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Brown Bag Mask

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In the place of the Amazing Spider-Man, the "Bombastic Bag-Man" is here to help the Fantastic Four.

"With a saviour clad in a paper bag
that must be one ugly child"

Sometimes related to Paper-Thin Disguise, a plain paper grocery bag is often found to be a simple, yet effective way of concealing one's identity. In many cases, this usually involves a simple bag with a couple of eyeholes cut out, but variations exist. This usually does not occur when a person is planning a disguise, but rather, when a simple one is quickly needed.

This also seems to be commonly used as a mark of shame, whenever something embarrassing or humiliating has occurred, or for characters supposed to be unspeakably ugly. People will usually be able to recognize characters by voice, but it makes things painfully clear that something humiliating has happened.

Compare Newspaper-Thin Disguise. The Sackhead Slasher also employs a simple bag mask, typically connoting a rural connection and usually found in a horror setting—think intimidation instead of humiliation.


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  • An advertising campaign in the UK against breaking the speed limit had the tagline "Don't let us take your picture", showing a person with a paper bag over their head, with no eye holes, and a sad face drawn on it.
  • A 1996 UK TV ad for Pizza Hut featured England soccer players Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle eating pizza with Gareth Southgate, who had just missed a penalty for England against Germany in UEFA Euro 96. Southgate wears a brown paper bag and takes it off as his pizza is served.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: The Cyber City arc has Sonic's minion Zetsubou-kun (a.k.a. the Unknown Sad Sack), a perpetually mopey fellow who wears a paper-bag mask over his head.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, during the Agitate Halation Arc, Touma is treated to the surreal sight of a woman wearing a Playboy Bunny outfit with a paper bag over her head. The narrative refers to her as "Paper Bag Bunny Girl". She tries to kill him on sight with a device that resembles a naginata and sprays water with enough force to slice through metal, but he quickly escapes.
  • In Change 123, when Kosukegawa and Fujiko stroll through town, they get confronted by a mysterious man with an improvised bag mask.
  • Dropkick on My Devil: Medusa wears a paper bag over her head in public to avoid turning people to stone.
  • In Hayate × Blade, when Hayate and Ayana visit the orphanage to tell them they don't need to worry about the loan sharks anymore, Hayate insists on wearing shopping bags on their heads, and introduces herself as "Famima-kamen" and Ayana as "Lawson-kamen" (named after the store chains the shopping bags were from, Family Mart and Lawson). This disguise gets seen through right away.
    • A variant as they're plastic shopping bags and thus highly uncomfortable (they aren't labeled as a suffocation hazard for nothing). Much to Ayana's chagrin, especially when she goes out in one solo.
  • Recently, many characters from Hetalia: Axis Powers were given cat versions of themselves. Turkey always wears a plain white mask over his eyes, but a cat can't wear a mask—that would be silly. The feline Turkey wears one of these instead, complete with a drawn-on smiley mouth, in an odd non-disguise example.
  • Cocoa puts one on Sharo's face in episode 7 of Is the Order a Rabbit? when visiting Chiya, because of her fear of rabbits. Interestingly, Anko doesn't chase after Sharo until after she rips off the bag.
  • Mr. X from Midnight Horror School always wears one. Interestingly, whenever someone tries to remove the bag off their head, they'll find another bag underneath.
  • Used in One Piece: one of Blackbeard's subordinates, Jesus Burgess, enters the coliseum contest and simply puts a paperbag with "Happy Store" printed on it, calling himself Mr. Store. Once he defeats all his opponents of the first round, he reveals himself.
  • Shadow Man, the phantom thief of Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace. The bag is necessary to keep his identity a secret.
  • She's My Knight: Mogami wears one (without eye holes) to try to be less charming, but it just makes people focus on her voice, and when she stops talking, on her posture.
  • In Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san, one of the employees at the bookstore wears one of these.
  • In Tenchi Muyo! GXP, Seina and his classmates were forced to wear paper bag masks to cover up the obscene-looking tattoos that appear on their faces.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Season 7 episode 36 of Happy Heroes, Lele covers his head with a brown bag when he gets embarrassed over the school magazine publishing a story about him cheating on a math problem.
  • Simple Samosa: In the episode "Makkhi Makkhi!", when Jalebi goes over to Samosa's house to show everyone the fly on her head, she wears a brown bag over her head to keep anyone from seeing it and panicking.

