The only thing more embarrassing on Halloween than wetting yourself from fright has to be costume misidentification. You (and/or your mom) put so much thought, time, and effort into the perfect costume. You legitimately think it is the best costume in the world. But when you show up at the party, no one gets who you’re dressed up as.
From the other side, if you think you’ve got someone’s costume pegged and you’ve miscalculated, it can be not only embarrassing, but also downright dangerous. These Reddit users shared their most disastrous experiences surrounding mistaken costumes. From polite confusion to near violence, these 30 awkward Halloween costume guesses will make you pause before you try to guess someone’s costume!
1. Unsolved Mystery
I was at a party when a guy in glasses wearing nothing but cut-off jeans and green body paint walked by. Sort of like a green version of Tobias Funke in Blue Man Group paint. I stopped and asked him if he was dressed as the Hulk. He looked at me and said, “No, the Hulk doesn’t wear glasses.” I replied, “So what are you supposed to be?”
He then looked at me, shouted profanities, and walked away. My confusion led me to go back up to him and ask what I did to offend him. He responded by shoving his hand in my face and screaming at me to get away from him. I was so dumb-founded; I didn’t know how to react. I just walked away, and I still don’t know what he was dressed as.
2. Dirty Minds
I dressed up as a sock. I wore a body pillowcase, which limited my leg movement and meant I had to hop everywhere. The toe of the sock was on my head and I used it to hold all the candy. I don’t know how many people thought it, but one guy definitely asked if I was dressed as a condom.
3. Politically Incorrect
Two years ago I went as Dexter from the Showtime show. I had his green pants/shirt ensemble, a “bloody” knife in one hand, and a fake syringe in the other. This was right in the middle of the season where Dexter’s son came around, and all the ads had Dexter with his kid, so I had a little baby doll that I carried around on my shoulder or kept on my belt.
One girl at the party kept giving me these weird looks, like my costume made her nervous or uncomfortable or something. Eventually, she came over and asked what I was. When I explained the costume to her, this huge wave of relief passed over her face. I’ll never forget her words. She said, “I thought you had gone as an abortion doctor.”
4. Second Coming
I went as a shepherd one year, and my girlfriend and a few of her friends went as sheep. I had a striped bathrobe, one of those crooked wooden staffs they carry, and a pillowcase tied to my head with a belt. So as we were approaching the bar, this insane homeless man started crying on me, and it became clear that he thought I was actually Jesus H. Christ. I shook it off and headed into the party. Everybody at the party thought I was Jesus. I went with it.
5. Mistaken Identity
I met this fairly cute girl at a party one week, just before Halloween. She was tan, petite, and pretty darn cute. I chatted her up a bit, but I didn’t get her number before calling it a night. A week or two later, Halloween rolls around and I go to a party at the same house. That girl I met is near the entrance, and she comes over to greet me.
She exclaims when my group walks in the door and gives me a hug. She’s got this tiny skirt on, a low-cut shirt, and some pretty awesome jaggy fake teeth in. They’re all pointing in opposing directions. Very well done. I say to her “Heyyyyyyy!!! Nice costume! What is it?” She responds, “I’m a hooker!” I laugh and say the following (based on the information at the moment and my assumptions, this made sense at the time): “Ooooh and you’ve got horrible British hooker teeth, that’s awesome!!!”
I didn’t know it yet, but I had messed up big time.
“These are my real teeth,” she said. And they were. It fully wasn’t the same girl I’d met before. She just had the same build and complexion. It wasn’t super well-lit, ok?! And assuming a Halloween costume…they could pass for each other. Yeah ok I’m an idiot. It was so awful. I apologized profusely, so embarrassed for myself and for her.
She proceeded to talk to me for a while, and I indulged her despite my lack of interest out of guilt over the comment. Finally after chatting for 15 minutes or so, I find the nerve to extricate myself from the conversation and join the rest of the party. All my friends overheard, and they thought it, and the subsequent guilt-chat, were all HILARIOUS. Horrible British hooker teeth became a catchphrase in my group for years. Jerks.
