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 each year... Halloween. On this singular day they can 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 design and workmanship of their "costume". (Well, usually, anyway.) And they don't even have to spend any money on it.
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 and costume parties or by 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 the unusual sight of a Super Hero in their civilian identity but still wearing their actual costume.
- Although haunted houses in school festivals are pretty standard, Cute Ghost Girl Yuuko from Dusk Maiden of Amnesia 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 from Digimon Tamers isn't hiding him in a box, he's trying to pass Guilmon for a guy in a costume.
- Magic Kaito: Kaito dresses up as his Phantom Thief alter ego, Kaitou KID, for the skiing costume contest.
- Shortly before his first battle with Mousse in Ranma ½, Ranma was stuck in girl form by a capricious Cologne. So Ranma, desperate to keep the girl-curse secret, decided to humiliate Mousse's fighting style by comparing his "Hidden Weapons" with cheap stage magic... and went on to fight "disguised as a girl" in a Playboy Bunny suit. The audience was pleased (especially with Mousse near-missing Ranma to the point she's left completely naked, only to be promptly dressed up by Akane), but Mousse didn't take it well. The trick kind of backfired when Ranma remained locked as a girl afterwards, revealing his condition to the entire school.
- It's not like he remained; he briefly turned back into male thanks to Dr. Tofu hitting a pressure point on his back (and he knocks Mousse out in male form), but the hitch is that said pressure point only works once but never again. By the time Tofu reveals this, it has already started to rain on Ranma's head, so... You know what happens.
- 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.
- Played straight in Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure, when Yuni forgoes putting on a costume for a Halloween costume party in favor of just attending in her true form of an anthropomorphic cat.
- Becomes a Discussed Trope in an Omake of Nanbaka. Upa says that he'll be going as a Jiang Shi for Halloween, while said child walks around in a Jiang Shi costume all the time.
- 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.
- In Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, several of the cosplayers at Comiket are actually creatures from Tohru's world. Elma also goes to a mixer in her Spin-Off (not fully understanding the concept) with her horn and tail visible, and claims that it's cosplay.
- Dragon Ball Super has a non-Halloween variation, where Gohan is hired to be a stuntman in a Great Saiyaman movie — and of course, he actually is the Great Saiyaman, but none of the crew knows this (other than his father-in-law Mr. Satan). At one point the crew gets suspicious since Gohan took the stunt costume home and later that day Saiyaman thwarted a bank robbery, but thankfully Bulma saves the day by saying someone broke into her workshop and stole the spare costume she'd made.
- Hayasaka from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War provides a mundane example during the culture festival arc. Normally, she keeps her job as Kaguya's valet a secret from their classmates, but she ends up wearing her maid outfit when their class does a cosplay cafe.
- Kaiju Girl Caramelise: When Kuroe Akaishi undergoes a Partial Transformation into Harugon at Destinyland, her date, Arata Minami, assumes that she has dressed up as "Johnny", a Destinyland-owned character resembling a cartoon dinosaur.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 they got shredded in a fight early on in the story.
- 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 has 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 through 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.
- Averted in a Halloween issue of the DC Comics Presents. Clark attends a costume party as Green Lantern.
- 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
ifwhen 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 surreptitiously 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..."
- 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.
- In Adventure Comics #404, villain Starfire's gang is pulling bank robberies in the neighboring town of Carvale, where a Mardi Gras celebration is going on. So Kara goes to the party dressed as Supergirl in order to bleed into the crowd and capture the robbers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Robin Tim and Stephanie go to a costumed Sci-fi movie viewing on a date in full uniform as Robin and Spoiler where they are complemented on their original designs (at this point Batman and the Batclan are widely considered to be urban legends).
- 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.
- 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 Wild CA Ts.
- While Morbius is hiding on a ship, the ship's costume ball is the only time when he can go out and get some fresh air.
Spider-Man: Hey buddy! I'm Spider-Man right?
- An issue of The Amazing Spider-man has the Black Cat meeting Spider-Man at a costume party. She wears her own costume, but mistakes a random party-goer dressed as Spider-Man for the real thing. Turns out Spidey is In the Hood.
- During the JMS run on The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter takes a tailor who designs costumes for supervillains to a safe place. The safe place? A Coffee House where he often goes in full attire, because no way would the real Spidey just hang out at a coffee shop.
Waiter: (calling back) Yeah... You're Spider-Man... nutjob...
- In one issue of "Spidey Super Stories", Peter goes to a Halloween party in his actual costume, except with a Domino Mask instead of the real deal.
- 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 Masks 2 #1, The Shadow and The Green Hornet infiltrate a masquerade party wearing their usual costumes. Green Hornet notes that he has seen at least three other party-goers dressed as him.
