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Coincidental Accidental Disguise

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The main characters are all sitting in the dark, watching a horror movie about a yellow monster with scales and a tail. One character decides to go get some chips and dip, but while looking for the dip in the fridge, WHOOPS, he drops the bottle of mustard, steps on it, and gets covered in mustard. Then he tries to wipe it off, but he slips and falls, and the paper towels stick to his back.

Then he tries to open the chips, but the bag explodes, flinging chips everywhere. The chips, of course, land on him in such a way that it looks like he has scales.

He walks back into the room and the other characters scream! He, coincidentally, looks like the monster from the film!

In general, it is easy to wander into something that makes you look like a monster. Getting covered in flour or having a bedsheet fall on you makes you look like a ghost, having a stuffed head fall on your head makes you into a beast, etc.

A variation that appears in many Real Life examples is deliberately putting on a costume and then removing it from its normal context (e.g. an actor leaving the set without removing his makeup or changing back into regular clothes).

Compare Easy Impersonation, Scary Shadow Fakeout.


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  • Happy Heroes: In a Season 3 episode, Doctor H. is on his way to rescue Sweet S. when he runs into some clotheslines. By the time he gets to her, he's wearing all black, with a black top hat and his face hidden. Sweet S. spends a couple days dreaming about her mysterious savior, and never learns his identity.
  • In the Lamput episode "Dr. Lamput", Lamput gets covered in gray paint and looks like one of the many scientists chasing after him. Surely enough, Slim Doc mistakes for one of them and drags him to their lab, where Lamput runs with the costume and becomes surprisingly with the others, even becoming the #1 doc at one point.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Happens to Kaitou Kid in Case Closed OVA 10. He loses just enough pieces of his costume that the Detective Boys mistake him for Shinichi, his Identical Stranger.
  • In early Dragon Ball, Bulma is given a Playboy Bunny outfit by Oolong, as it's the only outfit he owns that will fit her (and he was up all night guarding their car with a shotgun instead of doing her laundry). It becomes a plot point when she is subsequently thought to be part of a group of bandits which are identified by the fake bunny ears they wear (the bandit leader being an anthropomorphic rabbit).
  • In Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, Princess Syalis constructs a suit of armour from the carcass of the Tire Demon. When she visits the Ice Region in search of a way to beat the summer heat, frost builds on it in a way that causes the inhabitants to mistake her for Ice Golem, the area boss. She exploits this to have them cool her cell, and also takes advantage of it on subsequent visits.

    Comic Books 
  • One comic from the anthology It Was a Dark and Silly Night (written by Lemony Snicket and drawn by Richard Sala) involves a girl spotting a somewhat intelligent, largely laconic yeti outside her window. She goes out to investigate, and meets another girl, who gives her some marshmallows. As she searches, she becomes covered with so much snow that she begins to resemble a yeti herself, and is mistaken for one when she approaches a house, especially since the sticky marshmallows made it hard for her to talk.
  • When Scamp gets chased off for jumping in someone's yard, Tramp decides to go after him into the "Haunted" house. Having discovered that the shoe he's hidden in has holes in the bottom, Scamp decides to continue his jumping practice from inside the shoe, which gives Tramp the impression that the boot is moving due to a ghost. Eventually, Scamp jumps his boot into some white wash, which gives Tramp a second fright when Scamp comes home entirely white.

    Comic Strips 
  • Used in a 1950s Peanuts strip where Lucy is inflating a paddling pool (so has goggles and flippers on and is using an airpump) only for it to blow away and land on Charlie Brown, who's reading a scare story about the then-contemporary UFO craze. Charlie Brown misinterprets the paddling pool as a UFO, Lucy as a Martian and the airpump as her Death Ray.

    Fan Works 

    Films Animation 
  • A not-so-accidental version occurs in The Emperor's New Groove, where Pacha's wife and kids set Yzma up to look like a piñata.
  • In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the dwarfs run out of their home when they think there's a monster inside (it's really Snow White). Dopey, lagging behind as usual, falls in a pile of pots and pans and runs out with the pots tangled up over his person. The others think he's the monster and attack him.

