Becoming the Costume

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L - R: Emily, Wilfred, Wilfred Jr., and Paula after receiving some karmic justice.

Witch: Taint of mutant, scum of pond, thou shall become the guise thou donned!
Crowd: (confused) Speak English!
Witch: (exasperated) I'm turning you into your costumes.
Homer: Well, are ya gonna talk about it or are you gonna do it? (zapped)

It's All Hallows' Eve (usually) and the kids are trick-or-treating and everything is normal, but something magical is afoot, and turns people into whatever costume they are wearing. If you're dressed up as a werewolf, for example, you'll become an actual werewolf.

You'd be surprised just how often this happens in fiction.

Not to be confused with Becoming the Mask or Evil Costume Switch. Can overlap with The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body, which is bad news. Related to Evil Mask. Hilarity might ensue if overlapped with For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself.

May be the subject of a Halloween Episode.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Berserk, the leader of a cult dressed in a goat's head and used a snake as a fake penis. He gets transformed into an Apostle Spawn, which turns him into a real goat-headed, satyr-like monster with a snake for a penis. Before his transformation he was about to perform a sexual ritual with Casca, who was believed to be a goddess by the cult. After transformation the only thing he can think of is raping her. Luckily for her, he runs into Guts.

    Comic Books 
  • At least one character in Therefore, Repent! transforms thus.
  • Happens at a revived pagan festival in Hellblazer, to the detriment of everybody. (New father in baby costume to infant: "You're taking all of mummy's attention and it's! not! fair!" *splat*; a dentist(?) with a rictus grin mask wants EVERYONE TO SMILE!). This isn't transformation, but rather a crazy-making signal coming from the nearby underground nuclear base. John and his friend discover that loud punk rock cancels the effect a little too late: an ex-fighter pilot is "cured" just seconds after he releases a bomb, destroying the town and everyone in it (except John, of course).
  • This is part of the premise and played for laughs in the indy comic The Underburbs. The main character, Angie and her mother turn into a witch and her brother into a monster. None of this effects life in the town very much.

    Fan Works 
  • The focus of the Yet Another Halloween Fic a.k.a. YAHF in Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction.
  • Like Buffy fans before them, the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic community made this popular as a way to make their characters into powerful villains, or, less commonly, heroes.
  • Costumes, a fic in RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse revolves around this trope. In an attempt to promote her wares, Rarity uses a Zebrican ritual which she thinks will make her costumes more realistic. Unfortunately, in something of a Running Gag for the Lunaverse, she's misunderstood the function of the ritual. The ritual actually was designed to allow a Zebra to take on the physical form and powers of a totem. So everyone wearing one of Rarity's costumes (and most of Ponyville was wearing one of Rarity's costumes), was transmuted into whatever they were dressed up as, and gained whatever abilities they subconsciously believed their new form should have. So Rarity, for example, was turned into a vampony and gained hypnotic eyes and blood-sucking fangs. To make matters worse, the spell also caused all the victims to believe that they actually were whatever they'd been dressed as. Luckily, Trixie and Twilight had made their own costumes, and were able to dispel the curse. But not before several adventures had occurred...
    • Snips and Snails had dressed up as Captain Equestria and Spiderstallion respectively, while Raindrops was in disguise as Princess Platinum. When Raindrops!Platinum was kidnapped by a pack of Diamond Dogs (formerly the workers of Sweet Apple Acres), the two superheroes rescued her. Snips!Captain even got a kiss out of it...right as the magic was dispelled, so Raindrops ended up kissing Snips.
    • Cherilee, dressed up as and turned into Catmare, attempted to rob a jewelry store before running afoul of Batstallion (formerly Heavy Roller) and Robin (formerly Scootaloo). After an innuendo-laden fight, they successfully catch her, only for Carrot Top to show up transmuted into Poison Ivy. Carrot!Ivy takes Batstallion prisoner with her spores, expressing an interest in feeding him to her plants. Cherilee!Catmare can't have that, as she has her own designs on Batstallion's body. The ritual comes undone right in the middle of the final fight between Catmare and Robin on one side, and Poison Ivy on the other.
    • Lyra and Bonbon had dressed up as Bonnie and Clydesdale. And in that guise, they successfully robbed the Ponyville bank, leaving the teller tied up behind them.. They had just finished enjoying some celebratory sex when Dinky!Holmes and Ditzy!Watson show up and incapacitate them. Dinky!Holmes then rounds things off by apprehending the teller, who'd been embezzling from the bank. That chapter ends with Bonbon worriedly rubbing her abdomen after the magic is reversed.