- In one Archie Comics, Archie and Jughead are dressed as vampires and accidentally get invited to a party full of real monsters, who are celebrating because this is the one day of the year they can walk around normally.
- Unintentional example: In Hawkeye vs. Deadpool Kate Bishop meets◊ the latter for the first time on Halloween and compliments him on "The best Freddy Krueger make up I've ever seen" only to be flatly told by Clint that it's Deadpool's actual face. Kate merely smiles, shoots Deadpool a thumbs up and a happy Halloween, then turns around and silently screams at Clint.
- One storyline in the 80s Eagle strip "Doomlord" has Doomlord going to a costume party as...Doomlord. There are actually five Doomlords there and the organisers decide to have an impromptu Best Doomlord contest. He comes second.
- At the start of W.I.T.C.H. Cedric and Vathek infiltrate a Halloween party. Cedric, being a Shapeshifter, goes out in his human form, modified to make it look he's wearing a costume, but Vathek is openly showing his ogre-like looks and wearing his normal outfit... And wins the prize for the best costume.
- Later in the series, the girls go at a Halloween party in their Guardian forms.
- Literally every Costume Ball The Phantom has ever gone to.
- Calvin and Hobbes:
- The scariest example, no doubt:
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.
Hobbes: (affecting a "ferocious" look) Maybe I'll just go as myself!
- The scariest example, no doubt:
- 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. He hates being mistaken for an amphibian. At least iguanas are still reptiles.
- A Peanuts Sunday strip has Snoopy watching as costumed trick-or-treaters get candy from one house. After they've left, Snoopy goes up to the same house and kicks the front door, then grins and holds his paw out. In the final panel, he walks off munching candy as the unseen homeowners comment:
"Who was it this time, dear?"
"I couldn't tell... some little kid in a dog costume."
- 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.
- An old Charles Addams cartoon in The New Yorker depicts an Alien Invasion in progress, with one of the diminutive extraterrestrials being greeted by a homeowner and told, "I'm sorry, sonny. We've run out of candy."
- 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...
- Played with in the Harry Potter/Justice League of America crossover Terminal Justice, where the League come to believe that Harry, who's going under the alias "Mr. Black," is actually the Archangel Gabriel. When Harry later attends a League Halloween party while dressed as Gabriel, one of the members asks whether it's fair for him to attend as "himself."
- In Dream Journal of Harry J Potter, one of the chapters (all of which are supposed to be dreams Harry has) is a Halloween where Harry (and Lily) are dressed as Santa's elves, Sirius goes as Santa Claus, James 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.
- Can be found in a number of Miraculous Ladybug Halloween fics.
- One premise, originating in a tumblr post, involves Adrien being forced into a Chat Noir costume by Chloe, and Ladybug mistaking him for a transformed Chat Noir and dragging him into a fight without giving him the chance to transform. Fics using this premise include Chat Noir's Spooktacular Halloween, and The Bat's Out of the Bag (though it wasn't initially inspired by the above post). The two stories take notably different turns after Ladybug finds out he wasn't transformed: in the former, she cracks up laughing, especially when he tells her he was forced into it, only to panic later upon seeing Adrien in his now damaged costume; in the latter, she harshly calls out Adrien in private for his supposed recklessness, only to get a similarly harsh rebuttal from him about how she has no idea what his life is like, which reduces her to tears and forces him to follow her home to apologise.
- A Treat Sweeter Than Candy has Ladybug and Chat Noir spending Halloween together transformed while posing as cosplayers to anyone who asks. This somehow results in Alya and Nino immediately recognising them as Marinette and Adrien despite having fallen for their Clark Kenting dozens of times before.
- In the Halloween Episode of The New Adventures of Invader Zim, Norlock points out that he and the Irkens can do this, since the humans are so oblivious they wouldn't be able to tell that they're real. It works.
- In Arcadia or Bust, as Claire and Jim find him new clothes to wear (Jim having finally removed his armor), he and Claire are confused for conventioneers at a Horror Convention in the town nearby. They join the costume contest there and win enough prize money to buy a night in a hotel and a used pick-up truck to transport the Heartstone faster.
- In the Action Prologue of Teen Titans: The Call of Blood, Helena Wayne wears what is described as Robin-themed Elegant Gothic Lolita to a party.
- In Only off by a Little Harry's Muggle adoptive father invites Amelia Bones to a Halloween costume party at his place of employment, the theme of which happens to be magic in general.
- In Nathaniel and Marc, Gabriel Agreste attends a costume convention dressed up as his Alter Ego, Hawkmoth.
- In the Triptych Continuum story "For Nightmare Night We Are Going As Ourselves", the Mane Six are stranded until morning after a mission in a faraway town, with little money and no food. Upon discovering a high-class Nightmare Night masquerade party, Rarity has them crash the party by pretending to be themselves (with Twilight pretending to be a pegasus pretending to be her). Plenty of Your Costume Needs Work ensues, along with disturbing revelations about what several non-Ponyville ponies think they know about the Mane Six, mostly courtesy of tabloids.
