magicians around him and says, "It's just occurred to me, these people, they're not wearing masks, are they?"
  • Played straight and subverted in The Simping Detective. Jack attends a "hate party" where all the local mob dress as various character from Judge Dredd canon as himself. Nobody recognises who he is supposed to be until someone else turns up as Jack. Galen Demarco attends as herself, but in a manner that she appears to be her intelligent gorilla partner dressed as her.
  • The Flash: Iris Allen was murdered at a costume party where all the guests were dressed as superheroes and supervillains. Not only did Barry Allen go as the Flash, but many of his Rogues Gallery were there in their own costumes.
    • Hal Jordan was there as well as Green Lantern, as noted by the Reverse Flash, might have been some other heroes as well.
  • In several volumns of Empowered, Emp dresses up as herself as part of a group of superhero team lookalikes for store promotions and such as her day job as being an actual associate member of the team doesn't pay. It is lampshaded how the costume she is wearing for the gig is much less revealing than her regular one.
  • In a subversion, there's a Superman issue where Clark and Lois go to a costume party dressed as Batman and Robin. And then they stand around in their costumes sticking their tongues down each other's throats and...well, it's really hard to believe that the writers weren't poking fun at the "Ambiguously Gay Duo!" meme that sprung up around the rich single guy who dresses little boys in pixie boots and tiny shorts a long time ago. Also, Superman flatly states that Batman's going to kill him if when he finds out.
  • During the "Midnight" story arc, Batman says that he likes Halloween because he can walk around downtown in his costume and nobody cares. He even talks to a little kid, also in a Batman costume, who compliments his utility belt. Now for a bit of fridge logic, think about who Batman is in-universe (the story, as with many Batman mystery arcs, seems to be outside main DCU canon): a masked vigilante that terrorizes criminals, frequently framed for killing them...what kind of parents does this kid have?
  • While Morbius was hiding on a ship, the ship's costume ball was the only time when he could go out and get some fresh air.
  • An issue of "The Amazing Spider-man" has the Black Cat meeting Spider-Man at a costume party. She wore her own costume, but mistook a random party goer dressed as Spiderman for the real thing. Turns out Spidey was In the Hood.

 Spider-Man: Hey buddy! I'm Spider-Man right?

Waiter: (Calling back) Yeah...You're Spider-Man....nutjob...


Fan Fiction

  • In Chapter 30 of the Mahou Sensei Negima short-story collection A Day Indoors, Kotaro rises to the challenge of playing the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood by transforming into his Wolf Man form.
  • In Of Love and Bunnies, Rocky attends Power Rangers Day in a cheap, store-bought Red Ranger costume. However, the mask was too cheap even for him, so he opted for bringing his actual helmet with him.
  • Nyx has to play Nightmare Moon in a school play. Unfortunately, her costume is damaged, but luckily she also happens to be Nightmare Moon reincarnated by a spell gone wrong. Of course, she doesn't know this at the time...
    • Another fanfic, Unwelcome Changes, features Luna meeting a theatrical troupe who needs somepony for the same role..
  • This was played with in the Harry Potter/Justice League crossover Terminal Justice, where the League came to believe that Harry, who was disguised as one "Mr. Black," was actually the Archangel Gabriel. When Harry later attended a League Halloween party while costumed as Gabriel, one of the members asked whether it was fair for him to attend as "himself."
  • Other Harry Potter example: in Dream Journal of Harry J Potter, one of the chapters (all of which are supposed to be dreams Harry has) is a Halloween day where Harry (and Lily) get dressed as Santa's elves, Sirius goes as Santa Claus, James Potter goes as his stag form, and Remus goes... as a werewolf.