    Films Live-Action 
  • In EuroTrip: The main character is in the Vatican, and he sneaks about in a private room of the Pope that leads to his balcony. There he quarrels with his friend, who puts a pope hat on his head. He slips and grabs the curtain of the balcony door, and it falls down with him. When he gets up, he accidentally opens the door and the curtain wrapped all around him looks like a pope's robe and the curtain rail in his hands like a pope's staff. With him looking like this, the huge crowd on Saint Peter's Square thinks he is the new Pope. It goes even deeper than that. Prior to this, the bell signalling the death of the Pope is rung by one of the protagonists who "wonders what this rope is for" and one of the pope hats catches on fire and is thrown into the fireplace, releasing the white smoke that signals a new Pope has been selected. The crowd is waiting for his appearance when Scotty appears on the balcony.
  • In the opening scene of Hot Shots! a pilot miraculously survives the mid-air destruction of his fighter, only to be shot by hunters as he now bears an uncanny resemblance to a moose, thanks to some sticks that have become stuck on his helmet.
  • Pretty much the plot of the Laurel and Hardy short "The Live Ghost" — shanghaied onto a ship's crew, they think they accidentally killed a fellow crewman, who is merely drunk, and falls into a trough of whitewash. You can see where this is going.
  • In Mean Girls, Cady walks in on Janice and Damien while wearing her Halloween costume, and this trope happens. She's supposed to be dressed up as—in her words—an 'ex-wife', but Janice and Damien were currently watching a horror movie and lightning and thunder just happened to crash as Cady walked in.
  • Mystery Team combines this with Paper-Thin Disguise. Jason's disguise gets him into a building because the costume is so obvious the guard assumes he's there for the costume party.
  • In one of the Police Academy movies, Captain Harris and Lieutenant Proctor are fooled into entering the notorious Blue Oyster. Naturally they're Mistaken for Gay by the approving patrons.
    Leatherman: Nice uniform. Makes me wish I'd worn my sailor outfit!
  • In Predator, after Dutch is the only squad member left, he falls into a huge mud pit and finds himself staring down the Predator with no weapons completely helpless. As he waits for death, he is stunned to see the predator completely ignore him and go after a nearby wild animal. That's when he realizes that the alien is using infrared vision and that his mud bath completely obscured his body heat.
  • A character in Rat Race accidentally disguises himself as Hitler (with a mustache-like smudge on his face being the least ridiculous aspect) and ends up on the stage of a World War II veterans meeting. He's also driving a VW Sedan (Hitler's real car, in fact) and due to very precise burns on his tongue and hand he was also talking German-sounding gibberish and showing his middle finger. Naturally, said character was actually Jewish (Jon Lovitz, to be precise).
  • In a Scary Movie spoof-scene of 8 Mile, the Eminem-type character pulls on a white hoodie which makes him look like a member of The Klan, and then absentmindedly greets the (mostly black) crowd by thrusting out his arm at a 45-degree angle. A jump cut shows him getting tossed out a window.
  • In Schtonk!!, the satire about the faked Hitler diaries, the counterfeiter is sitting at his work while wearing an old Wehrmacht coat. He has a fever, and his sweaty hair sticks to his forehead. Then he spills some ink, cleans it up with his handkerchief, sneezes, cleans his nose and unwillingly leaves a spot looking like a Hitler moustache. And then, his partner in crime comes in and tells him that people want proof that the diaries were written by no one but Hitler himself. Cue the counterfeiter looking into a mirror.
  • In Wayne's World 2, Wayne ropes in some friends to spy on his girlfriend meeting with a sleazeball suitor. From a telephone pole Wayne, dressed as a construction worker, sees them through binoculars. He radios Garth, dressed as a traffic cop, who in turn radios their accomplices, dressed as a sailor at a USO event and a leather-wearing biker working on his chopper. When Wayne's girlfriend notices, they abort and run into a random doorway, which takes them into a gay club, and onto the stage, where the DJ sees them and mistakes them for Village People impersonators, putting on "YMCA". Then, the Indian from Wayne's dreams shows up...
  • Used in Meet Wally Sparks as part of a ploy to vindicate the governor who is being blackmailed with a sex scandal. Wally is sneaking back into the governor's mansion in the middle of the night when he accidentally awakens the governor in his bedroom. Wally's disguise of a broad-rimmed hat and a beard, combined with standing behind a translucent curtain in the moonlight and the governor not wearing his glasses makes Wally look like the ghost of the governor's great, great grandfather (a confederate general). Using this opportunity, Wally convinces the governor to go the Wally Sparks show to clear his name.

