20 Halloween Costumes So Unsexy, They're Downright Scary

October 18th, 2012


Paper Bag People

Pretty much any costume can be made from a paper bag, which is why they're unflattering in every way.
For further proof, see the catalog images above from the 1960s.


Paper Bag People

A paper bag playing the piano needs no explanation. Get me out of here.

McCall's created the patterns for these bizzarro paper bag costumes in 1969. Lesson learned? Hallucinations are not sexy.

Paper Bag People

McCall's created the patterns for these bizzarro paper bag costumes in 1969.
Lesson learned? Hallucinations are not sexy.


Monstrous Mice

It's hard to pinpoint what's so frightening about vintage Mickey and Minnie Mouse costumes, but it definitely has something to do with their giant alien eyes, fixed in a permanent death stare.
Behold the Mr. and Mrs. in all their creepy 1940s glory. (Via AtypicalArt's Flickr)


Monstrous Mice

Unless you've got amazing knees, this look from 1939 resembles a svelte black trashbag.
(Via Brechtbug's Flickr)


Monstrous Mice

Even Disney's own costume geniuses made Mickey and Minnie appear like evil twins, seen here in 1955.
What's with those facial scars?! (Via davelandweb.com)


Monstrous Mice

This ghost-faced duo from 1931 probably thought their flirty behavior looked cute.
(Via io9.com)


Dopey Inanimate Objects

Pick an everyday object, throw on a bulky cardboard rendering of its shape, and voila! You've found one of the least sexy ways to dress up. And don't forget, triangle shapes are always unflattering, particularly circa 1994.


Dopey Inanimate Objects

A big fat pumpkin does fine, but other inanimate objects provide plenty of unshapely disguises. Barbara Snook's 1969 book "Costumes for Children" offers a host of terrible ideas, including a trash-can, seaweed, and a cigarette.


Dopey Inanimate Objects

What a fabulous way to avoid getting phone numbers! This outfit works just as well today as it did in the 1950s.


Dopey Inanimate Objects

Once again, McCall's comes to the rescue with big, boxy costumes based on clunky household objects, circa 1985. Anything slightly cylindrical is fair game to help disguise your sculptured bod.



Perhaps in the midst of a recession, we're not so tempted by the ubiquitous hobo costumes donned in ages past. But if you really want people to avert their eyes, might as well blend in with the vagrants and dress like you need a bath. Masks optional.



Kids and adults alike can make this look equally grotesque, as seen in this image from 1955. Yikes!
(Photo by Lois Reed, via lreed76's Flickr)



Even Judy Garland and Fred Astaire can't make tramps pretty, as shown here on the set of "Easter Parade" in 1948.


Here Come the Clowns

The long-legged jumpsuits, all-over makeup, and outrageous wigs are guaranteed to keep you single through Halloween night, and maybe even until Thanksgiving. (Via mrwaterslide's Flickr)


Here Come the Clowns

Just because you're working it, doesn't mean it's working: These sewing patterns from the 1930s and '40s tried to make clowning as chic as possible, and we're not buying it (even for $.25).

This merry band of circus performers looks more like a bloodthirsty gang.

Here Come the Clowns

No, this is not a tour photo for the Insane Clown Posse, though these 1920s-era circus performers do look more like a bloodthirsty gang than a merry group of family entertainers.

Try this baby on for size: a vintage papier-mache clown mask guaranteed to keep suitors at bay.

Here Come the Clowns

Try this baby on for size: An early 20th century paper-mache clown mask guaranteed to keep suitors at bay.

You know the trend: Every year on Halloween, adults turn even the most innocuous sounding costumes into lust-fueled fantasies. Sultry Santa? Done. Sexy real-estate agent? Check.

At the risk of being counterintuitive, we’ve compiled a selection of our favorite unsexy costumes from holidays past, outfits that would make Marilyn Monroe look like a dowdy freakshow. Their proven ability to unflatter is downright frightening. Happy Halloween!

6 comments so far

  1. Barbara A. Says:

    Could someone please settle an argument between my husband and I? In photo number 8, I believe the boy is Little Ricky. We cannot (for the life of us) decide if the man holding him is 1) Walt Disney 2) Terry Thomas 3) Ernie Kovacs. Help!!

  2. Hunter Says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Great spotting! I think you’re correct that the boy in image number 8 is Little Ricky, and the man behind him appears to be Jerry Colonna (a singer/musician who was actually behind the voice of infant Little Ricky for the “I Love Lucy” show). I have no idea who the little girl is.

    Apparently Colonna provided voices for many Disney characters, including the March Hare from “Alice in Wonderland.” It seems this photo was taken on opening day at Disneyland – July 17, 1955.

  3. Barbara A. Says:

    Thank you, Hunter! This has been keeping me up for the last two nights. Now, I can finally get some sleep. (But I’m not sure I’m going to tell hubby yet!)

  4. vetraio50 Says:

    Hi, I was fascinated by the reference to Little Ricky.
    I always loved Jerry Colonna as a kid as well.
    There were two boys who played the role: Mike and Joe Mayer.

    The mind boggles. They wouldn’t have …..?

  5. Hunter Says:

    I never realized the “Little Ricky” character wasn’t actually Desi Arnaz, Jr.! My mind is blown!!

  6. anniesmart Says:

    Since when did Halloween have everything to do with sex for heaven’s sake? Or ‘being pretty’? Of all the inane postings I’ve ever read these must take the cake. And on a site supposedly focused on culture. The costumes are macabre, yes, creepy, yes, strange, yes, even shocking, yes. Halloween is a family centered celebration recalling THE DEAD, Spirits and Ghosts, in case you hadn’t noticed. Outside a third-rate frat house the comments posted with these pictures are simply pathetic. Please keep the pictures and remove this inane commentary.

Leave a Comment or Ask a Question

If you want to identify an item, try posting it in our Show & Tell gallery.