6. Misplaced Defense
I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness (don’t worry, I got better). No Halloween allowed. Once, in high school, a girl saw that I wasn’t wearing a costume and jokingly asked what I was dressed as. I said, “I’m a Jehovah’s Witness.” She got angry and started telling me that she knew people who were Jehovah’s Witnesses and that they were really nice, and it was mean to pick on good people for no reason. I, and everyone else in the class who knew me, corrected her. I even showed her my “No Blood” card.
That girl never said another word to me for the rest of the semester.
7. It’s the Thought that Counts
My roommate was dressed as a hobbit. He was short, shoeless, hairy, and had a green sheet wrapped around him as a cloak. He was walking home hung-over from a party he’d stayed at Saturday night. It was a cold Sunday morning and he was shivering, wrapped in his blanket. A nice family on their way home from church tried to give him money because they thought he was homeless. He claims he didn’t take it.
8. Ghost Pride
Halloween wasn’t a big thing when I was about nine (we’re in the UK—I’m “cough” over 35). Trick or treating was pretty much unheard of. I got it into my head that I should have a Halloween party and that some friends and I should go out and try our luck. So, I decided I’d go as a ghost – no ordinary ghost though – oh no! I’d make myself a weird shape too, to make myself more other-worldly.
Newspaper, sellotape, sheet, pillowcase, and scissors later, I was a GREAT ghost.
The pointy newspaper cone underneath the pillowcase was a triumph in making me a really fab, if strangely shaped, ghost. Unfortunately, it didn’t go down too well. White robe, pointy head, slits for eyes. You see where I’m going with this. I did not look like a ghost. But that’s not even the worst part: I grew up in the second most populous Jewish area in the UK.
We were very disappointed in our sweeties haul that night and wondered why people wouldn’t even open the door to us. Yeah, when I found the pictures of my old costume, it all made sense.
A teacher in high school dressed up in a big garbage bag as a California Raisin one year and asked the class to guess what she was.
A kid from the back of the class guessed “White Trash.”
10. Infectious Idea
In grade three, I was a bunch of grapes. I wore a green outfit with a whole bunch of purple balloons stuck to me. One of the neighbors had other ideas. They thought I was an Ebola virus. I had no idea what that was at the time, but my dad thought it was funny, so he got me to say that at all the other houses we went trick or treating at.
11. “It’s a-me, Mario!”
I was Mario from Super Mario. I had the overalls, the red shirt, the mustache, and the red hat with a white “M” on it. Well, someone guessed that I was a McDonald’s employee.
This is kind of a reverse embarrassing nun story; I had a customer who was chatting with me, when a woman in a nun’s habit entered and came up behind him. He, in finishing up his conversation with me, dropped an F-bomb. Then he saw the nun, and fell all over himself apologizing. She glared at him, and said, distinctly, “I don’t fudging care if you swear.” Except, she didn’t say fudge. He panicked even more and ran out the door.
She turned to me and said, “Yeah, I’m not a nun. I’m on my way to a party.”
13. Mr. Incredib-ly Real
A few years ago I went as Mr. Incredible, which seemed perfect as I’m somewhat tall, built-big, but also extremely out of shape. It was so awkward being in spandex and being like 290lbs, but everyone loved it. I was quite popular all night, especially with the ladies, which I did not at all expect. They seem drawn to guys who are confident enough to look stupid or something. Guys in tights crack them up.
Anyway, I was talking to one girl that I knew, but had only seen or spoken to a few times over the years. She’s very tiny, but proportional – on camera she’d look like a normal-sized young woman, but she’s probably 80lbs. She’s cute. We’re talking and she’s standing very close, and while I’m telling some small story she reaches out and puts her hand on my man boob, and starts pushing.
Then she’s moving her hand all over pushing on both my boobs, then pushing on my stomach. I finally mumble my way to silence and she says, “What did you make all of this out of?” I just stared in disbelief, then burst out laughing. She was smiling all big as if she was thinking, ‘What? Did I miss a joke?’ I said “That’s uh… that’s all me.” She was like :-O, and I was like :-D, and we just stayed like that, locked for what seemed like minutes staring at each other, with her hand on my stomach.
Then she said “OH! Wow. Haha. Um…” and it got a wee bit awkward, and we soon separated and talked to other people for the rest of the night.