  • Played for Laughs in the end of Aunt Dimity: Vampire Hunter: when Lori sees sun-sensitive neighbour Charlotte DuCaral wearing a red-lined black cloak, red lipstick, and zinc oxide sunscreen, she screams and evidently faints, as she isn't too clear on how she got from answering a door to sitting in a chair in an interior room. Her sons had first noticed this person while they were riding their ponies and thought it was Rendor, a character in a vampire comic book brought to school by a classmate.
  • Happens to a hapless accidental time traveler in Driftless Wormhole. He's wearing coveralls and work boots and has a soccer-style fade haircut and basically pops out of nowhere, which gets him mistaken for an airdropped enemy soldier in a jumpsuit and combat boots by the (armed) locals.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe short story "The Andrew Invasion", the titular Andrew is mistaken for the Doctor on three occasions (admittedly by some very stupid aliens): Once on his way back from playing in a cricket match (Fifth Doctor costume); once on the way back from his cousin's wedding, where he was an usher, and the colour scheme was green and gold (Eighth Doctor costume); and once in tartan pyjamas with a cat motif, and with a red and yellow patchwork quilt around his shoulders (Sixth Doctor costume).
  • Flashman finds himself impoverished in the United States and, looking rather worse for wear, approaches a gentleman for help only to get mistaken for a beggar and given money to make him go away. He's surprised to find you can earn quite a bit this way, enough to solve his immediate problems.
  • In The Time Bender, when O'Leary first appears in the kingdom of Artesia, he uses his newfound powers to create what he thinks is an appropriate set of clothing for what seems to be a rather medieval setting. Unfortunately, the result looks exactly like the legendary figure known as the Phantom Highwayman, and ends up terrifying people.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 100 Things to Do Before High School: In "Stay Up All Night Thing!", Ronbie gets tangled up in a sheet, turning him into a Bedsheet Ghost just as the middle schoolers are freaking out about the 'ghost janitor'.
  • In the 30 Rock episode "The Tuxedo Begins", Liz decides to act crazy so people will give her space on the subway. She starts with a tangled white wig and smeared lipstick, and adds heavy eyeshadow, a green sweater-vest, a pink gym bag, checkered socks and a worn purple overcoat.
  • In the The Almighty Johnsons episode "Unleash the Kraken!", Mike, a construction worker, shows up late to a costume party at his girlfriend's house in his work clothes, intending to change into his costume. Unfortunately for him, his brothers have independently chosen to dress as a cop, an Indian chief and a cowboy, and his girlfriend won't let him break the theme. Or rather, she knows it's not worth trying; her mother caused the whole thing as the Goddess of Parties, and trying to fight the party simply doesn't work.
  • Not entirely coincidental, but in the Amazing Stories episode "Mummy Daddy", an actor shooting a mummy movie in a hick town, dressed head-to-toe as a mummy, hears his wife is giving birth and rushes to the hospital without changing out of costume. According to town legend, a mummy came to life fifty years ago and wreaked havoc. Hilarity ensues especially when the real mummy shows up.note 
  • One Arrested Development episode has a bunch of kids telling ghost stories/urban legends and one is telling a version of The Hook. Then, at the right/wrong moment, Buster stumbles out of the bushes, and when the kids see his Hook Hand, they run away in terror.
  • Black Books:
    • The first time Bernard meets Manny, he wakes up to see him hovering overhead dressed in a white hospital robe with his long hair loose, surrounded by white light...
    • The series established that Manny had a loose tooth, and a massaging device could put your back out. Also, he begins limping when the events of the episode activate a stress cramp in his leg. Putting these together had Bernard becoming a ranting Mad Scientist with Manny as Igor.
    • Another episode ended with all the lead characters hung-over and wearing sunglasses. Manny had also hurt his leg so was walking around with a white cane. When a person comes around collecting money for the blind, she was a bit shocked.
  • The dressed-as Hitler-variation happened in one episode of Childrens Hospital. Of course, Judaism was a recurring theme in the episode and the character involved was the Jewish doctor (the guy playing him isn't Jewish).
  • An episode of CSI uses this trope for a Twist Ending. The plot deals with the shooting murder of a man in a full-body fursuit, prompting the investigative team to delve into the world of the Furry Fandom at a nearby convention. After the usual plot twists and turns, including the reveal of a poisoning attempt among the Furries, the detectives eventually discover that the supposed "murder" was totally accidental—a nearby farmer saw the fursuited man hunched over from stomach pain in an open field in the middle of the night, assumed he was a real wild animal prowling, and opened fire.
  • In one episode of the The Dick Van Dyke Show, Laura and Rob dye something black, only to find that the black dye won't come off their hands and arms... on the night Rob speaks at an NAACP dinner.
  • One episode of The Drew Carey Show sees Lewis go to see a crazed Russian dentist who is eerily reminiscent of Dr. Frankenstein. A series of mishaps with Novocain and a laser beam leave Lewis with a swollen jaw, heavy scarring on his brow, blindness, and the ability to only speak in grunts, which make him look identical to Frankenstein's Monster.
  • In Father Ted, Ted finds himself standing in the exact position required to make a square bit of a dirt on the window look like a Hitler moustache, to the consternation of the Chinese family who were invited over specifically to prove that Ted wasn't racist.