    Comic Books 
  • In Cerebus the Aardvark, Cerebus has to spend an issue or two with a bag over his head because he didn't realize that the white paint he used as part of his "Spore" disguise was indelible.
  • Deconstructed in an issue of Chuck Dixon's Detective Comics - a Butt-Monkey small-time criminal wears one of these to his first robbery, but was quickly tripped up by the lack of peripheral vision. In the end, the cops had to save him from the store's manager and other customers.
  • In Knights of the Dinner Table, B.A. sometimes forces his players to wear paper bag masks if he's worried that their facial expressions will give away information the other players shouldn't know. Brian's head is too large to fit in a paper bag so he has to wear a cardboard box.
  • In Marshal Law, superpowered Serial Killer the Sleepman wears a paper bag mask with only one eyehole.
  • Rat-Man as a young kid in an orphanarium used one to pass unnoticed to the bully who had previously threatened him. Unfortunately, he forgot to remove it during the classes...
  • Robin (1993): Discussed when Stephanie Brown asks Tim Drake to take her to Lamaze class and since he still doesn't have permission to tell her his secret identity and can't show up as Robin, he uses the sleazy fake ID of Alvin Draper which Steph thinks is hilarious:
    What was I supposed to do? Wear a bag on my head?
  • Secret Path (2016): Chanie and the other students at the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School are shown to be wearing paper bags that they drew faces on in several panels. It's revealed in the latter half of the comic that they're Halloween masks.
  • Vanity Smurf uses one in The Smurfs and The Book That Tells Everything.
  • Spider-Man:
    • In The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #258, After the Fantastic Four freed Spider-Man from the Venom symbiote, he needed a temporary costume. A spare uniform was easy, but the FF don't wear masks. Johnny provides a brown paper grocery bag, and ta-da! Introducing the Amazing Bag-Man! Unfortunately, Peter didn't know that Johnny Storm added a "Kick Me" Prank sign on his back and after Spider-Man stopped a crime in that outfit, he was surrounded by reporters asking if this was some kind of initiation for superheroes.
    • And when he didn't have a real costume handy again during the Identity Crisis arc, he was forced to go into action as the Bombastic Bag-Man. When you make up a distinctive adjective to describe what is basically your hobo costume, you're pretty much admitting it's going to see some serious usage.
      Spider-Man: Bombastic Bag-Man was not my finest moment...
    • And there was another time when he needed to clean his Spidey costume, but the laundry room at his apartment was being used, and he didn't want the occupants to see his costume (for obvious reasons). So he swings his way to a nearby laundromat with the bag over his head to conceal his identity while he washed it.
    • The bag returns in Spider-Man Beyond, as while Peter is doing physical therapy with Black Cat'' after waking up from a radiation-induced coma, he isn't allowed to use the Spider-Man identity as it is currently owned by the Beyond Corporation, so he trains as the Bag-Man instead.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side:
    • Explorers come across a tribe whose people and their dogs wear brown paper bags over their heads:
      "This must be it, Jenkins — the legendary Ugliest Place on Earth."
    • A mother is chastising her young son about how if he's really being threatened by a closet-monster, why can't he describe what the monster looks like.. while the monster lurks in the shadows wearing a paper bag.
  • Garfield:
    • In the June 13, 1999 strip, Jon is wearing a bag over his head. He explains to Garfield that he has a date, but has humongous zit, and that it's so bad, he'd hide it. As his date arrives, he hopes she'll understand, but much to his surprise, she's wearing a paper bag covering her entire body!
    • In another strip, Garfield covers himself with a paper bag because he's having a bad hair day.
  • In a bizarre crossover strip in Pearls Before Swine, Rat is working as a hotel concierge when a man wearing a paper bag asks him for help in getting a "date" so he can get away from his wife. Rat tells him to take off the bag—and it's Ted Forth.
    Rat: Sally's gonna be maaaaaaaad.
  • In a 1970s Peanuts story arc, Charlie Brown wore a grocery bag on his head to hide a rash that resembled the stitches on a baseball. At camp, Charlie Brown became known as "Mr. Sack" and, as long as he wore the sack, his popularity improved greatly.
  • The February 15, 1987 strip of U.S. Acres had Booker wear a brown bag over his head due to suffering a humiliating beatdown from a worm.
  • In Zits, Pierce wears one when he has to drive Mrs Toomey's minivan home from the lake.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The protagonist in Almost an Angel robs a burger joint of many fish burgers (he wants to feed the hungry, and he's following a bible very literally), wearing their own clown-face burger bag as a mask. Later, a reporter informs people to be on lookout for a man looking exactly like that (even donning a bag herself to demonstrate).
  • Baghead (2008). Aside from the title character, all four of the main protagonists wear one at least once.
  • The titular character of Le Bagman, a hilariously violent amateur film, is called just "Bagman" because of this.
  • Naturally, The Elephant Man does this, but with a sheet instead of a paper bag, to cover John Merrick's deformed face.
  • The Flash (2023). Barry Allen has created an alternate timeline where his parents are still alive. He only discovers he's also traveled back in time when he looks out the window and sees his eighteen year-old self, approaching the house with a bag of laundry. Barry tackles him to the ground, grabs some underwear from the spilled laundry and pulls it over his face to hide his identity. It doesn't work as younger Barry quickly unmasks this looney to find himself staring back at him.
  • In the soft-core porn Flash Gordon spoof Flesh Gordon 2: Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders, the Big Bad insists his overweight wife wear a bag on her head during sex. Flesh Gordon enters the room instead and has sex with her, which doesn't bother her in the least, even when she realizes who it is.
  • In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, as a kid, the Grinch once shaved after an insult by August Maywho. The results were disastrous, and he hid his face in one of these. And when the teacher asks him to take off the bag, almost all the kids laugh at him, resulting in his hatred for Christmas.
  • In Scavenger Hunt (1979), Jenkins, Jackson and Henri pull paper bags over their heads when they rob the grocery store. Henri forgets to out any eye holes in his.
  • Strippers Vs. Werewolves: In one scene, Barker is seen wearing a paper bag on his head for some reason. One of the other werewolves draws a smile on it.
  • In Trick 'r Treat, one of the kids killed in the 'Schoolbus Massacre' is wearing a creepy paper bag mask. Thirty years at the bottom of the pond does nothing to diminish its creepiness.