- In Dust Shalt Thou Eat, Crowley needs to enter a church (where the sacred ground will burn his feet) while looking like himself (a demon with snake eyes and big black wings). He waits for Hallowe'en, dresses up in drag and giant platform boots, and gets a lot of compliments.
- Inverted in Frozen Hearts (Finmonster). Wreck-It Ralph is attending a Halloween party where he meets Sully, the CEO of Monsters, Inc.. Sully is attending as Richard Nixon, because, as he points out to Ralph, "I have to be a monster all year long, might as well be something different for Halloween."
- In the TMNT movie, Michelangelo passes himself off as a ninja turtle impersonator by donning a large fake looking turtle head, and sticking a fake zipper onto his chest. No-one seems to take notice.
- In Batman and Harley Quinn, Harley has been spending her parole working at a diner where the waitresses wear sexy versions of superheroine/supervillainess costumes. While she likes that it keeps her out of sight from the heroes, she's mostly pissed that it's the only job she can get due to her reputation.
- Quasimodo gets to enjoy the Feast of Fools in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame... up until the "unmasking". What comes after that is a Hope Spot and then down, down, down, downhill.
- In The Idle Class, Charlie Chaplin plays both The Tramp and a wealthy man staying at a resort. On the night of the Masquerade Ball, the rich man gets the visor of his suit of armor stuck. The Tramp then wanders into the masquerade ball and is taken to be the rich man disguised as a tramp.
- Similarly, in Love Me Tonight, Maurice is a poor tailor who is believed by the local Blue Bloods to be royalty traveling incognito. For a Masquerade Ball, he wears his everyday casual suit, turtleneck, and flat cap.
- In The Addams Family movie, Wednesday declares that she is going dressed in her normal clothes as "a homicidal maniac" stating "They Look Just Like Everyone Else!."
- The fourth Scary Movie has an alien (based on the "Billy" puppet from the Saw franchise) who met his girlfriend at Mardi Gras, and defended his being there by saying that he "blended in."
- Agent Myers covers for Hellboy and Sammael this way in The Movie. "Great costumes, huh?"
- Inverted in 1992's Batman Returns, in which Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle come to Schreck's costume ball, as themselves (no costume). Despite this they accidentally revealed their secret identities to each other. In their minds, "Batman" and "Catwoman" are their true identities, with "Bruce Wayne" and "Selina Kyle" being the real costumes.
Schrek: Bruce Wayne!?! What are you doing, dressed as Batman?Catwoman/Selena Kyle: Because he is Batman, you moron!
- Schrek accuses Bruce of coming dressed as a "trust-fund goodie-goodie." Later, when Bruce reveals himself to Selena, Schrek sees him and exclaims:
- In the sci-fi comedy Spaced Invaders, the titular Martians land in a small farming town on Halloween and are mistaken by most people for kids in costumes.
- In Idle Hands two undead teens turn up to the school dance — one of them with the murder weapon still embedded in his skull. When asked who made their costumes, they give the name of their killer.
- In Zorro, the Gay Blade, Don Diego attends a Masquerade Ball in his Zorro costume. At first the Aldante thinks he's caught Zorro, but then all the Dons (and later all the men invited to the party at all) show up in Zorro costumes, insisting they got a message from him telling them to do so.
- In flashback, the protagonist of the Anonymous Rex TV movie recalls trying this as a kid, only to be dragged home by his father because his "amazingly realistic Velociraptor costume" drew too much attention.
- In Hocus Pocus all the action takes place on Halloween. Therefore, the three witches are hardly out of place and move about the town freely. They even become the center of attention as the "entertainment" at the town's big costume party.
- Slightly parodied in the Transformers movie when Sam is trying to find his Grandfather's glasses and the Autobots are walking around in the back yard. He tells the anxious robots to wait for him and stay low. A minute later he turns around and the Autobots have turned into their incognito alternate modes... parked in the back yard. Obviously they don't blend.
Sam: THIS IS NOT A TRUCK STOP!
- Used hilariously illogically in The Neverending Story 3. Somehow, it's the first day of school, Chinese New Year, and Halloween all at the same time. The only reason why any of this happens is because the latter two events allow the fantastic characters to be out in the open.
- The opening of the film version of American Splendor features this, as young Harvey Pekar is shown trick-or-treating as himself (he didn't believe in pretending to be something else). He doesn't get any candy.
- The main character of Once Bitten doesn't realize that he's turning into a vampire and subconsciously dressing the part. When he attends a Halloween dance party, people guess by his choice of clothes that he's in a vampire costume, which confuses him.
