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, that is, for one glorious day each year: Halloween. On this singular day, they can walk around openly 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 possibly some candy. 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 superhero in their civilian identity but still wearing their actual costume.
- Inverted in Ayakashi Triangle: Garaku gets Matsuri, a human, to blend in inside a hidden ayakashi village with a yukata and a fox mask. The fox mask conceals human spiritual presence, so ayakashi assume Matsuri is a kitsune disguised as a pretty girl.
- If Takato from Digimon Tamers isn't hiding him in a box, he's trying to pass Guilmon for a guy in a costume.
- In Digimon Adventure several members of Myostismon's group walk around in broad daylight. Wizardmon pretends to be a street magician (a three-foot tall magician...); Pumpkinmon and Gotsumon were assumed to be kids in costumes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Love After World Domination: Fudo and Desumi are trying to get their picture taken together at the school festival but circumstances keep preventing it because Fudo is famous and Desumi is having trouble with another of the members of Gekko. Finally, they use their Transformation Trinkets to become Gelado Red and Reaper Princess and pretend to just be a couple of cosplayers. Since they're supposedly mortal enemies, the crowd is simply impressed by the ship.
- Magic Kaito: Kaito dresses up as his Phantom Thief alter ego, Kaitou KID, for the skiing costume contest.
- 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. Tohru herself is just known as the "cosplay lady" at the shopping district.
- 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 Our Home's Fox Deity it's first lampshaded by the older of the recurring fox brothers by him commenting how advanced makeup is those days. It is then averted when a passerby sees him and runs away screaming MONSTER.
- 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 he'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 for a while afterwards, revealing his condition to the entire school (not that anyone cared; in the anime they somehow don't put the pieces together until a much later episode).
- In Soul Eater Not!, both Shaula Gorgon and Kim Diehl are witches who dress up in stereotypical witch costumes for Halloween.
- 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.
- Subverted in Suite Pretty Cure ♪ where Ellen and Ako actually wear costumes on Halloween. Ellen, who is actually a cat stuck in a human body, wears a cat costume. And Ako, who is the princess of Major Land, wears a princess costume.
- In Gabriel DropOut, the fallen angel Gabriel attempts to do this by wearing her angelical clothes, but Vigne and Raphiel stop her from doing it and force Gabriel into wearing a cute werecat costume.
- 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.
- 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.
- Batgirl: In both of her origins -Detective Comics #359 and Batgirl Year One-, 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- One story opens with what appears to be The Riddler unmasking Batman as Bruce Wayne to the entirety of his Rogues Gallery, only to reveal that Bruce was dressed as Zorro at a costume party he was holding and the Riddler who went as himself (during a stint as a private detective) just figured out who he was and the supervillains are really just costumed partygoers.
- 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?"
- The second Confessions Of A Teenage Vampire graphic novel had the eponymous teenage vampire, Lily Jordan, throw a Halloween costume party. Not surprisingly, she attends as a vampire. This volume also introduces us to the werewolf Talbot who attends the party as a werewolf.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- In an issue of Harley Quinn, Harley shows up at 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 suspicious regardless. 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- PS238: During the "Crisis In Alternate-Omaha" arc, when the kids find themselves in a universe that has no superhumans, they pretend that their superhero outfits are for a costume party when they're stopped by police (while Julie 84 pretends to be an incredibly realistic helium balloon by tieing a string to her belt).
- In Robin (1993), 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).
- 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 C.A.T.s (WildStorm).
- Played with in The Simping Detective. Jack attends a "hate party" where all the local mob dress as various characters 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Spider-Man: Hey! I'm Spider-Man, right? Tell the guy I'm Spider-Man!
Waiter: (calling back) Yeah, yeah, you're Spider-Man. And I'm Dorothy. Just a minute, while I get my red freaking shoes on...
- 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 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 Starfire's Revenge, 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 blend into the crowd and capture the robbers.
- A 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 an 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..."
