When you’re a celebrity, you can rarely get a moment’s peace. Whenever you walk out of your door, fans can’t help but want to talk to you and share how much they love your work. They want your autograph. They want your attention. They want you to know how much you’ve changed their lives.
After a while, the majority of fans all start sounding much the same and it’s no wonder that stars need a moment to relax and find their bearings again. Halloween is the perfect time for celebrities to hide their real identities while at the same time having loads of fun and eating loads of candy.
In order to give you some great ideas for costumes to wear, Bored Panda compiled this list of celebrities wearing Halloween costumes, so scroll down, upvote your faves, and drop us a line in the comments telling us what you think of them. We know that you love Halloween posts, so check out our last year’s list of celebrities whom we could barely recognize when they put on their costumes. In case you’re in need of a more serious Halloween pick-me-up, take a look at the posts here, here, and here. And be sure to scroll down for Bored Panda’s interview with the world’s foremost expert on Halloween, Lesley Bannatyne.
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When celebrities dress up, Halloween approaches weirdness: these are people whom millions of their fans want to be like, but who choose to be someone else for the holiday. It just goes to show that everyone has someone they look up to, no matter how high and mighty they might appear from the sidelines.
Some people love Halloween; some hate it. But most people think of it as a holiday that isn’t very serious and don’t give it much thought. However, Halloween is a deep topic that has been studied by professional academics, the greatest among them being Bannatyne. Bored Panda spoke to her about the holiday’s popularity in the West, especially in the United States, and she gave three main reasons for it.
“Halloween’s popularity, especially among adults, began to surge in the 70s and has been growing ever since. Nostalgia is one reason. Kids who grew up in the golden age of trick-or-treating (50s, 60s — before the rumors of razor blades in apples and stranger danger) didn’t want to give it up, and threw Halloween parties where they could still get into costume and go out at night.”
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Bannatyne continued: “Halloween’s edginess is another. Wonderfully outrageous parades erupted in gay communities in the late 60s and 70s (San Francisco’s Castro, Greenwich Village, etc.) that painted Halloween as a renegade holiday; it was both inclusive and extreme, a night where, whatever box you were in during the day, you could bust out at night. My gay friends tell me that Halloween is their Christmas — no gifts, no family, no travel, just a great costume.”
The Halloween expert went on to explain what the third reason for the holiday’s popularity in the US was. “A third reason is horror. Up until John Carpenter’s 1978 movie Halloween, the holiday had been eerie, spooky, and creepy, but not necessarily bloody or violent. Hollywood hadn’t figured out that Halloween and horror movies were a winning combination—1973’s The Exorcist, for example, was released at Christmas. But Halloween was set on Halloween, titled Halloween (rather than ‘The Babysitter Murders,’ its original title), and featured Halloween icons—jack-o’-lanterns, masks, etc.—and forever changed the image of Halloween in our imaginations. In the next two decades a flood of horror franchises became associated with Halloween, and Freddys, Jasons, and Michael Meyers masks appeared everywhere. What this did was turn fans of horror, of which there were many, into fans of Halloween, and the celebration grew even more popular.”
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"American markets began to understand that Halloween could be shaped into a retail season to fit between Back-to-School and Christmas. Coors made it a beer holiday in 1986 by launching a highly successful campaign using Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, as a spokesperson. Other manufacturers saw possibility for the same revenue streams as Christmas, and soon Halloween lights, cards, trees (they’re black, natch), and yard decorations were added to costume offerings," Bannatyne explained.
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Bannatyne is regarded as the foremost authority on Halloween by some and is a true expert about the history of the holiday. She has written many books on the subject, which show that Halloween can be just as serious as it can be fun.
One of the many things that Bannatyne found out about the holiday is that the roots of Halloween first formed over 1,000 years ago in the British Isles. Eventually, after passing through various American ethnic groups, the holiday grew into what it is today. If you’re not a fan of the holiday, the next time you see someone dressed in a Halloween costume, don’t be quick to judge; think about the holiday as a living, breathing thing that changes with each generation into something new. And any 1,000-year history is bound to hide some interesting and horrifying-yet-fun insights.