    Live-Action TV 
  • On the third-season 2 Broke Girls episode "And the Kickstarter", Caroline uses one to conceal her identity in the video she records for her pitch for new pants on the titular website.
  • All That:
    • In the parody of The Wizard of Oz "Dorothy's" companion Mr. McToad needs to see the Wizard because his face accidentally scares children and animals. The Wizard solves the problem by putting a bag over his head.
    • They also had a recurring superhero who got his powers when he fell headfirst into a bucket of radioactive waste. The only problem? The bucket was stuck on his head, and thereafter served as his mask. He once fought a villain who's origin story was similar, but actually used a brown paper bag (why he couldn't just tear it off isn't addressed).
  • Meta-example: When Michael Wisher was preparing to play Davros in the Doctor Who story Genesis of the Daleks, he wore one of these during rehearsals. Not as a disguise, though: he wanted to get himself used to being virtually blind in the Davros mask.
  • Real Life example: the Unknown Comic, who appeared on The Gong Show and Celebrity Bullseye.
  • On Mad Men, Joan's advice to Peggy on her first day in the office is to go home, put a paper bag over her head, and assess her own body in the mirror in order to decide which features to play up when dressing for work.
  • On an episode of Married... with Children, Al got a job as the school's security guard. When he lost the job due to gross incompetence, Bud wore a paper bag over his head and wrote "I am NOT a Bundy!" on the back.
    • And in "He Thought He Could", both Bundy children start wearing this after Al is caught on video camera "finding" a book in the library that he'd had checked out for decades, but wanted to avoid paying the fine.
  • The first time Numberwang is played on That Mitchell and Webb Look, the loser has a paper bag put over her head with the word "NO" written on it.
  • On Pretty Little Liars, Aria and Ezra were angsting about how they couldn't ever go out or take a picture together. Aria solves part of this by making two brown paper bag masks with doodle faces on them, and they take a picture.
  • Radio Enfer: When the student association is hosting a poll to determine who is the most popular radio host, Jean-Lou is among the most popular ones while Vincent is the least popular. The latter tries to imitate the former's style in order to increase his popularity. However, this instead makes him even less popular, causing a riot among the students. As a result, Vincent decides to wear a brown bag mask to hide his identity during one scene.
  • One of the Chris Evans hosted episodes of Top Gear had the infamous segment where he threw up during a car test. When the segment ended, Matt LeBlanc said that Chris had left. We then see Chris in the background wearing one of these (with his glasses still on), saying "I'm not here."
  • Wiseguy: Undercover agent Vinne Terranova is Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee, but his superior Frank McPike insists that he testify behind a screen with his voice electronically altered, as he doesn't want Vinnie to blow his cover. An annoyed Vinnie goes into the bedroom, then reappears wearing a pillow case with eyeholes cut in it. "Is this how you want me to appear? Agent X?"