- Played with in The Girl with the X-Ray Mind. Linda Danvers wants to attend a fancy-dress ball, but her mother hints that she should NOT go as Supergirl because she would be foolishly drawing attention to herself. Her friend Lena Thorul goes as Supergirl, though, and when she is mistakenly credited with subduing a gang of bank robbers crashing the party, Linda's boyfriend Dick Malverne believes Lena is Supergirl and was hiding in plain sight.
Dick Malverne: Clever of her to pretend her Supergirl outfit is only a hired costume!
- 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.
- 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 like 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 to a Halloween party in their Guardian forms.
- 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."
- 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."
- Subverted in another strip (1955/10/30). Snoopy smiles as several kids in scary masks walk by. Then along comes Charlie Brown without a mask and Snoopy runs away screaming.
- 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.
- Literally every Costume Ball The Phantom has ever gone to. The number of times he's shown up in "uniform", you'd think the bad guys would learn to ban that costume specifically.
- 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 Avengers: Infinite Wars, after the Avengers introduce Halloween to the galaxy, Palpatine dresses up in his Sith robes as part of the celebration, even if he avoids interacting with the Jedi for obvious reasons.
- In the Supernatural AU fic Cinderwings, the angels need to obtain a tablet from the Winchesters' castle to free themselves from the void they've been trapped in for centuries, but they can't hide their wings and they're afraid of what will happen if humans discover their existence, so they take advantage of a Masquerade Ball being held at the castle to send in Castiel to steal the tablet during the ball as he's the only one of them who can keep his wings immobile long enough to pass them off as just part of his costume.
- In Chapter 30 of the Negima! Magister Negi Magi 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 that the author had seen Your Costume Needs Work too much.
- For the Glory of Irk: Every year on Halloween, Captain Rose just ditches her disguise and walks around in her normal Tangean form, which people keep mistaking for an elf costume. All the Irkens who arrive on Earth to support the exiled Tallest do the same.
- 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 Kimberly T's Gargoyles, after the gargoyles are exposed as real, Xanatos spends a considerable amount of money to create a wide range of authentic-looking gargoyle costumes for Halloween. This has the obvious advantage of allowing the clan to go out in public so long as they paint 'seam lines' on themselves (and Brooklyn only has drinks with straws as his beak would be too obviously real), and Xanatos also creates subtle 'flaws' in the costumes compared to real gargoyles so that the Quarrymens' attempt to frame the gargoyles for assault is swiftly exposed as fake.
- 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 Nathaniel and Marc, Gabriel Agreste attends a costume convention dressed up as his alter ego, Hawkmoth.
- 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 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.
- In One Dracken, Two Dracken, Red Dracken, Blue Dracken Harry's cousin Dudley invites him and his five husbands to a Halloween party. They all just put on a nice robe and tuck their wands in their pockets.
- 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.
- Past Sins: 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...
- In the Bleach Fanfic 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.
- 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 19 of Gamma Cavy's paired set of stories, Bond Snapshots Satoshi and Bond Snapshots which 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 Shining Knight Under Duress a potions accident resulted in Snape being turned into a vampire, while Hermione became part-basilisk and Harry and Luna part-deer. An adult Hermione is enthusiastic about Halloween because it's the one day of the year when their children don't have to wear a glamour in public.
- In Silent Conversations Hermione's parents host a Muggle Halloween party and Harry's "costume" is his wand and one of his work robes.
- 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.
- Played with in 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 he 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 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 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 of the heroes, she's mostly pissed that it's the only job she can get due to her extensive criminal record.
- Catwoman: Hunted: To infiltrate Minerva's party, Selina disguises herself with her Bronze Age Catwoman costume.
- 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 this manner, alligator Louis in Disney's The Princess and the Frog gets to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing jazz to a captive audience, as people at Mardi Gras think he's in costume.
- 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 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 accuses Bruce of coming dressed as a "trust-fund goodie-goodie." Later, when Bruce reveals himself to Selena, Schrek sees him and, briefly bemused, asks:
Schrek: Bruce Wayne...why're you dressed up like 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, briefly bemused, asks:
- 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.