- In Twin Falls Idaho, a girl convinces a pair of conjoined twins to attend a Halloween party as "Siamese twins." Everyone at the party assumes that it's just a costume.
- Spidey managed to play this off on an ordinary day in Spider-Man 2, 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 it's 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 House on Bare Mountain, Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and Krakow the Wolf Man all enter the costume party and everyone assumes they are guests in costume.
- The Field Guide to Evil: In "What Ever Happened to Paganus the Pagan?", the goblin attempts to mingle with drunken revelers who are dressed in pagan costumes of animal skins and horns. His masquerade does not last long.
- 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 dies.
- Discussed in The Cloak Society, when the main characters, a group of Kid Sidekicks and reformed supervillains, wear Halloween costumes while going on a mission.
Kyle: But you just get to wear that Domino Mask? That's not even a costume.
Alex: Yes it is. I'm a bank robber.
Kyle: When I met you, you were robbing a bank. That's not a costume.
- For added humor, Kirbie is wearing a werewolf mask.
- In one of the early 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.
Death: 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 one of the early 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.
- 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 Gardens of the Moon, the first book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, many people in the streets of Darujhistan are impressed by the great Tiste Andii 'costume' Anomander Rake is wearing for Lady Simtal's party. The laquered dragon mask also turns out to be more of an injoke than a disguise, since he can turn into one. Alchemist Baruk called it, too:
Anomander Rake: As I understand such things, the event includes the wearing of disguises. Do you fear I lack taste?Alchemist Baruk: I've no doubt your attire will be suitable. Particularly if you choose the costume of a Tiste Andii warlord.
- Used in some Forgotten Realms novels:
Fyodor: You wish to join the festival, and slip into the city among the others... But what about your disguise?
- 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"):
Liriel Baenre: I'm a drow, of course. It's quite an exotic costume. And authentic, too!
- In Ed Greenwood's Ladies Night at the Yawning Portal:
- 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.)
- 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. He comes in second in the party's costume contest, which really upsets him.
- 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."
- Mercedes Lackey:
- Invoked and averted in the Diana Tregarde 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 (1960s) 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.
- Toyed with in the Valdemar novel Oathbreakers. Lady Kethryveris of house Pheregrul rides into the capital of Rethwellan with a string of high-quality mounts for sale, obtained through her oath-sisterhood with Shin'a'in chieftain Tarma shena Tale'sedrin. While the preceding was completely true the two left out a few details (not least of which were the facts that House Pheregrul had been on hard times for decades and clan Tale'sedrin had exactly two members, counting Tarma's oathsister).
- 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 Callahan's 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.
- The Dresden Files:
- Played with when wizard Harry Dresden goes to the Vampire's Masquerade Ball... dressed as a vampire. He is being deliberately insulting, and so dresses as the most cliche Dracula stereotype he can come up with; caked on white face paint, giant cape with a tall collar, fake blood around his mouth, the works.
Harry: Not only that, but a cheesy vampire.
- Played straight with his friend Michael, Knight of the Cross, who went dressed as a Knight Templar to the same party. The vampires thought it was a costume until one made the mistake of touching him and got burned.
- Played with when wizard Harry Dresden goes to the Vampire's Masquerade Ball... dressed as a vampire. He is being deliberately insulting, and so dresses as the most cliche Dracula stereotype he can come up with; caked on white face paint, giant cape with a tall collar, fake blood around his mouth, the works.
- 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 lets everyone assume the result is an incredibly good costume.
- In The Moon Maze Game, teenage Prince Ali of Kikaya participates in the titular LARP in the role of ... a young prince of Kikaya.
- Used twice in the eighth novel of Wearing the Cape, specifically in the story crossover with Grrl Power. The straightest version is when Sydney (aka The Mighty Halo), main protagonist of the webcomic swaps her real gear for toy versions and a metal ring that appears to hold her orbs (which normally float above her head in a circle when not in use), to look like a Halo cosplayer while scoping the dealers room of a convention her team is attending. The second time is when Astra, main protagonist from the novels, arrives in Sydney's reality while in costume... where her and her team and their exploits are the subject of a superhero television show and she presumed to be someone cosplaying as the character at the same convention.
- The Further Adventures of Batman: In "Wise Men Of Gotham", Bruce Wayne is at a costume ball and disguised as Batman (admittedly looking shabby due to his recent late-night activities), along with about three other people who are also pretending to be Batman.
- The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross. The elf spy who's trying to Honey Trap Laundry operative Alex Schwartz has to meet his parents, but worries they might be powerful sorcerers who can see past her glamor. So she gets some friends to organise a cosplay party afterwards and goes as Agent First of Spies and Liars, the first daughter of the Elven King. Fortunately the parents are quite mundane and far too distracted by Alex's sister marrying a transgender boy/girlfriend to pay much attention to Alex's Manic Pixie Dream Girlfriend. Alex though finally tumbles to what he should have noticed some time ago, glamor or not.