  • In The Addams Family movie, Wednesday declares that she is going dressed in her normal clothes as "a homicidal maniac" stating "They Look Just Like Everyone Else."
  • The fourth Scary Movie has an alien (based on the "Billy" puppet from the Saw franchise) who met his girlfriend at Mardi Gras, and defends his being there by saying that he "blended in."
  • Agent Myers covers for Hellboy and Sammael this way in The Movie. "Great costumes, huh?"
  • Inverted in 1992's Batman Returns, in which Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle come to Schreck's costume ball, as themselves (no costume). Despite this they accidentally revealed their secret identities to each other.
    • This scene emphasizes that Batman is the true identity and Bruce Wayne is the disguise. The same also applies to Catwoman and Selina.
  • Quasimodo gets to enjoy the Feast of Fools in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame... up until the "unmasking". What came after that was a Hope Spot and then down, down, down, downhill.
  • In the sci-fi comedy Spaced Invaders, the titular Martians land in a small farming town on Halloween and are mistaken by most people for kids in costumes.
  • In the new TMNT movie, Michelangelo passes himself off as a ninja turtle impersonator by donning a large fake looking turtle head, and sticking a fake zipper onto his chest. No one seems to take notice.
    • It's even funnier in one of the deleted scenes. Someone actually notices him talking whilst driving (he's supposed to wear his giant head whilst doing so. He wasn't) and he has to freeze his own face in an emotionless grin, turn to face the other driver in a very robotic way and actually pretend that his own face is a mask until the light turns green.
  • In Idle Hands two undead teens turn up to the school dance — one of them with the murder weapon still embedded in his skull. When asked who made their costumes, they give the name of their killer.
  • In Zorro The Gay Blade, Don Diego attends a Masquerade Ball in his Zorro costume. At first the Aldante thinks he's caught Zorro, but then all the Dons (and later all the men invited to the party at all) show up in Zorro costumes, insisting they got a message from him telling them to do so.
  • In flashback, the protagonist of the Anonymous Rex TV movie recalls trying this as a kid, only to be dragged home by his father because his "amazingly realistic Velociraptor costume" drew too much attention.
  • In Hocus Pocus all the action takes place on Halloween. Therefore, the three witches are hardly out of place and move about the town freely. They even become the center of attention as the "entertainment" at the town's big costume party.
  • Slightly parodied in the Transformers movie when Sam is trying to find his Grandfather's glasses and the Autobots are walking around in the back yard. He tells the anxious robots to wait for him and stay low. A minute later he turns around and the Autobots have turned into their incognito alternate modes... parked in the back yard.
  • Used hilariously illogically in The Neverending Story 3. Somehow, it's the first day of school, Chinese New Year, and Halloween all at the same time. The only reason why any of this happens is because the latter two events allow the fantastic characters to be out in the open.
  • The opening of the film version of American Splendor features this, as young Harvey Pekar is shown trick-or-treating as himself (he didn't believe in pretending to be something else). He doesn't get any candy.
  • The main character of Once Bitten thinks he's a vampire and dresses accordingly. He gets annoyed when people at a Halloween dance assume he's wearing a costume.


  • In one of the Discworld books, as an homage to The Masque of the Red Death, a wizard who has just summoned Death is surprised to notice that, besides the usual outfit of cowl and scythe, he is also holding a cocktail sausage on a toothpick.

 Death (defensively): I was at a party.

Wizard: Er ... was it a good party?

Death: At the moment it is. I suspect it may go downhill rather quickly after midnight.

Wizard: Why?

Death: That's when they think I'm going to take my mask off.

    • In the later novel Maskerade, as well as the non-Discworld short story "Turntables of the Night", Death is wearing a cheap skeleton mask over his actual skull.
      • I thought I should get into the spirit of the thing.
    • And then there's Wyrd Sisters, where Death takes the place on stage of an actor who was supposed to be playing Death...and then gets stage fright.
      • As he points out, in his line of work, normally only one person sees him at a time. An audience is kind of new for him.
    • Intentionally used by the Faculty of Unseen University, who don "False False Beards" — little loops of wire over their ears and into their real beards — to 'disguise' them as people wearing very obvious false wizard-beards.
      • Re-visited in I Shall Wear Midnight, when Mrs. Proust disguises Tiffany's genuine witch hat by sprinkling glitter on it and attaching an "Apprentice Witch Hat, AM $2.50" costume-shop label to its brim.
    • In Witches Abroad, Greebo is transformed from a nasty gray tomcat into a human so he can accompany the witches to the Samedi Nuit Mort masked ball. He chooses a ginger cat mask to wear ("Alwaysss wanted to be gingerrrr.")
      • Also in Witches Abroad, the witches are watching a parade with several dancers diguised as skeletons (all in black, with the bones painted on). As they share a bottle, Nanny Ogg passes it to the tall, skeletal figure next to her and remarks, "My, them bones is painted on good." A moment later she does a belated double-take, but by then Death has already moved on.
    • In Monstrous Regiment, the heroes need to sneak into a heavily-fortified... um, fortress. Since the squad is comprised of Girls pretending to be boys, they take of obvious route of masquerading as "washerwomen". They get caught out by the guards because they are obviously boys dressed as women.
      • Which Tonker then debunks by flashing the guards.
        • subverted by Lt Blouse, who DOES get in, despite being the only actual male in the squad, and hence the only one who is actually disguised as a female..
    • Inverted in Eric, where Astfgl the King of Hell dresses in royal diabolic regalia of his own design ... which is, basically, a kid's cheap Halloween devil-costume, complete with silly strap-on hornlets and a trident that keeps falling apart.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a Muggle child complimented Voldemort on his "costume" just before he murdered the Potters on Halloween of 1981.
  • In the first book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Anomander Rake has a remarkably realistic dragon mask. Did we mention he can turn into one?
  • Used in some Forgotten Realms novels, including Ed Greenwood's Silverfall (Qilue came round a masquerade "disguised" as "drow princess") and Elaine Cunningham's Daughter of the Drow (Dark Elves are stylish and thus a valid "costume"):