- Gooby: Willy can't bring Gooby in public due to him being a big talking bear, but on Halloween he basically blends right in, making it the only time he can go out in public.
- Agent Myers covers for Hellboy and Sammael this way in The Movie. "Great costumes, huh?"
- 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. The Witches themselves are at first confused by the whole thing (they get scared when a girl dressed as an angel "blesses" them, and mistake a man dressed as Satan for the real deal), but once they realize its all a big costumed party, they make great use of this trope to put their plan in motion without anyone besides the protagonists opposing them.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Used hilariously illogically in The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia. 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 that the latter two events allow the fantastic characters to be out in the open.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- Tales of Halloween: In "The Night Billy Raised Hell", Mr. Abaddon is a horned demon. On Halloween night, he strolls the streets with his horns out, with everyone assuming that he is in costume.
- Slightly parodied in the Transformers movie when Sam is trying to find his Grandfather's glasses and the Autobots are walking around in the backyard. 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 backyard. Obviously they don't blend.
Sam: THIS IS NOT A TRUCK STOP!
- 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.
- 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 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 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 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.
- 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.
- 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, oversized ears).
- 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.
- 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 VERY 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. It also turns out that Mrs. Proust is not wearing one of the stereotyped Wicked Witch masks she sells ... she was the model for them.
- 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 the 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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 in-joke 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.
- 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 Halloween Romance, the two main characters meet while they are both doing this.
- 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 In Search of Dorothy, the Scarecrow finds it easy to get around Earth due to Halloween making everyone think he's wearing a costume.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Junie B., First Grader: BOO... and I MEAN It!, Junie B. is scared of Halloween because of five secrets that Paulie Allen Puffer told her and said that she mustn't tell anyone else or her head will turn into a wart. The first of these is that real monsters and witches go trick or treating on Halloween, but don't wear costumes because everybody thinks they're already dressed up. "BUT THEY'RE NOT. THEY ARE WEARING THEIR REAL ACTUAL FACE AND CLOTHES!"
- The fictional play The King in Yellow features this scene. (The excerpt is found in "The Mask" by Robert W. Chambers.)
- 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).
- Similarly in Exile's Valor, Herald Myste Willinger managed to infiltrate the outside bit of a conspiracy using her own face, name, and pre-Choosing skillset because; as the Haven-reared frumpy nearsighted clerk convinced her new Companion to let her give notice and take her up the hill via side streets after dark, none of her prior acquaintances (including the co-conspirator who spotted her) knew she was a Herald and all she needed was a plausible excuse for having dropped out of sight.
Alberich: "Where else, but for the Army working? At least until the Wars ended."
- 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.
- In the first Monster High YA novel, Frankie rallies her friends to flaunt their true natures at the Halloween dance to rebel against the Masquerade, and simultaneously impress Brett, the movie monster fanboy she's crushing on. It goes to hell when she and Brett are making out and he fiddles with Frankie's neck stitches, causing her head to fall off.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 she and her team and their exploits are the subject of a superhero television show and she is presumed to be someone cosplaying as the character at the same convention.
- 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."
- ALF did this one, too, with a zipper attached to his fur. It still left guests wondering about his height, though.
- 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. In Angel a 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, which is a humiliation in itself.
- Lorne often pretends he's wearing a costume to deal with people's reactions to his green-skin & red horns. When he got a job as a singer in Vegas, all the dancing girls (The Lornettes) wore green makeup & red horns to match. Incidentally, we also learn that only one member of the Blue Man Group actually wears makeup. There's also the episode where Lorne 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.
- In Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In one Halloween episode of Criminal Minds, JJ's son Henry doesn't want to go trick or treating because one of his friends told him it's the only day real monsters can go out and blend in. JJ convinces him to go as his favorite profiler (Reid) so he can figure out which monsters are real and which are faking.
Rossi: I never thought of that. Good monster logic.