    Film 
  • The Disney Channel Original Movie Halloweentown II had this, with the villain planning on turning every human who dressed as a monster into that monster (and conversely turning monsters in humans). He even turned the heroine's mother who had up in a really monstrous costume so that she'd become a really scary monster.
  • This happens in the 2003 movie Hallow's End, in which the characters become their costumes when they die.
  • In Night of the Demons 3, the demonic Angela Franklin turns characters into their demon, Cat Girl, and snake-armed gorgon costumes.

    Literature 
  • The Goosebumps book The Haunted Mask (also adapted for TV) had this.
  • Flossie Teacakes' magical coat may be a benign version of this- a particularly fabulous coat that she finds in her older sister's room turns out to magically transform dowdy ten-year old Flossie (when she plays at dressing as her sister) into the young woman that she dreams of being.
  • In one of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe books, Forever Autumn, this happens because of some strange occult-sciency aliens wanting to harvest fear from everyone so they can leave Earth. Yes, Clarke's Third Law is in effect here.
  • Magic: The Gathering: In the Ravnica tie-in novel, Agrus Kos and his angel partner, Feather, arrest a troupe of actors after a faulty "Performance Enchantment" causes the man playing a bloodthirsty Gruul war chieftain to get a little too in-character. Fortunately, nobody is injured.
  • In Robert Bloch's "The Cloak" the title garment gave the guy who was wearing it vampiric urges.
  • There's a brief bit during Geoph Essex's Jackrabbit Messiah where the hero (and his Helpful Hallucination) have to Journey to the Center of the Mind. While there, Jack's costume is no longer just a costume!

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Season 2, Episode 6: "Halloween". This episode is one of the fandom's favorite launch points for crossover Fan Fics in which someone dressed as a character from another fandom, to the point where "YAHF" (Yet Another Halloween Fic) has entered the fandom vocabulary.
    • Exploited in the Season 4 episode "Fear Itself" when the gang attend a college Halloween party and all dress up as someone or something that would actually be useful should history repeat itself.
  • The same trick was pulled on a convention in the later Angel comics, turning a bunch of nerds into superheroes and villains, and turning Spike into Angel. Or at least, Angel as Spike sees him.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) has "The Masks", where a dying millionaire forces his worthless heirs to wear masks caricaturing their worst personality traits - if they take them off before midnight, they get cut out of his will save for some fare to take the train home. At midnight, he dies, and they shed the masks... and discover their faces have taken on the shapes of the masks permanently save the good-hearted millionaire. He retains his human face. It should be noted this isn't set on Halloween, but Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
  • Abed from Community is probably worth an honorable mention. In the Halloween episode "Introduction to Statistics", he dresses up as Batman, and although technically he never actually turns into Batman (despite appearances, it's not that kind of show), he commits to the part to such a degree that some of his friends start to think he actually believes it. But then, he is known for his rather unique view of reality.
  • Misfits has an unusual example bordering on an inversion: One character wears a gorilla costume to a costume party. In the end it turns out that he was a gorilla with the superpower to appear human, leading to a scene in which he removes a gorilla mask to reveal a gorilla face underneath.
  • In one episode of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, the heroes take shelter from the rain in a castle. When they decide to change out of their wet clothes into the formal outfits they find, they become possessed by the original wearers, who were evil. Fortunately, Challenger didn't do this, leaving him free to save the day.
  • In one episode of My Babysitter's a Vampire, one of the characters, Rory, puts on an ancient magical mask that gives him the power to turn people into their costumes. Unfortunately, the mask also takes control of his mind, and starts building an army. To make matters worse, the mask can only be removed after the wearer is blasted with magical lightning- something WAY out of the league of the resident wizard, especially since his Old Master witch grandmother is out of town.
  • The Halloween costume version is also used in Spooksville, featuring a boy who keeps trick-or-treaters hostage as more-or-less real versions of their costumes. The resolution hinges on one of the characters being able to use part of his costume that had been a toy but was now real.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Monte Cook's World of Darkness, all of the costumes at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis work this way. Once someone puts on a costume, they become that character—even when the costume is removed. The effect is apparently irreversible. The theater is popular with suicidal people; by putting on a costume, they can cease to exist and instead become someone else entirely.