- In In Search Of Dorothy, the Scarecrow finds it easy to get around Earth due to Halloween making everyone think he's wearing a 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. As mentioned below, this is a humiliation in itself.
- 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.
- In Season 4, the Initiative walk around openly on Halloween in their soldier outfits. Buffy notices them and doesn't think much of it, until she encounters them later in the season.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- In the same episode, Bulk and Skull congratulate themselves on their "punk" costumes... which they don't seem to notice are made of their normal, everyday clothes.
- Also from that episode, the Monster of the Week (A Frankenstein's Monster, naturally). Including a hilarious bit where a lusty teenage girl drags it off to the dance floor.
- 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.
Hastings: 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.
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 (1978), 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.
- 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".
- In the iZombie pilot, Liv attends a neighborhood Halloween party as a zombie, but she does add some "flesh decay" makeup to her face, since most people are used to seeing her normal "extremely pale with white hair" appearance and just assume she's emo or goth.
- Ronald Reagan did this in a Halloween episode of Spitting Image, claiming there wasn't anything scarier than a senile old man in charge of nuclear weapons.
- Invoked in The Middle's seventh-season Halloween episode when Axl's friend suggests that the mysterious trick-or-treater in The Grim Reaper costume they keep seeing might actually be Death, since Halloween is the one night of the year Death could walk around like that without anyone thinking anything's amiss.
- Lucifer. When Maze takes Trixie out trick-or-treating, the latter expresses disappointment that she doesn't have a costume as well. So Maze tells her to turn around, then drops her glamor to reveal a half-decayed face. Trixie is delighted with the result, to Maze's visible relief.
- Downplayed in People of Earth, Dons a Human Alien but when hes out in public he tries to dress like a fairly normal human, at a UFO convention he wears the same outfit◊ as on the ship, like the other White alien cosplayers.
- On Legends of Tomorrow, the team travel to 1988 to help save a young Ray Palmer. At the conclusion, they show up in their full uniforms (including new member Zari in costume for the first time) to help the younger Ray trick or treating.
- All over the place in the first Halloween episode of Charmed (1998):
- Phoebe dresses as Elvira, Piper dresses as Glinda and Prue... smears glitter across her eyes. When they're accidentally transported back to Salem in the 1700s, the coven of Wiccans who summoned them is surprised that witches can move about freely in the future (which raises questions of why they associate a puffy pink dress and crown with witchcraft, but that's another matter). They're given contemporary clothing to blend in, which they wind up wearing to the Halloween party back in the present. So originally they'd dressed up as pop culture's version of witches, only to replace the costume with more accurate witch apparel, falling further in line with the trope.
- Darryl (a cop) and Leo (a whitelighter who died in World War II) both wear their "first uniforms" as their costumes. Leo's confuses Darryl, since he doesn't know all the family's secrets yet.
- Meanwhile, in one of the many instances of the show creating a rule that only applies this once, it's stated that Halloween is the one day a year that vanquished demons can come back to earth. The Grimlocks (the only demons who actually come back) aren't too concerned about hiding anymore (they're already dead, so screw The Masquerade), but no one notices them walking around because it's assumed they're just wearing costumes. The one kid who comments on it gets a Force-Choke for his effort (though, again, force choking is just what Grimlocks do).
- The Grimlocks themselves consider Belthazor to be wearing a "Cole" costume, which still qualifies, since he has a human form and demonic form he can switch between freely, so his Cole form is still him. No matter where you think he actually lies on the Good-Evil spectrum, his actual costume at the end is an aversion: he goes as an angel.
- One episode of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation had Mikey hosting an animal-themed rave, with guests supposed to show up in costume, allowing for this trope to happen. There was even a moment of Your Costume Needs Work.
- Último Dragón and Rey Mysterio Jr. at WCW Halloween Havoc 1997, the infamous event where the latter lost his mask to Eddie Guerrero.
- In 2014 World Wonder Ring STARDOM adopted Fukumen's Mask Fiesta but since STARDOM isn't a lucharesu promotion, it was moved from July to October to be held alongside their Halloween party. This had the side effect of what few masked luchadors were present for the former keeping their regular masks for the latter.
- Stephanie McMahon dressed as a witch for the 2002 Halloween Episode of WWE SmackDown, though wrestling fans saw it as this.
- 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 "The 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.
- Genji of Overwatch, ninja turned into a cyborg to save his life after his brother tried to kill him, has this to say on the subject:
My Halloween costume? Cyborg Ninja.