    Music Videos 
  • They are worn by the people holding up their postcard secrets in the video for The All-American Rejects song "Dirty Little Secret".
  • In The Lonely Island video for "I Just Had Sex", one of the characters has one of these foisted on him by his girlfriend before they can get it on. Still counts as sex!
  • The titular crazy bastard in the music video for the They Might Be Giants song "Bastard Wants to Hit Me" dons one of these when being snubbed by the narrator pushes him completely over the edge.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In 1986, André the Giant was suspended by the WWF but continued to appear under a mask as a Japanese wrestler called the Giant Machine. Bobby Heenan had been addressing the issue for weeks and appeared on Piper's Pit claiming to have recently signed two wrestlers from Korea. Two men came out wearing paper bags over their heads and Heenan announced "Isn't this the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen?" just before they removed their Paper-Thin Disguise to do The Reveal that they were Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy, two men Heenan managed.
  • A similar angle was done by WCW around the same time. "Wildfire" Tommy Rich lost a retirement match and the following week, a masked wrestler named "Mr. R" began appearing. Everyone knew Rich was Mr. R but played along to agitate Rich's heel opponent, Ted DiBiase, who happened to be the NWA National Champion. After some time, DiBiase and "Mr. R" battled in a title match and DiBiase unmasked Mr. R, only to reveal Brad Armstrong. Rich came out from backstage to taunt DiBiase, distracting him and allowing Armstrong to get the pin and become the new National Champion. DiBiase later tried to claim he "knew" something wasn't right as Armstrong was smaller than Rich.
  • As World Championship Wrestling decayed, one spectator was witnessed wearing one of these and holding a sign saying "I'M AT A WCW EVENT."
  • TNA's tag team "The Beautiful People", essentially two fully-grown Alpha Bitches, give some people the "paper bag treatment", in which they stuff a paper bag with construction paper hair and make-up decorations over the victim's head.
  • Cody Rhodes handed these out at ringside to the front-row fans ("at great personal expense"), as well as placing them over the heads of his defeated opponents. It's a part of his heel gimmick, wherein he's "doing them a favor" by hiding what he perceives as their hideousness from the world. Randy Orton put a bag over Cody's head after defeating him.
  • Darby Allen wore one of these with Jon Moxley's face on it in All Elite Wrestling while challenging him for title belt. He meant to wrestle Moxley with it on but Moxley removed it and dropped him to mat with one punch to the mouth that left Allen bleeding.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Eureeka's Castle special, "Don't Touch That Box", Batly touches the aforementioned box, and becomes invisible. He tries to wear a paper bag with his face drawn on it over his head to try and not tip off Eureeka to what he did.
  • In an episode of The Muppet Show, Kermit is forced to wear a paper bag over his head after a group of thieving prairie dogs steal his collar. It was either that, or walk around naked.