  • This was a rather popular gag on Frasier:
    • In one Halloween Episode, Daphne tells Frasier that the children in the apartment complex think he is a murderous brain-devouring lunatic; they've even invented a song about it: "Old Man Crane, Old Man Crane, make him angry and he'll eat your brain!" Towards the end of the episode, Frasier (dressed as Sigmund Freud) is trying to help Niles remove a wig he is wearing—and naturally a bunch of kids turn the corner at that exact moment and see an aged-looking Frasier pulling at someone's head. They run and scream in terror.
    • In another episode, Daphne wants to prove herself by throwing a party at Niles's apartment without any help. Frasier ends up having to prepare his famous pasta sauce to assist. The partygoers hear Niles and Frasier arguing in the kitchen—and Niles stumbles out covered in red liquid, screaming "LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE!" Daphne fails to help matters by licking the "blood" and declaring it yummy.
      • In the same episode, Niles agrees to host the party to showcase a brand-new painting by a famous artist he has acquired, and manages to get said artist to attend. The silver-haired man shows up early in a plaid shirt and pants; he's also walking with a cane. This just so happens to be Martin Crane's trademark look, so Martin ends up pretending to be the artist when the real thing sneaks off for a tryst with Daphne's mother.
  • Occurs in Jessie during a Halloween Episode. Jessie searches for the kids who are late trick-or-treating, but the kids were told by a creepy old doorman about an evil child-abusing nanny who lived in their building and happens to look exactly like Jessie's Halloween costume. This, along with Jessie being covered in red punch and having anger tantrums, leads the kids to believe that Jessie is possessed by the evil nanny and is out to murder them.
  • In one Modern Family episode, Jay runs into an old classmate of Mitchell's who is now a professional actor appearing in a horror film. Jay takes Manny to see the movie, but it's too frightening for the boy, and he ends up unable to sleep. To solve the problem, Jay decides to have the actor come over in his costume and show that it's all pretend. Unfortunately, the front door is locked, so the actor starts banging on the window (in full zombie gear) and saying "Manny! Manny! I'm here for YOU!" Cue Manny running from the room screaming bloody murder.
  • Happened in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Ned looked like Wild Boy, the subject of a famous painting.
  • Of the "didn't take your costume off" variant, an episode of Only Fools and Horses has Del and Rodney spot a woman being mugged down a foggy alleyway as they're on their way to a fancy dress party, forgetting in the moment what they're wearing. What we see from the muggers' perspective is Batman and Robin running towards them out of the mist, so they leg it.
  • Highly provocative example from Seinfeld: a series of comic mishaps involving being dressed in his riding clothes, accidentally spilling ink on himself (and scratching under his nose), and so on leave Elaine's boss looking just like Hitler. Just before he goes into a meeting to discuss the "invasion" (merger) of Poland Springs.
    Mr. Pitt: We WILL annex Poland by the Spring, at any cost! AND... our stock will rise HIGH! *raises hand*
    • Another Seinfeld episode culminates in Kramer carrying a cane, wearing Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, donning a woman's hat, and to complete the effect, having an altercation with a woman over a pink Cadillac, leading to his being mistaken for a pimp.
    • Happens yet again in "The Frogger": Jerry, terrified of "The Lopper" (a serial killer who takes the heads of guys that look like Jerry), leaves Lisi's apartment at night after splitting up with her. He sees the silhouette of a man walking down the misty street that looks like it's carrying a head. He begs to be let back up into Lisi's apartment, Lisi buzzes him up, and....out of the mist walks Slippery Pete, carrying the battery he stole to power George's Frogger machine.
    • In another episode, Kramer and Mickey are asked to babysit a little boy who has recently watched a Frankenstein film. When the child runs away, Kramer goes looking for him—but he's wearing a pair of brand-new extra-tight jeans and so walks with a stiff, slow gait. That, combined with Kramer's natural height and flyaway hair, convinces the boy that Frankenstein's Monster is out to get him.
    • Happens yet again in "The Gum". Two of the episode's plot threads are "Kramer is trying to exhibit historical movie costumes and props to celebrate the reopening of an old theater" and "a childhood friend of George's thinks George is going insane". This culminates in George walking down the street dressed as Henry VIII (he is the only person Kramer knows who fits in the costume) when his friend spots him.
  • Sonny with a Chance: Ms. Bitterman gets a rash from poison ivy and is mistaken for CandyFace.
    • This also happened to Chad. He was trying to help children with a fear of clowns, but after a mishap attempt to prevent his own baldness he ends looking like a clown himself and accidentally scares the children away.
  • That's So Raven: One episode sees Raven sneaking into the shoot of a zombie movie. She inadvertently falls onto a catering table and gets covered in food, causing her to blend in perfectly with the zombies.
  • The Worst Year of My Life, Again: In the Halloween episode, Alex dresses as the Grim Reaper to go to Nicola's party. However, he gets diverted to hospital because of Simon's hypochondria and, while trying to avoid the police (It Makes Sense in Context), he ends up sneaking through the geriatric ward. Several patients wake up and see what seems to be Death stalking the corridors and a near riot breaks out.