- The free RPG Maker game Trick & Treat is set at Halloween and features two girls dressed as a witch and a pumpkin maid. The former is an actual witch and the latter is a magically animated construct that the witch made from a pumpkin to use as her personal maid.
- In the Red vs. Blue 2008 Hallowe'en special, everyone dressed up as Caboose...including Caboose, who didn't know it was Hallowe'en.
- In the Smashtasm 2010 Halloween special, Super 64 tells H and Lamp:
- 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.
- Another episode has Strong Sad apparently entering a Strong Sad look-alike contest only for Coach Z to immediately disqualify him for that very reason. Turns out it was actually Homsar in an EXTREMELY detailed and lifelike costume.
- Averted with in this storyline of Bruno the Bandit: The monsters visit a party disguised as humans.
- Played with in Zebra Girl, where Sandra, a human trapped in a demon body, plans to go out undisguised on Halloween... until she suddenly finds herself back in her human form. Turns out demons become more powerful on Halloween, and she can thus change her appearance with illusions at will. She decides to go out as her human self, sans costume, because she probably won't get another chance to do it for another year.
- Abe & Kroenen take advantage of the local fan convention to walk around New York unhindered. Abe also suggests they do this when accepting trick-or-treaters to Kroenen's house—after Kroenen finally agrees to get into the spirit of things, he finds out Abe just wanted to use him and his horrifically mutilated face as decoration.
- Forcibly invoked (and subverted) in the webcomic Charliehorse when Preson suggests —in great detail— that Charlie the succubus take the opportunity to attend a Halloween party as herself. Turns out she'd rather go as Cinderella, instead.
- In Weregeek, the hardcore geeks are safe from the Hunters on Halloween... a truce has been established, because the risks are too high; the hunters can't tell "real" cosplayers from those dressing up for the occasion. Hiding one's costuming hobby in a costume holiday!
- Grace of El Goonish Shive apparently considered (off-continuity) the Halloween "costume" of a squirrel-girl with three tails and antennae. Also, Liz.
- Invoked in Misfile with Vashiel's brilliant idea to go as an angel. It's immediately shot down.
- As seen on their cast page, the creators of Casey and Andy once went to a Halloween party dressed as their webcomic selves.
- The title character in Terinu is a four and a half-foot tall alien with a seven foot long prehensile tail, gray skin and horns. He gets around because most humans assume he's a "moddie" with extensive plastic surgery and prosthetics, created for a sick weirdo's amusement. Squick
- In A Magical Roommate, Alexis and X always dressed as witches for Halloween. But after they ended up sprouting fairy wings on their 21st birthday, X's roommate Aylia suggested that they go as human-sized black fairies instead. X loved this idea, as the costume required zero effort on her part (In fact, it took less effort than her usual outfits, as she didn't have to conceal her wings).
- In Goblin Hollow, the goblins come out at Halloween. It's covered.
- In an It's Walky! Halloween strip, Joyce (dressed as a harlequin) chaticises Jason for not having his costume ready. He replies he's going as James Bond.
- In an early Dragon City comic, bipedal dragon Erin Parrity goes trick-or-treating with some humans. Bonus points for not only not wearing a costume, but also not wearing anything at all.
Human kid: Oh wow! That's a neat costume!Erin: Thanks. My parents helped me make it.
- In Welcome to Chastity Mei goes to Rayya with strong evidence that their roommate, Gwen, might be a witch, Rayya tells Mei she's being ridiculous, only for Gwen to barge into room wearing a stereotypical witch outfit for the college Halloween party.
- In the The Whiteboard Halloween party storyline in 2003, there's a Cameo by Kevyn Andreyasn, who's wearing his normal outfit from his "home" comic. He explains it as coming dressed as a clone of himself.
- Maggot Boy takes place in one of the safe cities after a Zombie Apocalypse. Davey and Chainey, two highly anomalous zombies who retained their personalities and are living undercover in the city, try trick-or-treating as zombies, with a bit of scotch tape on their faces to make their stitch marks look fake. It falls flat due to being way too soon.
- In Avialae, Gannet sees a Halloween party as a chance to not have to hide the wings he began unexpectedly growing for once by dressing up as an angel with "fake" wings.
- Alluded to in this strip of A Softer World.
- Inverted in the Halloween arc of Erma when the titular Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl decides to dress up like a normal elementary schooler while her friends go in costume. No one takes her seriously and she gets next to no candy until her friends encourage her to play the trope straight, which she does quite well.
- 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.
- It's also specifically mentioned that for aspiring superheroes or supervillains, going to the school Halloween party as 'my future super identity' is considered gauche.
- 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...
- One of the many Halloween celebrations at Kakos Industries featured a Halloween party with a demon theme. They even gave out a cool prize for the best costume. Then they gave it to someone who was actually wearing a costume. Corin apologizes to Balthazaar, but notes "you know how you look."