  Fyodor: You wish to join the festival, and slip into the city among the others... But what about your disguise?

Liriel Baenre: I'm a drow, of course. It's quite an exotic costume. And authentic, too!


  Jalamra, Jalamra, have you not seen spell-spun illusions before? I ask you: just how would a band of no less than seven illithids, walking along quite openly in their robes with mauve tentacles a-slimily quivering, manage to get right to the heart of Waterdeep? Next you'll be telling me th --...

  • In Charles de Lint's Jack of Kinrowan, a pink-haired fairy mentions that one reason she likes the modern era is that she no longer has to dye her hair.
  • The King in Yellow.

 I wear no mask.

  • The protagonist of The Gargoyle enjoys the lack of attention his hideous burns receive during Halloween. Now, if only they didn't make his angel costume look so satanic...
  • In American Psycho, serial killer Patrick Bateman goes to a Halloween party dressed as a serial killer, complete with real human blood on his suit.
  • In Tanya Huff's Blood Lines, vampire Henry Fitzroy goes to a Halloween party as Dracula. His partner is dubious, but Henry points out it's actually good camouflage--if he pretends to be a vampire on Halloween, obviously he isn't one the rest of the year.
  • Although he does wear a costume, in The Phantom of the Opera it is implied that Erik is not wearing a mask when he attends the masquerade as Red Death.
  • In the book Beastly by Alex Flinn, a modern take on Beauty and The Beast, the Beast, Kyle, attends a high school's Halloween party with regular clothes on over his fur.
  • In Nightingale's Lament, a Nightside novel, a singer eludes her rabid fans' attentions by stopping off at a nightclub where all the staff, and most of the patrons, are drag queen impersonators of their favorite singing divas. She easily passes unnoticed in the crowd of Madonnas, Dolly Partons, and assorted Spice Girls.
  • In Wings by Aprilynne Pike, David helps make Laurel's wings look fake so she can be convincing at the school costume ball. Extra 'Awwwww!' factor for the cutesy line: "I'll have to tell them only Laurel gets wings."
  • Invoked and averted in the Mercedes Lackey story "Satanic, Versus..." The heroine considers going to a costume party with her boyfriend as a witch and a vampire--but he argues that there's no point in going as what they really are, and they dress as The Avengers instead.
  • Used cleverly in the subversive children's novel Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth. Jennifer, a sombre, beautifully creepy Afro-American girl, wears authentic Pilgrim clothing to her school's Halloween party. She tells her friend Elizabeth that the real witches were Pilgrims, and that she herself is a witch who spends most of the year disguised as an ordinary schoolgirl; by dressing this way she is becoming undisguised.
  • Played with in The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eight Grade Bites. Vlad, a vampire, goes to a Halloween party wearing plastic fangs and a cape.
  • Spider Robinson's Callahans Crosstime Saloon story "Unnatural Causes". An alien Krundai comes to Callahan's bar on Halloween night as himself (green, furry and pointed, over-sized ears).
  • Averted in Stationery Voyagers. The Voyagers' reliance on phantomars makes it obvious they're not just a costume. They avoid Trick-or-Treating to prevent a mob riot from threatening kids.
  • In The Book of the New Sun, Severian attends a masquerade ball in his executioner's outfit, under the (correct) assumption that everyone will assume that it's a disguise.
  • In Halloween Romance, the two main characters meet while they are both doing this.
  • In Robert Bloch's "The Secret Of Sebek", some genuine occultists avoid persecution for their practices by hosting parties for dilettante spiritualists and psychic charlatans, ensuring their own genuine mystic rites will go unremarked-upon.

