For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself
"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."
"Oh my, that [costume] is wicked! Who made that mask for you?
It's exactly like the wanted posters!"
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 Super Hero
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
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- Although haunted houses in school festivals are pretty standard, Cute Ghost Girl Yuuko decides to actually haunt it. While she's usually a rather ordinary schoolgirl, she ends up making almost everyone who enters run out screaming when she puts her mind to it. She even manages to briefly traumatize one of the main characters.
- 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 characters 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 costumes.
- Shortly before his first battle with Mousse in Ranma 1/2, 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 [[Berserkcloudon 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.
- Subverted in Suite Pretty Cure ♪ where Ellen and and Ako actually wear costumes in Halloween.. Ellen, who is actually a cat stuck in a human body, wears a cat costume. And Ako, who is the princess of Major Land, wears a princess costume.
- In Wagaya no Oinari-Sama it's first lampshaded by the older of the recurring fox brothers by him commenting how advanced make up is those days. It is then averted when a passerby sees him and runs away screaming MONSTER.
- In Soul Eater Not!, both Shaula Gorgon and Kim Diehl are witches who dress up in stereotypical witch costumes for Halloween.
- 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, 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.
- Something similar happened when Clark Kent was on a talk show. He and the other guests had been invited because they (and the host) had all been publicly suspected of being Superman's secret identity, so all of them wore the costume on stage.
- 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.
- Averted in a Halloween issue of the DC Comics Presents. Clark attends a costume party as Green Lantern.
- 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 with 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 recognizes 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 volumes 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.
- Also subverted in a Mxyzptlk story, when Clark went to a party as Green Lantern. When the crazy stuff starts and Jimmy Olsen, dressed as Thor, turns into a REAL thunder Tiamat and flies off, Clark surreptiously uses his heat vision to heat up his fake power ring. "Look, Lois — my ring is glowing!" "Maybe the magic is giving it real powers too! Can you fly after Jimmy?" "Well, I'll try..."
- 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?
- There's a story out there ("The Batman Nobody Knows!", Detective Comics #560) that suggests Batman's good at scaring criminals but not kids.
- A one-shot special of Shi telling Japanese ghost stories has the namesake heroine remarking Halloween is the only time she can wear her assassin outfit without impunity or being mistakenly attacked by her enemies. Lampshaded a bit when a trick-or-treater praises Shi for her costume, but misidentifies it as a costume worn by Zealot of the Wildcats.
- 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...
- Subverted in a Batman short story. During Mardi Gras, a guy dresses in a Batman costume, actually gets involved with criminals, and is rescued by the real Batman — in a Zorro costume.
Batman: Even *I* have heroes.
- In one Hack/Slash story, an investigation takes Cassie and Vlad to a comic convention, where Vlad's monstrous appearance and creepy gas mask causes people to mistake him for a cosplayer. This wasn't intentional on his part, and he doesn't seem to get that everyone thinks he's wearing a costume.
- Another Batman example; in the Li'l Gotham Halloween issue, Batman and Robin are tracking down some criminals. Unfortunately, everyone is dressed up like a rogue or vigilante. Cut to the villains eating dinner and celebrating how they can go out in public without being arrested.
- In a one-page gag from The Smurfs, all the Smurfs attend a costume party dressed as Papa Smurf, except for one Smurf, who seems to be dressed as himself. The catch? The ordinary Smurf is actually Papa Smurf wearing a costume.
- In chapter 19 of Gamma Cavy's paired set of stories, Bond Snapshots Satoshi and Bond Snapshotswhich tie into a previous work of hers, Satoshi and Daisuke who are not really human anymore due to sealed magic backlash go to a costume birthday party fully bewinged and wearing clothes that belonged to their now sealed other halves Dark and Krad. No one figures it out, which is why they did it
- In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen Of All Oni, Jade goes in her new appearance for the Halloween chapter, going for maximum creepiness. Ratso, of course, actually asks where she's going to get a costume at the last minute. Everyone just stares at him.
- 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 Wolfman 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...
- An unofficial sequel, Nightmare Night and Nyx, does this with a young filly changeling named Flitter. Bonus points for actually being on the in-universe equivalent to Halloween.
- 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.
- Invoked in the Halloween Fic of the Facing The Future Series by Tucker when he didn't like Danny and Sam's choice of costumes. The reason it was avoided was because the author had seen Your Costume Needs Work too much.
- In the Bleach Fan Fic Please Stop Eating The Hell Butterflies, the Halloween Episode list stipulates that Komamaru is not allowed to go to Halloween as himself. Mayuri, however, is.
- One of the earliest Trope Codifiers was Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death. In the story, a plague has swept the world and torn through the populace. A Duke ends up holding an extravagant party as the world dies around his estate, and locks the doors so no plague carriers can get in or out. Of course, when the Small Ben strikes midnight, it turns out that one of the party guests isn't wearing a mask after all, and is actually the personification of the plague. And then everybody died.
- 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.
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 disguised 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!
- 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 fictional play The King in Yellow features this scene. (The excerpt is found in "The Mask" by Robert W. Chambers.)
Camilla: You, sir, should unmask.
Cassilda: Indeed it's time. We have all laid aside disguise but you.
- 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.
- Played straight in one of the Heralds of Valdemar novels. When catgirl Nyara goes into Hardorn with a covert team, she goes in disguise ... as a woman made up to look like a catgirl, complete with "seams" shaved into her fur and a set of absurdly large fake ears.
- 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).
- 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.
- Played with in The Dresden Files, where wizard Harry Dresden goes to the Vampire's Masquerade Ball... dressed as a vampire.
Harry: Not only that, but a cheesy vampire.