- 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!"
- In Adventures of the 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.
- 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.
- The titular character of Atomic Betty wears her Galactic Guardian uniform for Halloween in the episode "When Worlds Collide".
- The Batman's "Grundy's Night" sees Batman, pursuing Clayface posing as Solomon Grundy, and runs into a partygoer who mistakes him for another partygoer. Bruce just rolls with it and asks where his "friend" is.
- Inversion: The Bugs Bunny cartoon "Hasty Hare" has Bugs coming across Marvin the Martian and K-9 and believing it to be Halloween. He gives them both trick-or-treat candy. (Whether or not it was Halloween is not relevant.)
- 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.
- Darkwing Duck:
- Darkwing once goes to a masquerade ball in his costume, and is frustrated by everyone telling him he couldn't pull it off. "The real Darkwing Duck is taller..."
- His rival Gizmoduck once attends a ceremony in his honor, full of fans in homemade gizmo suits... all of whom thought he is 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 spends a good amount of time agonizing over what costume to wear to a party, before announcing he is going as "a flying ace!" Darkwing starts to point out that that is the same outfit Launchpad always wears, but quickly gives up.
- The Fairly OddParents:
- Cosmo and Wanda pull this off in one of the Oh Yeah! Cartoons, where they go to a costume party at Vicky's school. They even win second place for their costume, even though both are far too short to be high school students.
- They later go undisguised to a comic book convention, saying that no-one would notice they were fairies, and would just assume that they are big-headed kids in costume.
- Mark goes to Trixie's costume party as himself with some encouragement from Timmy. Timmy's fairies do this again at the same party.
- The Gargoyles love Halloween for just this reason. The younger gargoyles, getting into the spirit of the holiday, wear actual costumes (such as a pirate outfit) and are complimented on wearing "a costume over a costume". Goliath, meanwhile, goes out as himself with Elisa (who goes as Belle, both as a Shout-Out, and because their relationship is also Beast and Beauty). Apparently the fact that he's 6'10" passes unremarked upon as part of his "costume".
- When another Halloween comes around again in the comic book continuation, Elisa keeps a theme by being Princess Jasmine and Goliath once again doesn't bother. Neither does Delilah, who, not knowing better, explains what she really is when asked; "dressing up" as a DNA mashup of both Goliath's ex and Elisa, his current love interest causes quite the awkward moment.
- 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.
- 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.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- While he isn't trying to hide his identity from anyone, Spike the purple dragon preforms a literal interpretation of this trope as his Nightmare Night costume is... a purple dragon.
- Princess Luna, whose Superpowered Evil Side was the inspiration for Nightmare Night, Averts this when she visits Ponyville, as her 1000-year banishment made her unfamiliar with the custom of dressing as demons and monsters for the holiday.
- Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: In the episode "Dawn of The Driscoll", Ninja!Randy manages to quietly sneak into McFist's house because the former assumed that he was just another trick-or-treating kid in a ninja costume.
McFist: Another ninja costume? How original.
- In The Spectacular Spider Man, 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.
- In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Spidey is fighting the Sinister Six with his powers working inconsistently. He manages to convince Rhino that he is actually the Chameleon, and redirects The Brute to attack a distant shadow that is actually his teammate Shocker.
- The short-lived The Adventures of the Spider-Man features an episode where Peter has no way of getting home without his identity being revealed (his head piece is gone but he still has his main suit on). He then gets spotted by a crowd of people who all shout out: "great costume man!". Conveniently it is Independence day and a huge fancy costume party is being held in the Star Junction, so Peter just blends right in to the crowds.
- The Simpsons:
- Inverted in "Treehouse of Horror XX", 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 original 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.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons:
- Used by the turtles in an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), 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).
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): It is revealed in All Hallows Thieves 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.
- Transformers cartoons:
- 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.
- However, in the first-generation cartoon they did exactly that. In "Auto-Bop", when Tracks and Blaster are investigating a trendy New York nightclub, a patron is very impressed with their "outfits".
Clubgoer: Hey! Where'd you get those threads? SoHo?
Clubgoer: What's the address?
- 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.
- Steve Irwin did this in the South Park episode "Hell On Earth 2006". At first, he was called out on being disrespectful because he had a stingray in his chest. However, when he confirms the's the real Steve Irwin, he gets kicked out for not wearing an actual costume.
- 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.
- The cartoon adaptation of W.I.T.C.H. tops the comic: the girls move around the city in the Guardian outfits, Nerissa doing the same, Phobos going around in his evil prince outfit, Matt turning into Shagon, and Cedric and Miranda going out in his slippery dippery long mover-man and giant spider forms respectively. and the only attention he drawed was on how he filled the tail of his costume. The only attention they get are Cornelia's mother glancing at Hay Lin's 'endowments' and commenting "I didn't know Halloween costumes came with that kind of padding." and people wondering how many guys are inside Cedric's costume. Then they start battling, and everyone mistakes it for a show.