    Video Games 
  • The Deku, Goron, Zora, and Fierce Deity masks in Majora's Mask are much more than facial accessories...
  • This is a gameplay mechanic in Costume Quest, a Play Station Network and Xbox Live Arcade title from Double Fine.
  • Kid Chameleon on the Sega Genesis as the main gameplay mechanic.
  • Played with in a skit in the PS3 version of Tales of Vesperia, where the party unintentionally start acting like the Tales characters they're dressed as. The same costumes also let them use an arte that was used by the character it belonged to.
    • This is also the primary gameplay mechanic of the Narikiri Dungeon series, where donning the costumes of different classes, monsters, or Tales characters turns you into them and allows the use of the appropriate abilities.
  • In Sunless Sea, there is an island called Visage where all who visit the island must don a mask to go past the dock onto the island. Those who wear the mask take on the role of the mask, both mentally and physically. For example, those wearing the frog mask will only croak when they try to speak, someone wearing a locust mask will act like a locust, and while wearing the mask of the moon-moth it's mentioned "You briefly flicker your wings". However, once someone removes their mask they immediately become the person they were before.
  • Tales played with it before in Tales of the Abyss, where Anise can be given special dolls from other Tales or Namco games (such as Presea from Tales of Symphonia and ) which sometimes prompt Anise's end battle quote to sound nothing like anything Anise would say and sometimes end up as nonsequitors, because she's channelling the character in question. They also allow her to use their special abilities (ie, Beast for the Presea doll)
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 3: Purple Guy's ultimate fate, where it is revealed he suffered a grievous, painful death and became entombed in the very same suit he used to commit his crimes, his restless ghost haunting it to this day.

    Web Original 
  • The Xanadu storyverse is all about this. At a costume convention with ten thousand in attendance, costumes become real and those wearing them are changed. Mentally the transformation varies from person to person, from "Suddenly my costume is much more accurate" to "Where am I, what is this planet?" Stories tend to be either furry or Welcome to the Real World.
  • Overlaps with Dragged into Drag on sites like Big closet top shelf all the time.
  • Discord inflicted this upon Ink City when he crashed their Halloween party. This included several residents temporarily transforming into each other thanks to their costume choices, like Rigby becoming Trevor, and Yakko becoming his own player.
  • In general, this is a favorite Halloween event for Journal Roleplay games.
  • Accidental or malicious handwavium ingestion while cosplaying can have this effect. The most drastic example in Fenspace canon to date is a guy who turned a truck a detailed replica of Optimus Prime's vehicle mode, got shot by a police sniper after being mistaken for a terrorist, passed out in the cab after somehow getting handwavium in the wound and woke up as a Transformer. He wasn't too upset about it. Less spectacular transformations include someone who got turned into a cyborg after neglecting to wash the handwavium residue off the inside of their Powered Armour before putting it on for the first time.
  • From the satirical Venezuelan blog Chigüire Bipolar's article *Boy disguises as National Bolivarian Guard and hits his mother, grandmother and doggy, both the title's boy and his sister who disguised as radical oppositor.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Fairly OddParents Timmy wishes for this to happen on Halloween - unfortunately for him, his wording of the wish prevents him from unwishing it.
  • In The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror XVI" third segment, "I've Grown a Costume on Your Face," a witch curses the town by making them become their costumes.
    • One of the Halloween comics had this happen in messy fashion when Rod and Todd Flanders became possessed by demons, including a lethal How Do I Shot Web? when Comic Book Guy, dressed as Superman, tries to test out his X-ray vision on stuff in his pocket and sets his eyes to heat vision instead.
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode "Slaves to Fashion", Tuskernini, the villainous walrus filmmaker, creates a gas that causes people to take on the personality of whatever costumed character they dressed up as. Hilarity Ensues. The gas doesn't actually affect our hero, though, because he came to the party as himself.
  • The "Curse of Necklace" episode of Martin Mystery.
  • Happened in the Danny Phantom special, "Reality Trip" where a Reality Gem transformed a trio of nerds at a comic convention. Unfortunately for Danny, they were dressed as super villains.
  • The Creep School episode "Tricks That Treat" does this.
  • In the Rugrats episode, "Curse of the Werewuff", Angelica convinces the babies that they will be transformed into their Halloween costumes.
  • The TV special Witch's Night Out (1978) has a witch turn two kids and their babysitter into the monsters they're costumed as. When the adults find out and turn on her, she explains that the point of Halloween is to try out different personas and imagine your potential. The adults happily start calling out requests for one-night transformations themselves.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold has Batman turn into a man-bat hybrid, Bronze Tiger into a tiger-human hybrid and Vulture, Fox and Shark turn into, you guessed it, subjects of Animorphism.
  • Without the Hallowe'en aspect, this was the premise of the 1980s children's animation Mr Benn. Mr. Benn (a bowler-hatted Everyman) would visit a magical costume shop, try on a costume and become that character - spaceman, cowboy, prisoner, clown...


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