Live-Action TV

  • Used in a non-humorous way in Angel. One half-demon was kept trapped in his house by his mother growing up, because he looks hideous. The only time she ever let him outside was on Halloween.
    • Averted in Buffy. Most demons don't like going out during Halloween because it's so commercialized and kitschy, and consider it the one day of the year they'd rather stay home.
      • Also inverted in the aptly named Season 2 episode "Halloween." Instead of monsters pretending to be normal people in costumes, normal people put on costumes... and turn into monsters.
      • Inverted again with Oz, who dresses as his normal self for Halloween - but wears a name-tag that reads "God".
    • Lorne often pretends he's wearing a costume to deal with people's reactions to his green-skin & red horns. When he got a job as a singer in Vegas, all the dancing girls (The Lornettes) wore green makeup & red horns to match. Incidentally, we also learn that only one member of the Blue Man Group actually wears makeup.
      • There's also the episode where he pretends to be dressed up to read to the children when a case takes the group to a library. The librarian compliments him on his realistic mask, but points out that the horns aren't very convincing.
  • The leonine Vincent took advantage of this in one episode of the Beauty and The Beast series.
  • In a Halloween episode of Dark Angel, several of the cast (who were transgenic supersoldiers with barcodes on their necks) tried to pass for people dressed as... transgenic supersoldiers with barcodes on their necks. The response to the costumes varied, some were considered cool, others unoriginal, and some normal humans were using the same costume. The transgenics were actually what they were cosplaying as, and using it as a cover, but some were still told Your Costume Needs Work.
  • ALF did this one, too, with a zipper attached to his fur. It still left guests wondering about his height, though.
  • Farscape uses this one, when the aliens accidentally land on 1985 Earth. They use the fortuitous happenstance of landing there the night before Hallowe'en to disguise their alien-ness. It doesn't work so well...but a little bit of hallucinogenic dust goes a long way.
  • Similarly, in a Halloween episode of Supernatural, the demon Samhain is able to walk around amongst all of the trick-or-treaters with no one taking notice of the injury he's sustained to his stomach, or all the blood that's seeping from it.
  • Then Senator, now President, Barack Obama pulled this on an Saturday Night Live skit.
  • In one episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina throws a Halloween party that gets crashed by monsters from the other realm. None of her high school friends think it's strange.
  • This trope was used as early as the black-and-white TV show The Munsters. During a Halloween episode, star character Herman Munster (who looks like a large Frankenstein's monster) dresses up as a knight to go to a local Halloween Party. During the costume contest, he removes the visor on his helmet, causing everyone around him to remark on how creative he was to "wear two costumes."
  • Used in The Flash. Almost everyone at the police costume party was going as The Flash despite the fact that nobody actually knew what he looked like beyond the red and gold blur. Naturally, when the real Flash showed up, his costume was deemed bland and unimaginative. Even the Trickster picked the wrong Flash, targeting Officer Murphy instead. The illusion crumbled when the real Flash used his powers.
  • Played straight in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Zordon's assistant robot Alpha Five loves Halloween because he can go mingle with kids as if it's just a costume.
  • Not quite an example of this trope, but Poirot was supposed to go to a fancy dress party as a famous person. So naturally he went as himself.
  • In the episode "The Night the Cylons Landed" of Galactica 1980 the Centurion was mistaken for a guy in a Halloween costume.
    • In Battlestar Galactica Classic, the crew finally reaches Earth on Halloween, so everyone assumes their regular humans despite their unusual clothes.
  • Played not for laughs in an episode of Grey's Anatomy. A guy with some facial imperfection tries to get Dr Sloan to give him an operation as charity. On Halloween. His convincing line was On the way here, seven people have asked me what my disguise was about. So far.
  • Reference in one episode of Judge Judy, wherein Judge Judy remarks (after scaring some common sense into a witness), "I don't need to dress up for Halloween, I just go as me."
  • Sanctuary: When the Big Guy joins Henry to Comic-Con San Diego, Magnus comments it's "one of the few places he actually blends in".
  • Played straight and subverted in an episode of Friends. Rachel and Joey both seemingly have forgone costumes. Rachel says that she is a pregnant woman who wants to wear her new dress because soon it won't fit anymore. The subversion is when Joey reveals that he actually is wearing a costume: he's dressed as Chandler.
  • On the American version of The Office, Jim does this every Halloween. Generally, his costume includes things like taping three black circles of construction paper to his white shirt and claiming to be a sheet of paper.
  • When The Cape attended a costume ball in his full superhero regalia, not only did he successfully blend in, but he discovered that a character he helped in an earlier episode was also at the party in a knockoff Cape costume. He was flattered to have "a fan," although that's odd considering that he himself had adopted the identity of a pre-existing comic-book character, so why would he think it was about him? Then again, the comic book didn't seem to be very well-known within the show's universe.
  • The Halloween episode in the first season of The Vampire Diaries had Vicki, just transformed into a vampire, coming to a Halloween party in a vampire costume. Later, Elena claimed that the blood on her costume was fake blood.