- 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.
- The ending of the Sofia the First episode "Ghostly Gala" has Sofia share her Halloween party space with Sir Dax and the other ghosts, and everyone thinks they're animatronics.
- A later Halloween episode has Lucinda's witch friend Indigo go dressed as a witch, in a slight variation of her default outfit. Though, considering witches are more of a social class of magic users than a secret in this world, she might have been dressed as another in-universe witch (like how a person dressing up as Albert Einstein could be classified as "a person dressing up as a person"), but it never specifies.
- 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.
- In DC Showcase: Catwoman, Catwoman briefly pretends to be an exotic dancer in a Catwoman costume in order to get closer to Rough Cut.
- In Filmation's Batman animated series, the Scarecrow did this at the Halloween charity auction, hoping everyone would mistake him for the disguised Commissioner Gordon.
- An episode of Beetlejuice has B.J. permitted by Lydia to be seen in our world as a reveler as it's Halloween.
- In the episode "Quintuplets" of the 2010 version of Pound Puppies, Lucky, his team, and the adoptees were able to get into a Poughkeepsie Pups basketball game by he, Cookie, and Niblet dressing in human clothing and buying tickets. Lucky's team used the same tactic to get into an actual Halloween party in another first-season episode, "Nightmare On Pound Street".
- Shimmer and Shine: Shimmer and Shine pass themselves as kids wearing genie costumes during a Halloween Episode.
- Super Noobs: The Halloween episode "Happy Noob-O-Ween" has aliens Memnock and Zenblock try to learn about Halloween by going trick or treating in their true alien forms and no costumes although some of their neighbors mistake their forms for costumes. Both Mem and Zen end up getting more than what they bargained for in terms of more than just candy through their alien identities and use of their battle balls.
- The Venture Bros.:
- In "Love-Bheits", the trope was exploited off-camera when the Impossible family won a Best Group Costume award as the Fantastic Four. Since the Impossibles don't appear in the episode, it's a Continuity Lockout joke if you haven't seen enough of the show to know that they are in fact a direct parody of the Fantastic Four.
- An inversion is discussed in "A Very Venture Halloween". Since Dr. Orpheus is almost never seen without his Ominous Opera Cape and Mystical High Collar even in mixed company, wiseguy Dermott joked that on Halloween he expected to see Orpheus in sweatpants.
- In the Halloween special of Ready Jet Go!, Jet, a humanoid alien, dresses up as a stereotypical alien. And as a bonus, he easily gets away with telling people he is from Bortron 7.
- PJ Masks
- In the episode "Halloween Tricksters", both heroes and villains go trick or treating in their usual outfits, and everyone thinks they are just wearing costumes. Still, the heroes still have to be careful not to use their powers in front of others.
- In the episode "PJ Party Crashers", Amaya holds a Slumber Party but knows Luna Girl is planning to ruin it, so she makes it a costumed party so she can attend as Owlette without raising suspicion (again, as long as she makes sure her guests don't see her using her powers).
- 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 The 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.
- San Diego ComicCon is unsurprisingly a place where this has happened a number of times. Given that many of the convention's more popular celebrity guests walk around wearing masks or costumes that obscure their faces in order to move around relatively undisturbed by fans, it's inevitable that some would dress as themselves.
- In 2011, Andrew Garfield wore a very cheap Spider-Man costume to the panel for his own Spider-Man movie and stood at the microphone for audience questions.
- Bryan Cranston attended wearing a Walter White mask in 2013
- Tom Hiddleston wore his Loki costume on stage to the Thor: The Dark World panel in 2013, although that may not have been a disguise so much as a publicity stunt for the panel.
- Hugh Jackman wore his Wolverine costume around for part of the convention in 2013. Despite the fact that he was probably the third celebrity to do this exact thing in as many days, the only reaction he got to the costume was a fan telling him that although the costume was good, he was "too tall" to convincingly cosplay the character.
- 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.
- Many celebrities like to go to Madame Tussauds and pretend to be the wax figures of themselves as a Practical Joke.
- In a gag related to Clark Kenting, Henry Cavill wandered around New York Times Square with massive posters advertising Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with his face on them, wearing a Superman outfit, and no one recognized him. The only person who addressed him was a shop employee asking him not to film there.
- Some Wiccans and other Neopagans who cannot practice openly due to community prejudice may wear stereotypical witch costumes on Halloween just for the subversive thrill of being recognized as a witch without the backlash they would normally face.
- Monica Lewinsky was invited to a 90's-themed costume party years after the scandal. She was reluctant at first (for obvious reasons), but eventually decided to go with it and just came wearing a beret.