14. A Mother’s Revenge
My sister was a big cookie, but my mom only put chocolate chips in the front. From the back people kept asking if she was a potato. I think my mom did it on purpose.
15. Good Intentions?
One year I went into The Olive Garden wearing a “Halo” orthotic device (ring with bolts in your head). I wasn’t in costume; I had been in a motorcycle crash a month earlier. My friends all wore clip on Frankenstein head bolts to make fun of me and/or show solidarity. The waitress looked at me and said, “What are you supposed to be?” To which a friend replied, “That’s not a costume.”
16. Peep Show
I went as Marv from Sin City (you know, the tough guy character played by Mickey Rourke). This was right after the movie came out. I did the tape on my face and found a pretty cool leather trench coat from Goodwill. For some reason, everyone kept on thinking I was a beat up flasher or something along those lines. That’s when I learned the very embarrassing truth. I got home and saw that I hadn’t zipped up my fly.
17. Lost in Translation
In this case, the costume was more awkward than the guesses…
In third grade, I somehow convinced my mom to make me a Meep (from Commander Keen 3) costume. She was well aware that no one would have any idea what it was, and that this would make me upset, but I was insistent. I wish I still had pictures, because it was pretty authentic—basically just a round green thing with a big mouth, but that’s all a Meep is.
Needless to say, my mom was right. “Frog” was the most common guess, which sort of ticked me off, but I got really angry when various adults managed to guess obscure characters that I also loved—”Slimer from Ghostbusters?” “a green Pac-man?” “Inky from Pac-man?”—that weren’t right. Pretty sure my mom never made me a costume again.
18. Scarier than Intended
A few years ago a friend and I made Pyramid Head costumes. After returning to the dorm after a party, still in costume, we heard from a dark corner of the room, “Aww, naw they ain’t.”
“We got some triple K stuff goin’ down here!” Luckily another friend and his girlfriend exited the elevator at the exact time the fairly large group of black men started towards us. She squealed and hugged us. Our friend noticed the crowd walking towards us and asked quite loudly if the costumes were from Silent Hill the video game, or the movie.
The crowd stopped. One piped up and started talking about how that was the scariest movie they had ever seen, and the conversation mutated into an internal argument about what movie was the scariest.
19. What Does the Turkey Say?
So we’re standing in line to get into a club and in front of us there was a woman dressed up as a “zombie nurse.” She had a huge piece of flesh dangling from her neck (sort of like a turkey). My friend went up to her and pointed at the dangling piece of deformed flesh and screamed, “Ewww what IS that!? Gobble gobble gobble!” The whole line went still in awkward silence. It was utterly unbearable.
Turns out she was just dressed as a “nurse.” The gobble thing was a weird skin condition or something. It was so awful.
20. Momma’s – Girl?
One year, when I was too young to know not to do drag, my brother dressed as a hobo, and I wore my mom’s big blond wig and one of her dresses, with this kind of fake-patchwork coat of hers. So I guess I was going as my mom. (Yeah, I know–how surprised could my parents really have been when I came out?) So we go to this one house, where the lady insists on guessing what everyone is dressed up as. She looks at my brother and says, “A hobo!”
Then she looks at me, gets a confused expression, and kind of mutters, “Another hobo…?” Because I think she thought I was really a girl. Thanks?
21. Life Lessons
When my Dad was eleven, he was watching a WWII movie. He was too young to realize what the war was about, or that it was even real history. He just thought the German soldiers had really cool outfits/marches. He begged my grandmom (his mom) to make him a costume. She, being the “I’ll always say yes” type of mother, really went for it.
She made him a Hitler costume. It gets worse though. On Halloween night, everyone in the neighborhood, everyone did a costume parade for the kids. He walked through the predominantly Jewish community goose-stepping, wondering why everyone was booing. He still hasn’t forgiven my grandmother for not explaining to him why he shouldn’t wear that costume.
22. Harry if You Do, Harry if You Don’t
One year I simply wore a tie and a decent shirt, basically just to put SOMETHING on for this house party. I have glasses, and people used to tell me all the time that I looked like Harry Potter (I even had an old senile man come up to me once in high-school and ask, even though it was not near Halloween). So, I got to the party, and people were like, “Ohhh, Harry Potter!”