  • In the Red vs. Blue 2008 Hallowe'en special, everyone dressed up as Caboose...including Caboose, who didn't know it was Hallowe'en.
  • In the Smashtasm 2010 Halloween special, Super64 tells H and Lamp:

 Super64: I've decided to dress up as myself for Halloween this year, as a reminder to kids everywhere to always Be Yourself.

H: I hate you. I really do.


Newspaper Comics

  • The scariest example, no doubt, is from Calvin and Hobbes: "I'm yet another resource consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Madison Avenue and Hollywood, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you're old and weak!"
    • In another comic, Calvin asks Hobbes to come up with the scariest costume possible.
  • Averted with in this storyline of Bruno the Bandit: The monsters visit a party disguised as humans.
  • This Jump Start strip.
  • RJ and Verne in Over the Hedge once went trick-or-treating without costumes. Being woodland critters, they were assumed to be humans in costume. Another year, they wore masks that looked like their CGI movie counterparts. Ironically, Verne thought he was going as "some sort of iguana thingy" — the very classification he hates getting from humans.
  • Played with in one Pearls Before Swine Sunday comic. Pig and Rat go trick-or-treating on Halloween, but when the neighbor sees they didn't bother to wear costumes, refuses to give them any candy. After the door slam, the two remove their (fake) heads to reveal that each character was disguised as the other.

Tabletop Games

  • The Ninja Burger card game features a delivery scenario in an anime convention. It gives a large positive bonus to stealth, presumably because a ninja should have no trouble posing as a cosplayer.

Video Games

  • In Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, a few NPCs mistake Nosferatu players for a body-modification buff... and one of them compliments you on the work done on your ears.
    • Of course, a few NPCs also assume that the Nosferatu PC's just wearing a mask: in a particularly amusing case, Venus politely informs the PC that there are no mosh pits in her establishment and redirects you to a Death Metal show in a different club.
  • In League of Legends, Dr. Mundo has a skin which is him dressing as himself for Halloween. As he puts it himself: "Mundo dress up like himself a lot, else he forget! Has happened before." It can be seen here.
  • In Saints Row The Third, when the Saints rob a bank at the start of the game, the Saints all wear Johnny Gat caricature masks, including Johnny Gat.

 Johnny Gat: Hell yeah! Who doesn't want to be Johnny Gat?