- Averted in another Halloween episode. The unsub was severely burned years ago, leaving his face horribly scarred. He enacts his revenge during Detroit's three-day pre-Halloween Devil's Night celebrations, but it has nothing to do with being able to move freely. He lives a normal life and holds down a job the rest of the year, and while a witness assumes he's wearing a mask, he's still easily identified as being out of place and stalking one of his victims. He chose the holiday because it's the anniversary of his own disfigurement and because the mischief that generally ensues provides cover for his own activities: he kills by burning his victims alive in abandoned buildings, and Devil's Night has a history of vandalism and arson, which enabled him to get away with it for years before the police recognized the pattern.
- 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.
- Doctor Who episode "The Halloween Apocalypse" has an alien called Karvanista, a member of the dog-like Lupari species, arrive on Earth with the intention of abducting Dan Lewis... but because he arrives on Halloween, Dan treats him like a man in a dog costume and refuses to take the threat of abduction seriously. After he completes his mission, Karvanista transmits data on the Halloween festival to the rest of his fleet, thinking they can use it to hide in plain sight amongst humanity.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- Dicky in Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn went as himself to the school's Halloween Dance in "Scaredy Dance".
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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".
- This Saturday Night Live sketch has the Clintons holding a costume party for Halloween and all of the attendees are notable Democrats. One person attends wearing a Barack Obama mask. At the end, the attendees all remove their masks and the man wearing the Obama mask turns out to actually be Barack Obama. (Not a cast member, the actual person.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
Johnny Gat: Hell yeah! Who doesn't want to be Johnny Gat?
- 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 a la 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.
- ToeJam & Earl Mission to Earth let the alien protagonists go up to houses and pretend to be trick or treaters to get a random item.
- The free RPG Maker game Trick & Treat is set on 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 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.
- Homestar Runner goes to a convention cosplaying as himself, which, in this case, means wearing 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.
- 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, Super64 tells H and Lamp:
Super64: I've decided to dress up as myself for Halloween this year, as a reminder to kids everywhere to always Be Yourself.
H: I hate you. I really do.
- The Legend Of Luo Xiao Hei has the heroes go to an anime convention. Diting, an Elfin with very noticable horns and differently colored skin, is able to pass just fine there and gets quite a few positive comments. He later admits that he goes to anime conventions every year when he's able since it allows him to have a relatively peaceful experience in the human world and it's one of the very few places where he can appear as himself.
- 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.
- 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.
- Averted with in this storyline of Bruno the Bandit: The monsters visit a party disguised as humans.
- As seen on their cast page, the creators of Casey and Andy once went to a Halloween party dressed as their webcomic selves.
- 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.
- One Cyanide and Happiness strip has a character react in fear to the Purple-Shirted Eye Stabber (a recurring character who's Exactly What It Says on the Tin). The man laughs and assures him it's a costume. The last panel shows him pulling up his purple shirt to reveal an identical purple shirt underneath and brandishing his knife, indicating he's the real thing after all.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Jaegermonsters in Girl Genius take advantage of the fact that people dressed as Jaegermonsters are popular entertainment on several occasions. Played with when Da Boyz accompany Lady Jenka to a costume party ... wearing obviously fake Jaeger heads.
- Grace of El Goonish Shive apparently considered (off-continuity) the Halloween "costume" of a squirrel-girl with three tails and antennae. Also, Liz.
- In an It's Walky! Halloween strip, Joyce (dressed as a harlequin) criticises Jason for not having his costume ready. He replies he's going as James Bond.
- 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 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).
- 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 Marvel's T.E.S.T. Kitchen series, the volunteers at the Halloween F.E.A.S.T. soup kitchen are all dressed up in superhero costumes. Peter Parker takes the opportunity to wear a black Spider-Man suit.
- 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 the room wearing a stereotypical witch outfit for the college Halloween party.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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. Then 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 Filmation's The Adventures of Batman animated series, the Scarecrow did this at the Halloween charity auction, hoping everyone would mistake him for the disguised Commissioner Gordon.
- 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.