    Video Games 
  • COUNTER:SIDE: The Magellan Prediction Society, a Cult that worships the Counterside and its Eldritch Abominations, has its members wearing brown paper bags over their heads as presumably a disguise. This actually bites them when police officer Kang Soyoung investigates them in a side story, since she easily deduces their hideout as being the only place in the city that orders so many paper bags and isn't a bakery.
  • Endless Nightmare have bag-head zombies in the second and fourth games, undead mooks wearing cloth bags over their deformed faces.
  • Grand Theft Pizza Delivery: One NPC you encounter in the game, Mr. Fleetwodd, wears a paper bag mask that covers half his head. Why he does it is never stated, though given the fact that one of the first things he asks you is if you're the Spanish Government...
  • Guild Wars 2: During the 2023 "Shadow of the Mad King" (Halloween) special event, you could get one of four paper bag helms — one with a smiley face drawn on it, one frowning, one blushing, and one sad.
  • Faust from Guilty Gear is a reformed serial killer who wears one both as a self-imposed mark of shame and to hide his identity.
  • Mono from Little Nightmares II wears one of these as his default hat and in all forms of promotional material.
  • The Elephant Man film example above is spoofed in Monster Party, where the enemies resembling that character have an actual elephant head under the rag.
  • Crazed ex-employees in My "Dear" Boss put brown paper bags on their heads.
  • Certain Mooks in No More Heroes wear brown paper bags, mostly just so that they look strange.
  • Interestingly enough, used to scary effect on Persona 2 by JOKER, with the bloodstains, single eyehole, and crudely drawn Slasher Smile emphasizing just how unhinged the guy is. Seriously, just look at this guy. Does he LOOK like someone you'd want to mess with?
  • In Puyo Puyo, one of Choppun's defining traits is that he always wears a brown paper bag on his head, and wears his glasses on the bag.
  • QUESTER: Worn by TWD zombies and their Palette Swaps. That's also the only thing they're wearing, though their bodies are so shriveled that there's nothing to see.
  • The Aristocrats in Rule of Rose wear paper bags on their heads while committing more nefarious deeds, presumably to distance themselves from the act, and this trait is passed on some of the Imps, as well. This is probably one of the creepiest instances of the trope in the near history.
  • In The Sims 3, this is the symbol for the "humiliated" moodlet.
  • In The Sims 4's Eco Lifestyle expansion, Jeb Harris wears one of these. You're given the option to apply it to your own Sim, and a Neighborhood Action Plan causes everyone in your neighborhood to wear them.
  • The Bombastic Bag-Man mentioned in the Comic Books section is an unlockable costume for Amazing Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, complete with mask.
  • In Team Fortress 2 these are available for all classes as the "Halloween mask."
  • Them's Fightin' Herds has a couple of cosmetics that are brown paper bags with crude faces drawn on them, which cover the faces of the characters.

    Web Animation 

  • In Denma the Quanx, Duke Gosan wears a paper bag on his head.
  • Imperative to Imaginates in Housepets!, where it seems to be a rule that all costumes must be no more complex than a paper bag with something written or drawn on it.
  • Stan, the main character of June, always wears a bag mask. His eyes, nose and mouth are occasionally seen, so what exactly is he hiding?
  • In Chapter 3 of Legend of Legendary Mighty Knight, the knight recruits an unpopular stage magician who wears a paper bag over their head, and expresses emotions through cartoony facial expressions scribbled on the bag with marker.
  • In MegaTokyo, Ed goes around with a paper bag on his head for a while after having his face blown off in an explosion, until he gets it surgically replaced.
  • Millie in Ozy and Millie once wore one to hide her teal hair elastic. Ozy questioned her judgment of which was more shameful.
  • In Questionable Content, May wears one of these after she accidentally slices half her face off.
  • Wonderella dons one of these in The Non-Adventures of Wonderella to hide from her past self. Her past self notices the chick in the brown bag mask but instead of trying to figure out who's under it, just draws a penis on it.
  • Unordinary: To hide his identity, John wears a brown paper lunch bag when he confronts Zeke and Juni over their recent bullying. He eventually replaces it with a black ski mask when he becomes "Joker".
  • Iliad, the cartoonist of User Friendly, always represents himself with a paper bag on his head when he makes a cameo appearance.