  • Played with in Zebra Girl, where Sandra, a human trapped in a demon body, plans to go out undisguised on Halloween... until she suddenly finds herself back in her human form. Turns out demons become more powerful on Halloween, and she can thus change her appearance with illusions at will. She decides to go out as her human self, sans costume, because she probably won't get another chance to do it for another year.
  • Abe and Kroenen take advantage of the local fan convention to walk around New York unhindered. Abe also suggests they do this when accepting trick-or-treaters to Kroenen's house--after Kroenen finally agrees to get into the spirit of things, he finds out Abe just wanted to use him and his horrifically mutilated face as decoration.
  • Forcibly invoked (and subverted) in the webcomic Charliehorse when Preson suggests --in great detail-- that Charlie the succubus take the opportunity to attend a Halloween party as herself. Turns out she'd rather go as Cinderella, instead.
  • In Weregeek, the hardcore geeks are safe from the Hunters on Halloween... a truce has been established, because the risks are too high; the hunters can't tell "real" cosplayers from those dressing up for the occasion. Hiding one's costuming hobby in a costume holiday!
  • Grace of El Goonish Shive apparently considered (off-continuity) the Halloween "costume" of a squirrel-girl with three tails and antennae. Also, Liz.
  • Invoked in Misfile with Vashiel's brilliant idea to go as an angel. It's immediately shot down.
  • As seen on their cast page, the creators of Casey and Andy once went to a Halloween party dressed as their webcomic selves.
  • The title character in Terinu is a four and a half-foot tall alien with a seven foot long prehensile tail, gray skin and horns. He gets around because most humans assume he's a "moddie" with extensive plastic surgery and prosthetics, created for a sick wierdo's amusement. Squick
  • In A Magical Roommate, Alexis and X always dressed as witches for Halloween. But after they ended up sprouting fairy wings on their 21st birthday, X's roommate Aylia suggested that they go as human-sized black fairies instead. X loved this idea, as the costume required zero effort on her part (In fact, it took less effort than her usual outfits, as she didn't have to conceal her wings).
  • In Goblin Hollow, the goblins come out at Halloween. It's covered.
  • In an Its Walky Haloween strip, Joyce (dressed as a harlequin) chaticises Jason for not having his costume ready. He replies he's going as James Bond.
    • In Shortpacked, Robin asks Mike (who has just learned that he's going to be a dad), what his costume is, as he is wearing his normal work clothes. He says his costume is "Father". Considering that it's Mike Robin concedes that this is pretty scary.

Web Original

  • Homestar Runner goes to a convention cosplaying as himself, which, in this case, means wear a propeller cap over his propeller cap and taping a paper star over his red star T-shirt.
  • Due to Applied Phlebotinum, the superpowered Tennyo in the Whateley Universe stories now looks remarkably like Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo!. Her roommate decided that the whole team would go to the Whateley Academy Halloween party as Tenchi Muyo characters, with Tennyo as Ryoko. Given that these teenagers have superpowers, getting a Washu and even a Ryo-Ohki wasn't a problem.
  • During Ink City's Halloween Party, Souji and Yosuke dress up as their Personas — a clever twist on the whole "Thou art I, and I am thou" concept. Not that they see it as so clever once Discord turns everyone into their costumes...

