Spirit Halloween is no stranger to being a punchline. The seasonal chain’s miraculous ability to colonize abandoned storefronts in the blink of an eye, its niche wares, and the way—every year—it disappears without a trace of glitter, fake blood, or wig hair left behind makes it ripe for internet jokes. And the trend of photoshopped costume packages has kept the Spirit meme spirit alive in recent days.
Though, the seasonal retailer seems to have mixed feelings about the posts. On one hand, it’s made its own brazen attempt to try to capitalize on the action. On the other, the costume store chain has caught some misdirected flack for certain memes. In one instance, outraged responses to an image wherein the fake costume is just labeled “Gay Guy” prompted the store to state, “This is not an officially licensed costume from our company...We will be passing this to our review team.”
And...fair? Among a specifically LGBTQ audience I can imagine the “Gay Guy” meme being deployed with great effect, mocking the offensive stereotypes that the Halloween industry so-often hinges on. Elsewhere on the internet, there are obviously less-wholesome, more homophobic ways the meme might be posted. But I digress.
Other, upset re-postings of the “Gay Guy” “costume” also prompted Spirit’s media team to clarify “This is not something we carry or have carried before.” And, as Rolling Stone first reported, a photoshop job involving Rhys Darby’s character in HBO’s Our Flag Means Death upset the actor’s wife. Again, for emphasis, Gizmodo doesn’t endorse calling anyone a “Gay Loser,” but the original meme was clearly intended for appreciation within the show’s largely queer fandom.
Yet, decontextualized and questionable jokes aside—there are some real gems lurking in the pile of Spirit Hallow-memes. And Gizmodo has compiled some of the best ones here. Click on for costume inspiration, just in time for the holiday. And also, know that there are tools available if you’d like to make your own costume meme.