  • A rather dark and non-comedic version of this trope is the song "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath. In the song, a man travels to the future and sees that the apocalypse was brought about by a man made of iron. He goes back in time to warn the people in his modern time of the situation, but encounters a magnetic field that turns his body to steel and renders him mute. When the people in the present mock him for his appearance, he becomes angry and tries to get revenge on humanity, creating the future that he attempted to stop.

    Puppet Shows 

    Theme Parks 
  • In the 3D cartoon Marvin the Martian in the 3rd Dimension, while trying to escape from Marvin the Martian, Daffy Duck ends up crashing into a movie set. He emerges from the wreckage in a Roman legionnaire's helmet, a "skirt" made of barrel staves, and his beak knocked off — which makes Marvin mistake him for the Martian commander. Daffy, his beak surreptitiously hidden behind his back, goes along with the masquerade, because why settle for movie stardom when you can conquer the galaxy?

    Video Games 
  • In The Curse of Monkey Island, Guybrush is mistaken for a giant chicken demon ("El Pollo Diablo") after being tarred and feathered. He can then choose to either unknowingly wonder what's going on or play along with a local chicken restaurant owner, who has a bit of a grudge against El Pollo Diablo to boot.
    • You have the option of English or Spanish for this. Yes, even being confused and unaware of what's going on.
  • In A Hat in Time, walking in a mud puddle during rain will result in Hat Girl tripping and getting covered in mud with conveniently glowing eyes. Doing so is part of the third chapter where you need the disguise to scare a Mafia member into surrendering a Time Piece.
  • In the fourth episode of Scooby-Doo: Mystery Mayhem, Shaggy gets separated from Scooby, covered in mud and left dazed from running into a tree while trying to escape from government soldiers, resulting in his capture when they mistake him for a zombie.
  • In the first Space Quest game, setting up this kind of situation is required in order to progress. Roger Wilco needs to hide in a washer/dryer, get caught in the cycle, and emerges in one of the evil alien uniforms.