- A subplot of an American Dad! has Hayley try to help Roger with his self-esteem in public, with disastrous results. She then learns about an upcoming sci-fi convention and takes Roger there, who's now happy due to not having to wear a disguise.
- American Dragon: Jake Long has the episode "The Halloween Bash". Jake trips and ends up in the street in his dragon form and people started yelling... Over how great his costume looked as Halloween was just getting started. This gives Jake the idea of throwing a party for both magical and non-magical beings.
- The titular character of Atomic Betty wears her Galactic Guardian uniform for Halloween in the episode "When Worlds Collide". Naturally, she ends up called to duty when a member of her Rogues Gallery just happens to be hiding on Earth.
- 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.
- An episode of Beetlejuice has B.J. permitted by Lydia to be seen in our world as a reveler as it's Halloween.
- 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.
- Carmen Sandiego:
- When they're in Rio for Carnival, La Chevre wears a goat costume (with a mask and additional frills not part of his usual outfit). He's repeatedly berated for disguising himself as himself, but he insists it isn't a disguise, just a costume. Averted by the others in the episode; most V.I.L.E. agents indeed wear their standard outfits, but none are passed off as a costume. Meanwhile, Shadow-san wears a crow disguise.
- Come a Halloween party in season 3, Tigress and Paper Star attend in their standard uniforms. Tigress scoffs that "at least a tiger's a thing," since Paper Star's outfit really doesn't resemble anything one could consider a costume. Once again averted by everyone else in the episode. Even Chase attends in a banana costume that earns him the ridicule of his team.
- Casper the Friendly Ghost once tried to hide his see-through body on Halloween by covering his whole body in a layer of white paint to look more like he was just wearing a ghost costume.
- 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.
- In DC Showcase: Catwoman, Catwoman briefly pretends to be an exotic dancer in a Catwoman costume in order to get closer to Rough Cut.
- Subverted in the DuckTales (2017) episode "The Trickening", where a bunch of stereotypical monsters all dress up as characters from more modern horror franchises because kids aren't afraid of the classics anymore. However, it's played straight at the end of the episode when they go to Scrooge's 24-hour candy store as themselves, with some of the kids even complimenting them on their "costumes".
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 performs 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.
- 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).
- 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".
- 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 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.
- Shimmer and Shine: Shimmer and Shine pass themselves as kids wearing genie costumes during a Halloween Episode.
- 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 chaos 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.
- 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 South Park episode "Hell On Earth 2006", Satan sees somebody dressed like Steve Irwin with a stingray barb in his chest at his Halloween party, and goes kicks him out for being insensitive, as Steve had only just died recently. When it turns out that he actually is the deceased Steve Irwin in Jacob Marley Apparel, Satan apologizes profusely for his mistake... and then kicks him out anyway for not wearing a costume.
- 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 headpiece 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.
- 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 Teacher's Pet Halloween Episode "Costume Pity Party" had Spot intend to wear a Ferdinand Magellan costume for the school's Halloween party, but his costume unravels after getting caught on a thorn bush, which results in him instead pretending that his human persona Scott Leadready II is wearing a dog costume for Halloween.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 drew 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 supporting character, Violet, dresses as the titular character in the Halloween-themed episode "Tobey's Tricks and Treats", and is mistaken as the superheroine by Tobey himself.
- In 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."
- In the Young Justice episode "True Heroes", Forager intends to go to the Happy Harbour Halloween party by dropping his Fred Bugg disguise. Cyborg, while not wanting to go at all, is apparently also going to pass his implants off as a costume. However a mission comes up, so they don't attend after all.
- 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.
- United States Senator John Lewis, who had been one of the "Big Six" activists of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, came to ComicCon in three consecutive years (2015-17) wearing the same coat and suit he wore during the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965. He even led a Civil Rights march at each convention.
- 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 '90s-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.
- Eri Akiyama, best known as Akira Amiyama in Kamen Rider Hibiki, attended Komiket (a noted Japanese convention) in 2019 cosplaying Akira Amiyama.