Western Animation

  • The Gargoyles loved Halloween for just this reason. The younger gargoyles, getting into the spirit of the holiday, wore actual costumes (such as a pirate outfit) and were complimented on wearing "a costume over a costume". Goliath, meanwhile, went out as himself with Elisa (who went as Belle, both as a Shout-Out, and because their relationship is also Beast and Beauty), and apparently the fact that he's about nine feet tall passed unremarked upon as part of his "costume".
    • When another Halloween came around again in the comic book continuation, Elisa kept a theme by being Princess Jasmine and Goliath once again didn't bother. Neither did Delilah, who, not knowing better, explained what she really was when asked; "dressing up" as a DNA mashup of both Goliath's ex and Elisa, his current love interest caused quite the awkward moment.
  • American Dragon Jake Long has the episode "The Halloween Bash", where Jake throws a party for both magical and non-magical beings on Halloween. This trope is in effect.
  • In Gummi Bears, the bears take advantage of Folly Day in Dunwyn, with two variants; the occasion takes place strictly in the day and at 5:00 pm there is the traditional unmasking which means the bears have a strict deadline to leave lest they be exposed. It fails-- Duke Igthorn and Toady sneak in disguise, spot Sunni and instantly recognize her as the real thing.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man episode "The Uncertainty Principle," Peter goes to a Halloween festival as Spider-Man, and gets compliments on how well he fills out his costume.
    • Unlike most cases, this one was actually unplanned; he web-slung over to the party but got caught before he could change into either his civvies or his planned costume, so he used Halloween as a convenient excuse.
    • Judging by her cameo at the same carnival, Black Cat likes the holiday too.
    • This comes in handy later, when Peter being seen in public as Spider-man is later shown as evidence that he ISN'T Spider-man.
    • As noted in the quote at the top of the page, Spidey managed to play this off on an ordinary day in the second movie, as everyone knows Spider-Man doesn't need elevators. What the guy thought he needed such a detailed and form-fitting costume for is another question.
      • To be fair, though, they are in New York.
      • The guy probably thought he downloaded the plans for a form-fitting, detailed Spider-Man costume off the Internet... just like people can do in the real world.
      • There's an extended cut of the movie in which the guy does realize that its the real Spider-Man. He reveals that he works for a marketing firm and that Spidey needs to do more with his image. He suggests a line of Spider-Man-branded cologne. That should be called Thwip.
    • In one comic, it turns out that Peter uses this to his advantage. If he needs to meet someone, as Spider-Man, he goes to one diner he goes to in costume, but acting like 'some weirdo who thinks he's Spider-Man'. The owners don't care - he pays, tips well, doesn't cause trouble and "it's New York".
    • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series Spidey was fighting the Sinister Six with his powers working inconsistently. He managed to convince Rhino that he was actually the Chameleon, and redirected The Brute to attack a distant shadow that was actually his teammate Shocker.
    • The shortly lived, "The Adventures of The Spider-man" featured an episode where Peter had no way of getting home without his identity being revealed (his head piece was gone but he still had his main suit on). He then gets spotted by a crowd of people who all shout out: "great costume man!". Conveniently it was Independence day and a huge fancy consume party was being held in the Star Junction so Peter just blended right in to the crowds.
  • In one of the early episodes of Transformers Cybertron, the Autobots worry about revealing themselves on Earth. Bud jokingly suggests they pretend they're cosplayers (as Transformers are basically urban legends). Cue communal sweatdrop when Optimus Prime actually takes the suggestion seriously, apparently not realizing that twenty foot robots cannot get away with pretending they are costumes.
  • In WITCH, the episode W is for Witch takes place on Halloween, and the girls move around the city in the Guardian outfits without drawing any attention, except from Cornelia's mother who glances at Hay Lin's 'endowments' and comments "I didn't know Halloween costumes came with that kind of padding."
    • In the same episode, Cedric topped them: he went out in his snake-man form, and the only attention he drawed was on how he filled the tail of his costume.
  • A Family Guy Halloween Episode had Bill Clinton doing this.
  • In Word Girl, one of Becky Botsford's friends, Todd "Scoops" Ming, realizes that she may be the titular superhero, citing several reasons including "You dress up as WordGirl every Halloween!" When the Narrator reacts, Becky responds "Well, I already had the costume...." In addition, a support character, Violet, dresses as the titular character in the Halloween-themed episode Tobey's Tricks and Treats, and is mistaken as the superheroine by Tobey himself.
  • In Aaahh Real Monsters, the main trio of monsters went trick-or-treating without costumes. It was a rare occasion that they met humans and made no effort to scare. Hilarity Ensues, however, when they confuse a human child dressed as a red bunny with Ickis...
    • In another episode, the monsters attend a horror themed tv show where the audience members wore costumes. A parent even asks Oblina where she bought her "ugly wax lips," to which Oblina replies "darling, you do not buy ugly, you inherit it!"
  • Darkwing Duck once went to a masquerade ball in his costume, and was frustrated by everyone telling him he couldn't pull it off. "The real Darkwing Duck is taller..."
    • His rival Gizmoduck once attended a ceremony in his honor, full of fans in homemade gizmo suits... all of whom thought he was a dressed-up fanboy too. Bonus points for Launchpad being mistaken for the original by being the only one in a formal suit. Plus a random contrivance.
    • In another episode, Launchpad spent a good amount of time agonizing over what costume to wear to a party, before announcing he was going as "a flying ace!" Darkwing started to point out that that was the same outfit Launchpad always wore, but quickly gave up.
  • In Tutenstein episode "Day of the Undead," Tut walks among mortals on Halloween, impressing trick-or-treaters with how much his costume looks and smells like a long dead mummy.
  • In The Fairly Odd Parents Cosmo and Wanda went undisguised to a comic book convention saying that no one would notice they were fairies, and would just assume that they were big-headed kids in costume.
    • In a more recent episode, Mark goes to Trixie's costume party as himself with some encouragement from Timmy.
    • Timmy's fairies did this again at the same party.
  • Steve Irwin did this in the South Park episode "Hell On Earth 2006". He was kicked out for not wearing an actual costume.
  • Inverted in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror, in which Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, a Werewolf, and the Mummy go out on Halloween, and are made fun of for having old school costumes. As such, they dress up. So much for their plans...
    • In another Treehouse of Horror episode, someone dressed as a witch wins a costume contest at the city-wide Halloween party. But it turns out that she really is a witch, and she promptly gets disqualified for not wearing a costume. Due to the people of Springfield this way having pissed off a real witch, with magic powers and all, it is only natural that now Hilarity Ensues... To be precise: She transforms everyone into the costumes they are wearing - which means that this trope afterwards technically applies to everyone in Springfield.
  • In Winx Club, in the season two episode "Hallowinx," Bloom's classmate Mitzi has invited her and the Winx to a Halloween party. Since they know no one would believe they're real fairies, they attend in their fairy forms.
  • In an episode of Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot, Funshine travels down to Earth in order to help a little boy. He wants to show him to his Mom, but Funshine explains that he'd prefer to only be seen by kids because "adults don't always understand." During a later scene, the boy's mother enters the attic before Funshine can hide himself. He successfully poses as a stuffed toy.
  • Atomic Betty did this.
  • In "The Ember Island Players" episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the characters attend a play about themselves, with only minimal or no disguise, and people think they're in costume. Especially amusing when someone tells Zuko (much to his chagrin) that he has a "nice Zuko costume" but his scar "is on the wrong side" of his face.
  • In the X-Men: Evolution episode "Cajun Charm," the X-Men find themselves in the middle of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, while looking for Rogue, who's been kidnapped. A random person comes up to Kurt, who's in his X-Men uniform and not wearing his image inducer, and tells him that his costume is great. Kurt's response? "Thanks! They are one of a kind."
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee averts this. Since a barrier renders all magical creatures invisible to normal humans, child monsters instead dress themselves as humans for Halloween and Ophelia isn't wearing a costume.
  • Danny Phantom double episode: "Reality Trip"
  • Men in Black: The Series: Halloween is a favorite holiday of aliens living on Earth, though instead of going as themselves, they often dress up as a different alien species.
    • Several "monstrous" aliens star in monster horror films using their real appearance, while the film crews believe that they're human actors under a lot of make-up. The Hollywood branch of MIB specializes in getting entertainment contracts for aliens.
  • While he isn't trying to hide his identity from anyone, My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Spike the purple dragon preforms a literal interpretation of this trope as his Nightmare Night costume is... A purple dragon.
  • In DC Showcase: Catwoman, Catwoman briefly pretends to be an exotic dancer in a Catwoman costume in order to get closer to Rough Cut.
  • In the Justice League episode "Starcrossed" the Earth was invaded by the Thanagarians, the same species Hawkgirl was from. Because of Hawkgirl's intel, they were able to neutralize the Justice League by countering their various powers. Once the League managed a jail break, they found themselves on the run and forced to hide. But the one thing Hawkgirl couldn't have known was everyone's civilian identities (it was the one thing they didn't have to share with the rest), so they changed out of their superhero costumes and blended in with the crowd. They then split up and made their way on foot to Wayne Manor and the Batcave. This was also the first time you saw The Flash without his mask.