- Played straight with his friend Michael, Knight of the Cross, at the same party. The vampires thought it was a costume until one made the mistake of touching him and got burned.
- In Bruce Coville's The Monster's Ring, the main character twists the ring twice ("Twist it once, you're horned and haired;/Twist it twice, and fangs are bared...") shortly before the school Halloween party and let everyone assume the result was an incredibly good costume.
- 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" (S 4 E 04, "Fear Itself").
- 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. Creator George R. R. Martin says that they hoped to do the same thing every season on an annual "Halloween" episode, but that didn't pan out.
- 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 Chosen One, 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. In one episode, Zordon specifically told him to go to the Juice Bar to look after the party guests, knowing that he wouldn't raise any suspicion.
- Not quite an example of this trope, but in one episode of Poirot ("The Affair at the Victory Ball") Hercule Poirot was supposed to go to a fancy dress party as a famous person. So naturally he went as himself.
I still don't think they'll let you in; I thought I made it clear the Victory Ball is a costume do. Poirot:
Hercule Poirot does not wear costumes. Hastings:
Everybody does. The whole idea is to go as someone famous. Poirot: Precisely. Hastings:
Oh. I see.
- 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 they're 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 preexisting 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.
- Averted in the CBeebies series Balamory when Archie managed to persuade PC Plum to dress as a robot for the party, and not as a policeman. Again.
- Dicky in Nicky Ricky Dicky And Dawn went as himself to the school's Halloween Dance in "Scaredy Dance".
- The scariest example, no doubt, is from Calvin and Hobbes:
Calvin: 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.
- 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.
- One Charles Addams cartoon in The New Yorker magazine depicts an Alien Invasion, with one of the invaders being greeted by a homeowner and told, "I'm sorry, sonny. We've run out of candy."
- Woody Allen did a routine where he bags a moose on a hunting trip, but it was only stunned, and wakes up tied to his fender riding in the city. Desperate to ditch the moose, he remembers a costume party he'd been invited to. He takes the moose there and tells the hosts "Hello...you know the Solomons." Things take a bad turn when the moose takes second place in a costume contest, to a couple dressed as a moose.
- 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.
- 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, released as part of a Halloween-themed update, in which he is dressing up as himself.◊
Dr. Mundo: Mundo dresses up as himself a lot, or else he forgets. Has happened before.
- 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?
- In their defense, the Saints by this time have sold-out and become criminal celebrities; people robbing a bank in Johnny Gat masks wouldn't be that bizarre in-universe.
- During one mission in Dishonored, Corvo sneaks into a masked ball by wearing his creepy assassin's mask, which is on wanted posters all over the city. He can even sign his own name on the guestbook. The other guests think he's some random gentleman who's trying to be funny. Considering the plague that's ravaging the city in the story, it may very well be a Shout-Out to Poe's ''Masque of the Red Death.'' The main difference is that Corvo's less about spreading plague and more about spreading horrible, horrible death to anyone who crosses him...or alternatively, something much worse.
- In Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, everyone drives something related to their character. Sonic drives a sports car modeled to look like him, Ryo drives a motorcycle, the Bonanza Bros. drive their getaway car, etc. However, Opa-Opa, being a sentient spaceship, doesn't drive a car; he races with himself as his car.
- Similarly, in the sequel, NiGHTS and Reala transform into cars ala their own games, although at least they have Nightopians and Nightmaren sitting in the driving seat. Also, there's the equally-sentient AGES, a SEGA-themed robot that transforms between a Daytona stock-car, an After Burner plane, and a Dreamcast controller depending on the location.
- Most people in Skullgirls know Eliza as a diva singer who happens to wear a very gaudy and revealing outfit. Less people (those people being Samson, Leviathan, and the Medicis) know that she's actually an ancient being, and that outfit she wears is the same one she wore back in the game's equivalent to ancient Egypt.
- 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...
- 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 gets caught in-costume at a Halloween festival as Spider-Man, so he goes with it and winds up getting compliments on how well he fills out his costume. This actually comes in handy later, when Peter being seen in public as Spider-Man is later shown as evidence that he ISN'T Spider-Man. And judging by her cameo at the same carnival, Black Cat likes the holiday too.
- 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 Spiderman 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 costume 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 W.I.T.C.H., 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 slippery dippery long mover-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 WordGirl, 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 the 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 Oddparents 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 other than their stolen Fire Nation clothing, 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.
- Danny Phantom double episode: "Reality Trip"
- Men In Black: The Series: In "The Jack-O-Lantern Syndrome", 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.
- In "The Star System Syndrome", 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, in 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.
- Sabrina: The Animated Series: Sabrina wore a witch costume.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Ever since Grim cut off Jack's head and Jack got a pumpkin for a replacement, Halloween was the only time of the year Jack could go out shopping.
- In Filmation's Batman animated series, the Scarecrow did this at the Halloween charity auction, hoping everyone would mistake him for the disguised Commissioner Gordon.
- 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. Maybe he tried to deliberately invoke "Your Costume Needs Work" and failed.
- 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?"
- Teenage fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson admitted to breaking the "no Halloween costumes" rule at her suburban Chicago High School and getting away with it because people had gotten used to her wearing outlandish outfits to school.
- Accidentally done by Tim Curry. He decided to attend a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show and was kicked out because they thought he was a Tim Curry fan dressing up as him. Not helping was that there had been a problem with crazed Tim Curry fans during this time frame resulting from his portrayal in the movie.
- Bryan Cranston once went to Comic Con wearing a Walter White mask.
- Barack Obama showed up on Saturday Night Live one Halloween...in a Barack Obama mask.
- Former WCW wrestler Glacier dusted off his old costume for Halloween 2014.