  • Done with a healthy dose of Mood Whiplash in College Roomies from Hell!!! when Dave ends up with a rotten pumpkin crammed down over his head and Margaret shoots him, taking him for a pumpkin-headed zombie monster.
  • In Freefall, Florence the Anthropomorphic Wolf seeks shelter from a storm and medical attention... just as the house owner is watching a werewolf marathon. Crouched (to keep a wound closed), showing teeth (trying for a smile) and backlit by lightning, Florence is not a reassuring sight.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • The very-short Broadman sneaks into a party disguised as a chef, while still wearing fake Pointy Ears from his Vampire: The Masquerade LARP, the end result being that Torg and Riff mistake him for the cookie-elf they're looking for.
    • There was also the second Halloween arc, where Riff's redesigning the fog machine to run on Rogaine caused him and Torg to sprout hair all over their bodies, just in time for the first of the many annual demons from the Dimension of Pain to show up and ask the 'werewolves' how to find Torg.
  • This xkcd strip has a guy, who has one half of his face covered in acne as a result of an experiment, flip a coin when he promptly gets punched by Batman, who mistook him for Two-Face.
    • The Alt Text implies that this is not the first instance of such a disguise.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Chuck Jones cartoon The Bear That Wasn't, a bear ends up in a factory with a cigarette in its mouth and holding a cup of coffee. No one can see through the Paper-Thin Disguise and they insist he's "a silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat" no matter how much the bear protests.
  • Camp Lazlo:
    • Happens when Raj is covered in marshmallows and looked like a yeti.
    • And to Scoutmaster Lumpus when he gets covered in leaves and has a couple of eggs wedged down his throat to turn him into the mythical snipe.
    • In a spinoff short, this also happened to Edward. After telling Skip and Dip of the Muddy Muck Monster, he later falls and gets covered in mud and becomes the monster, complete with wings formed from his bent umbrella.
  • In the Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot episode "King of the Gobblebugs", Oopsy makes up a story about seeing the eponymous creature, getting the others all riled up to catch it. Later, Oopsy ends up falling into a barrel of glue and gets all manner of things stuck to himself, making the others think he's the king gobblebug, and they capture him.
  • In Catscratch, a type of this happens, where Gordon has a violent allergic reaction to broccoli (that he doesn't notice), which coincidentally makes him look exactly like the monster from a movie his brothers were watching. Later, Gordon has a different reaction to chocolate, which makes him look like another monster from a comic book his brothers were reading.
  • In the Classic Disney Short "Lonesome Ghosts" (1937), Mickey, Donald, and Goofy manage to scare some ghosts by getting covered in molasses and flour, giving them the appearance of much bigger, scarier ghosts (as opposed to the goofy humanoid ones that started the plot).
  • Class of 3000: The episode, "The Hunt for Red Blobtober", where the gang mistook Sunny for a pirate. The items were: sunglasses half-off (as in, only one lens), him wearing a blouse but the hanger became a hook in a sleeve, and Bianca accidentally writing 'Sunny Blidges' on the grain of rice thus making him say, 'R! R I say! R!'...then the parrot came and lampshaded the whole thing with, "Sunny's a pirate, do the math."
  • On Drawn Together, through a series of coincidences (illness, pranks, the job wheel), Wooldoor ends up looking like a very stereotypical Hasidic Jew.
  • In the DuckTales episode "Sky Pirates ... in the Sky!", just as Uncle Scrooge is about to notice Dewey has run off, Huey gets sprayed with blue fluid that knocks his hat off and stains his shirt. Scrooge sees a triplet in a blue shirt and relaxes.
  • On The Fairly OddParents! episode "Scary Godparents", Vicky mummifies Timmy in toilet paper, which his friends take to be his Halloween costume.
  • In an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo is mistaken for a ghost out of a horror movie after he catches a nasty cold, prompting him to turn pale, emit moaning noises and spit up "ectoplasm". Ew.
  • An episode of Goof Troop has Max and PJ being reminded of a horror movie killer by Pete (intentionally) and Goofy (by accident). And in the final scene of the episode, Pete is scared to death and faints by the appearance of a masked chainsaw-wielding man... which turns out to be Goofy, cutting off a tree.
    • There's also the episode where Goofy decided to become a street mime, although this one was less accidental. Trying to come up with a costume for his performance, Goofy finally decides to wrap himself head to toe in aluminum foil and pretend to be a "robot" mime. Unfortunately, Max and P. J. have also decided to wrap themselves in foil to pretend to be space aliens as part of a prank; they broadcast a fake alien transmission over every television set in Spoonerville, with Max announcing: "Our mission? Quite simple: to take over Earth!" Cue immediate citywide paranoia, and some pedestrians in front of an electronics store (with many TV sets in the front window) happening to glance down the street and spot Goofy going into his mime act.