So for a short while I corrected them, explained I just put some nice clothes on and happen to look like Harry Potter, but literally everyone assumed it, so then I was like, OK, I’ll play along, whatever.
Literally next person: “Hey, are you Harry Potter?!”
And I responded, “Yup!”
She responded, “No you aren’t, what the heck?! Where’s your scar, and your wand?!”
Ughhhhh…So I put my hoody on and that was that…
23. Zombie Teacher
I was a High School Freshman, which is already incredibly awkward. It was the Friday before Halloween, which fell on a Saturday that year, so everyone was pumped and in the spirit.
I was in the Faculty Office for some forgettable reason and I was standing next to this teacher who I had seen from afar in the few weeks since the school year began. Being so close to him, I noticed his skin was covered in white pasty makeup, really making for a great ‘undead ghoul’ effect. His dark, brooding, deeply set eyes added to the total zombie look. So, making small talk like all of the SNL greats of my youth, I pretended to scream.
“Ahhhhhhhh!!” I said. He gave me a deadpan stare. I sensed something was wrong, but I couldn’t have known how badly I’d messed up. I hesitantly said, “You look scary today,” and went back to minding my own business. I later learned this particular teacher suffered from a rare skin disorder that required him to cover himself in caked, white, zombie-looking makeup every day.
24. Perilous Pondering
I asked two guys at the bar if they were dressed as thugs for Halloween (they were all decked out with sunglasses and graphic tee’s and hoodies, and one of them had a little clover leaf tattoo next to his eye.) They then threatened to beat the life out of me and I had to apologize profusely and convince them I meant no disrespect.
25. Vocabulary Lesson
I once did a costume like that when I was in elementary school. Had a bunch of cables rigged up so the skull’s jaw moved when I talked, and I could open and close fake skeletal hands. I was going for “wraith”, but when I told people that, no one knew what a wraith was. And I didn’t really know how to explain it. At some point, I fumblingly said it was… kind of like an un-dead monk? Then people made fun of my totally awesome costume.
26. Hands to Yourself
My friend is at a party, sees a guy dressed like Elvis. Later on, she ends up chatting with another guy dressed like Elvis. She says, “Oh, the other guy is skinny Elvis, and you’re fat Elvis!”She was so, so wrong. As she’s saying this, she grabs the stomach of his fat suit, except it’s not a fat suit. It’s his real body. She immediately stands up, says “I’m an idiot,” and walks away before the guy can respond.
27. Bittersweet Victory
A buddy of mine, when he was maybe five or six, really wanted to be a horse for Halloween. His mother and grandmother worked very hard on the costume. So the big day came and there was a costume contest at his school. He thought he had a good shot at winning. He was very proud of the costume. So who was the big winner?
Everyone thought my buddy in the horse costume was Alf. He cried the whole time while collecting his prize.
28. Working Overtime
When I was in college I was hanging out with this girl, and her older brother had come for the weekend to experience the party scene. The first thing I noticed about him was his intense limp, and that he had this stone-cold demeanor. From his general sarcastic attitude, I thought he was just being a sour puss because I was with his sister.
About a year later, I had become best friends with her, and I spent a weekend at her home in NY. Her brother came in at some point and I noticed that his limp was gone! So naturally, I asked if he had a surgery to fix it or how it came that he no longer had a limp. Turns out that her brother is just super weird and was dressed up as Dr. House. Meaning he stayed in character the ENTIRE WEEKEND when I met him. Pretty impressive.
29. We All Lose Our Heads Sometimes
The second week at my new job, I saw a guy, about a full airplane hangar’s length away, who looked like he was carrying his head. I said, “Nice headless horseman costume!” Turns out, as I got closer, that I was horribly, horribly wrong. He had a terrible hunchback and he just looked like he was headless/carrying his head in his hands (he was actually carrying papers). I never lived that one down.
30. A Well-Dressed Muppet
I was at work wearing jeans and a nice Banana Republic polo (brown, white and orange stripes) around Halloween. A woman saw me and said, “Oh, what a great costume! Bert from Sesame Street!” I was not wearing a costume.