    Western Animation 
  • Played With in Adventure Time when a cow had a brown bag tied around her udder, which is revealed to have a weird looking face on it.
  • When Doug gets his first pimple, Judy sarcastically suggests that he wear a bag over his head to hide it when he asks for a solution.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy Valentine's Day special, Ed wears an assortment of paper bag masks throughout the episode, ostensibly to disguise himself from girls (especially the Kanker Sisters).
  • In The Fairly OddParents!, Chester's father, Bucky McBadbat, wears a bag on his head because of his shame at losing a major league baseball game.
  • The Futurama episode "The Thief of Baghead" features actor Langdon Cobb, who is considered the finest actor of his time despite never appearing without a paper bag over his head. He claims that it's so his beautiful face would not distract from his acting, but in reality it's to hide the fact that he's from an alien species whose appearance robs the witness of its lifeforce, which Landgon feeds off.
  • The U.S. Acres segment "The Monster Who Couldn't Scare Anybody" of Garfield and Friends had a monster wear one over his face because his parents were ashamed of his "ugliness" (he looked like a human child), to make them proud he decided to try and scare people to no avail, when Roy Rooster learns this he sets him up with Wade, but Wade knocks himself out because Roy told him of his arrival before he has a chance to see him, eventually they are attacked by Orson's brothers and the monster takes off the bag in an attempt to scare them and it actually works, it turns out they were afraid of him because he was a dead ringer for a sausage salesman and they know sausage is made from pigs.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Just The Two Of Pus" had Sperg wear one over his face to hide his acne because people wouldn't stop screaming when they saw him. It was recommended by a doctor, who charges out the ass for it in the episode's end when Sperg managed to remove his acne through another method—he couldn't object because he accidentally removed his own mouth as well.
  • In Jimmy Two-Shoes, Lucius wears a bag over his head after he gets a bad haircut.
  • Johnny Bravo: In "Aunt Katie's Farm", Johnny has to take Little Suzy to a taping of a kid's show. Embarrassed about it, he wears a bag mask, but takes it off when Carl immediately recognizes him.
  • Looney Tunes: When Sylvester is beaten by Hippety Hopper (a baby Boxing Kangaroo) yet again, his son (if he's along) wears a paper bag over his head as he feels he cannot show his face in public due to the shame of having a father who gets beaten up by a "mouse".
  • Even into old age, The Manly Bee's sidekick wears one of these as part of his superhero gear.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: In "Hostile Makeover", Jenny hides under a paper bag when she gets robo-pimples on Picture Day.
    Jenny: Great, now I'll have to wear this bag on my head forever! And it smells like fish tacos!
  • Oh Yeah! Cartoons: The short "Fuzzy Bunny Presents: A Kid's Life" briefly shows Suzy Cornhusk wearing a paper bag over her head when she's tormented by the blackheads on her nose, who are anthropomorphized as heckling humanoid blobs.
  • In the infamous episode of Pepper Ann, "In Support Of", Pepper Ann wears one in the library at the episode's climax after she's sent to the principal's office for flashing her bra in front of the whole school. Nicky and Milo take it off of her twice when they try to console her that there were other embarrassing moments their classmates have been through.
  • In an episode of Phineas and Ferb, Candace dons a paper bag to hide the skin condition caused by her parsnip allergy (which also gave her the voice of a male blues singer!).
  • The Crazylegs Crane segments from The All New Pink Panther Show had this as a Running Gag. Crazylegs Crane Jr. would put a paper bag over his head every time his father did something embarrassing, which happened pretty regularly.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
  • In the Robot Chicken sketch "Put A M.A.S.K. On It", Matt is a Chubby Chaser looking for the right woman. "Darlene" notes that everyone else has a mask and asks if she gets one as well. Matt assures her she does and then puts a bag over her head.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In "Hair Licked", Rocko has to wear one after Heffer gives him a terrible haircut and takes him to the Chameleon Brothers' hair stylist shop. It's also spoofed when Heffer initially looks at the results of his haircut attempt, and when offering to make a mask for Rocko he asks like a grocer, "Paper or plastic?" Rocko should be grateful Heffer didn't just go with the plastic bag.
  • The Rotten Ralph episode "Ralph's Super Duper Bloopers" has Ralph put on a paper bag mask after he is humiliated by security camera footage of his misfortunes becoming the winning entry in the video contest for the Blunders and Bloopers television show.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Sheriff Stone dons one to conceal his identity after he loses his job in "Dead Justice".
  • The Simpsons:
    • Notoriously reclusive novelist Thomas Pynchon was depicted this way in two episodes.
    • Homer once started a website where he revealed all kinds of dirt secrets about Springfield. He made his avatar a picture of him with a paper bag over his head. After his site became popular and won an award, Homer tried to claim credit for it. Nobody believed him until he put on the paper bag in front of everyone.
  • South Park:
    • Ugly Bob is forced to wear one, because, he's so damn ugly!
    • "How to Eat with Your Butt" has Butters' being forced by his father to wear one because of the "stupid" face he made in his school picture, even though his face is normal (implying that Butters' father thinks his son's face is stupid by default).
    • "Turd Burglars" has Ike Broflovski makeshift one out of a bag of potato chips to cover his face with when Sheila talks about her recent fecal transplant to the other women while grocery shopping.
  • The Spider-Man (1981) episode "The Sandman is Coming" has Spider-Man forced to flee his fight with the Sandman because he loses his mask during the fight. To avoid his secret identity from being exposed, he web-swings home with a paper bag mask.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
  • The Teen Wolf episode "The Beast Within" has Mr. Howard turning into a werewolf while in the middle of working at his tool shop, so he puts on a paper bag to conceal his wolf face from his customers.
  • In Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, Ennui and Crimson wear these after their goth makeup and wigs are accidentally washed off, as they're both ashamed of what they look like underneath.
  • In the VeggieTales episode "Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah's Umbrella", Larry wears one (with a little frown face drawn on it) on the countertop, due to being ashamed after some kids in another booth at Burger Bell laughed at him for praying over his food. After the episode ends, he still has the bag on, but now it's smiling. Bob gets quite a shock when Larry has no idea that there even was an emotion on the bag, and an even bigger one when it changes emotions by itself!
    • An earlier instance of this happens in the spin-off series LarryBoy: The Cartoon Adventures episode "The Good, the Bad, and the Eggly", where Larry-Boy and Dark Crow wear these (and pajamas) after their original costumes were reduced to over easy eggs.
  • Dr. Flug from Villainous wears a pair of dark-tinted goggles over a paper-bag mask.