  • Looney Tunes: Every short featuring Pepe LePew involved Penelope the cat accidentally getting a white stripe on her back somehow. Notable exception: 1959's "Really Scent" starts with the cat (Fabrette) born with a stripe. Heckuva birthmark. And in at least one short, Penelope wound up with a case of the sniffles impeding her sense of smell, and Pepe got black paint down his back, obscuring his stripe.
  • An episode of Martin Mystery had Diana try out a hair dye that caused her hair to fall out and leave a stain on her balding head. MOM then gives her a tooth necklace, stating that people would pay attention to it instead of her bald head. It made her look just like the queen of an ancient race of aliens that they happen to encounter in the episode.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: One episode has the eponymous character, after a series of unlikely events, being mistaken for a Genie in a Bottle.
  • In one Maryoku Yummy episode, Ooka makes up a story about the Yorglesclubber that ends up scaring not only the wishes, but herself and Fij Fij. Maryoku goes out to prove that there's no such thing, but along the way she gets covered in mud and various plants, so that when she comes back, the others think she's the Yorglesclubber and attempt to trap her.
  • In the "Sightseeing" episode of The Mr. Men Show, Miss Scary tells Mr. Tickle, Mr. Grumpy, and Miss Calamity about a swamp monster. Later, through a series of calamities, Miss Calamity ends up covered in mud and goo, leading Mr. Tickle to think she's the monster and run away screaming. Mr. Grumpy and Miss Scary are not as impressed.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar, "I Was a Penguin Zombie": Skipper escapes from the vet after breaking his wing, and through a combination of green topical ointment (which numbs his mouth, making him unable to speak), tangled gauze, talcum powder, and a sprained ankle, ends up looking and acting like the living dead.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In "Are You My Mummy?", Candace stumbles into a store room and gets covered in tissue paper. Because she's also got a mouthful of old bubblegum and can't talk properly, the boys end up mistaking her for a mummy.
    • In "Greece Lighting", Norm has the head of a statue of Babe the Blue Ox land on his head and gets mistaken for a minotaur while chasing Perry the Platypus.
    • In "Get That Bigfoot Out Of My Face", Dr. Doofenshmirtz is mistaken for Bigfoot after he falls off the balcony and gets covered in leaves and mud.
    • In "Bad Hair Day", Candace is mistaken for a rare "tangerine orangutan" thanks to mis-using Phineas and Ferb's hair-restoring machine. Candace manages to get the hair off, only for it to get stuck to Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who is mistaken for the orangutan instead and is captured by Jeremy's mother.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: This happens to the Professor in the episode "Shotgun Wedding". After being chased by Fuzzy Lumpkins, Professor falls into Fuzzy's home covered in mud and a vase of flowers and set of curtains fall on him leaving him looking like a female of Fuzzy's species.
  • Like the aforementioned show above, Rugrats has a share number of these as well. Whenever an adult gets covered in whatever mess he/she gets into, the babies mistake them for an unknown creature.
    • In "Real or Robots", Stu begins sleepwalking and Tommy and Chuckie are convinced that the former's father is a robot.
    • In "Beach Blanket Babies", Tommy and Chuckie discover the latter's father sleeping in buried sand at the beach and mistakes him as "The Sandman when he wakes up.
    • In "Legend of Satchmo", the babies search for a Satchmo (from a story Grandpa Lou told them during a camp-out) and mistake a dark figure (who is really Stu checking up on the kids) for the aforementioned creature.
    • In "Sleep Trouble", Chuckie's father Chaz goes to the Pickles' resident to check on the babies and when he ends up covered in sand due to falling into the sandbox in the backyard, Tommy and Chuckie notice this and are convinced that the Sandyman is after them.note 
  • Can anyone even count the number of times this happened to Shaggy (or Scooby) on Scooby-Doo?
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer manages to get his head stuck in a beehive, then coat the beehive in blueberries, and then roll around, tangling himself up in the green picnic blanket. When he stands up, he looks like he is impersonating Marge. (He even lost his voice from yelling, so all he can make are scratchy noises like Marge makes.)
    • Another example would be the Horrible Camping Trip episode where Homer ends up in his underwear, covered in mud and mistaken for Bigfoot. Taken to hilarious extremes when, even after getting captured by authorities and cleaned up, experts can't agree if he is a dumb human or a brilliant beast.
    • Also, Homer ends up covered in green paint, and goes wild with rage, in front of special guest Stan Lee. ("I Am Furious, Yellow.")
      Stan Lee: He's not the Hulk! I'm the Hulk! RAAAGHHH...! [rips short, growls and try to change into the Hulk] ...I don't understand, I did it once before!
      Comic Book Guy: Oh, please, you couldn't turn into Bill Bixby.
    • Also, while Grampa was competing (and failing) in a race, Groundskeeper Willie was cutting the grass with a scythe. It started raining, so Willie decided to put on his black raincoat, Grampa meanwhile was getting tired and his dentures fell out. Willie tried to return the dentures to him while in the raincoat and still carrying the scythe, leading Grampa to mistake him for the Grim Reaper, so he started running faster and won the race.