 The Flash: Hold on, what about the Secret Identity thing? I mean I trust you...

Batman: (To the Flash) Wally West, (to Superman) Clark Kent, (to himself, unmasking) Bruce Wayne.

The Flash: (Unmasking himself) Show off.


Real Life

  • It's Older Than Television. Charlie Chaplin and George Harrison entered respective look-alike contests and failed to win or place because their Costumes Needed Work.
    • The contest Chaplin famously lost was specifically a competition over resemblance to the "Little Tramp," Chaplin's most distinctive character, and he just competed As Himself, without the Little Tramp's usual props and stuff.
    • Similarly, Olympic skater Dorothy Hamill was at a White House party and someone told her she had "almost a Dorothy Hamill haircut."
    • Even Dolly Parton has failed to place in Dolly look-alike contests.
  • According to others in the industry and frequent convention goers, Nabeshin has a habit of intentionally losing his translator escort in the crowds of fans, and then waiting in line to get in to his own panels. He of course does this when he, and dozens of his fans, are in full Nabeshin cosplay.
  • In an interview, guitarist Slash stated that he can go out as himself on Halloween, and someone even said "Hey, your Slash is pretty good, but I know someone with an even better one!"
  • A bank robber who was nicknamed "the Gap-Toothed Bandit" for his resemblance to Alfred E. Neuman was arrested after going to a Halloween party dressed in the same get-up he wore on his robberies. And telling people he'd come "as a bank robber." Someone recognized him from his wanted poster and called the cops.
  • Sort of inverted by one of the few anecdotes in which someone got the verbal better of Winston Churchill. Lady Nancy Astor, the first woman in Parliament, had invited him to a "fancy dress" (i.e., costume) party, and when he came by to RSVP the invitation, he wondered aloud "What should I come as?" She responded "Why don't you come sober?"