    Real Life 
  • At Mephit Furmeet 5, an attendee concealed his identity in the cheapest fursuit ever—a mouse mask made from a bag and a rope through the belt for a tail. At the end of the conference, the attendee's identity was revealed: none other than Dr. Samuel Conway, AKA Uncle Kage, chairman of Anthrocon.
  • Fans of sports teams who are on a particularly painful losing streak will wear brown bags over their heads at games to express dissatisfaction at the way a team is being run to denote shame rather than the desire to conceal one's identity for nefarious purposes. For example, for a period in the 1980's and 1990s, the New Orleans Saints, a National Football League team, had notoriously lousy teams. Their fans took to calling them the "Aints" and wearing paper bags over their heads. The Detroit Lions have gotten a lot of this since 2002 as well - their 0-16 season in 2008 in particular is a lowlight.
  • Shia LaBeouf wore such a mask, with "I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE" written on it, during the Berlin premiere of Nymphomaniac.
  • Linus Torvalds named the 2.2 Linux kernel the "brown paper bag" release in 1999, wearing a metaphorical one online, due to the number of bugs. It also helped establish the convention of even point numbers being used for beta releases of the kernel.
  • A British Army slang phrase is "double-bagger".note 


Video Example(s):


Mr. X

One of the students of the Midnight Horror School always wears a brown bag on their head... well, there are many other brown bags underneath each one.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / BrownBagMask

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