    • Due to the side-effects of the treatments needed to keep him alive, Mr. Burns was once mistaken for a glowing alien.
    • Also happens to Marge in one episode, in which a series of mishaps leave her looking like a stereotypical witch.
  • Spongebob Squarepants has done this multiple times.
    • While he and Patrick were warning the citizens of Bikini Bottom about a "flying monster coming to eat you," Spongebob flew over the city after being blown up like a balloon. In another episode, he's at a sleepover with Pearl and her friends watching a zombie movie when he gets rootbeer for everyone by absorbing it, and becomes a lookalike to the movie zombies.
    • There was also the episode, "Krab Borg", where Spongebob mistook Mr. Krabs for a robot. At first, Squidward didn't believe his ramblings, but after seeing Mr. Krabs with piercing red eyes (due to getting salt in his eyes), a pair of tongs in his claw (mistaken for metal pinchers) and two batteries in his back pocket (from his radio that broke and the batteries were in his pocket 'cause he planned to give them to Pearl for Christmas), he starts to believe Spongebob.
    • Another example is "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost". Spongebob and Patrick accidentally melt a model of Squidward that they mistook for the real one, and while they were panicking about saving it, the REAL Squidward comes out of his bathroom, covered in white powder from fixing himself up, and naturally, Bob and Pat freak out and vow to do anything for Squid's "ghost" in apology. Eventually turns into Unwanted Assistance for him, especially by the time they try to bury his "ghost".
    • In the episode about the hash-slinging slasher, the guy who gets off the bus just happens to look and dress like the slasher.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Bombad Jedi", Jar Jar decides to wear a Jedi robe he finds as a disguise to try and rescue Padmé from the Separatists. The Separatists, upon seeing Jar Jar, assume he's actually a Jedi, something he decides to roll with later on.
  • Carried over to Tiny Toon Adventures with Fifi leFume, with the accidental disguise usually befalling Furball the Cat or Calamity Coyote.
  • During the Total Drama episode "Phobia Factor" Cody's garbage bomb explodes, covering him in sludge and trash, as he staggers back towards camp, holding his arms out zombishly and making unintelligible groaning noises (from disgust) he comes across a terrified and lonely Bridgette who immediately screams and makes a run for it.
  • At the end of The Venture Bros. episode "Operation P.R.O.M.", Dermott helps Dean try to win over Triana by "dressing in a scary costume" while standing next to her name spelled in fire. In practice, there's only enough fuel to set one letter ablaze (a lowercase t) and Dean gets a "ghost" costume... making him look like an angry KKK member.
  • Zeke's Pad: In "Art is Bigger Than Life", while trying to draw himself bigger and stronger than his brother Ike, Zeke turns into an eight-foot-tall massive muscle bound freak. Things go from bad to worse when he accidentally drenches himself with a can of paint and is mistaken for a monster. An angry mob proceeds to chase him around town.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: A large man reported taking a trip to China while bright red all over from a sunburn, which would have made him resemble the Buddhist lord of the underworld and judge of souls, Yama in Chinese and Enma in Japanese. He scared small children.
  • Christopher Lee alarmed an elderly Italian couple when he knocked on their door in the middle of the night, covered in blood from a car accident. They'd been watching him play Dracula not long before.
  • During the '30s and '40s, The Three Stooges made several films mocking Nazi Germany, during which Moe capitalized on his resemblance to Adolf Hitler by dressing up as the dictator and playing him as a power-hungry buffoon. One morning they shot some footage on the birthday of Moe's daughter. As soon as the shoot was over he ran out the door without taking off his costume so that he could make it to her party in time. The police received several calls from concerned citizens who claimed to have seen Adolf Hitler running several red lights.
  • A similar thing happened to Armin Shimerman. An earthquake struck, as they are wont to do in California, while he was filming an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Because the phone lines were knocked down he rushed home to see if his family was okay, and of course without bothering to take off his bizarre Ferengi head prosthetics. A lot of supermarket tabloids published wild stories blaming the quake on aliens, complete with eyewitness accounts, not long after.
  • This news item: On Halloween day (1989), Tallahassee, Fla., K-Mart employee Jeff Sablom was taking a break in the back of the store to try on the Batman costume he had planned to wear to a party that night when a security guard asked for his help to apprehend a shoplifter. Said the guard later, "You should have seen that man's eyes when he looked back and saw Batman chasing him." Sablom recovered four cartons of cigarettes and two videocassettes. [Gainesville Sun, 11-2-1989]


Video Example(s):


Nigel Gets A Leaf Mask & Cape

After attacking a blue macaw he thought was Blu, Nigel ends up with a leaf mask and cape.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / CoincidentalAccidentalDisguise

Media sources: