Halloween might look a little different this year, but terrible costumes are the one constant bright star in the spooky nighttime sky. Many of the usual costume shops have said “To hell with the pandemic!” and are rolling out their latest superhero knockoffs and other ridiculous fashions anyway. Be they “sexy,” silly, or just plain wrong. Here are the worst costumes of 2020.
I’ll say this every year I made these costume compilations: This is not about defining what constitutes a good or bad “sexy” costume. Halloween is a great time to celebrate your sexuality and have fun with fashion—as is any time of year, for that matter. Rather, we’re here to look at the ridiculous, the laughable, and the downright offensive. In other words, the best of the worst borderline copyright infringement that the folks at Yandy, ForPlay, and beyond have bestowed on us for this year’s All Hallow’s Eve.
Who’s hungry? We’re following up last year’s “Nicest Neighbor” with a tribute to Colonel Sanders, complete with a “button-up” leotard, jacket, bow-laced thigh-highs, a goatee...and a chicken. This one perfectly encapsulates the 2020 trend of leotards-as-costumes. It could be because leotards are popular right now, but I think it’s more because it saves money on fabric.
There’s been a surprising lack of topical Halloween costumes this year, so instead, I tried to see what companies were doing to address the ongoing pandemic with the highly recommended use of face masks. The answer is: not much. These were some of the only non-ninja ones I could find. Weed nurse? Good mask (Starline). CBD gummi bear (Party City) with a plastic shell over his face? Bad mask. Deadly assassin wearing a mesh mask (Starline)? Now you’re just trolling us.
It’s disappointing that we haven’t seen more costume companies embracing the need for face masks by incorporating them into Halloween get-ups. There are so many costumes that would look just as good, if not better, with a mask! Not to mention the whole “let’s not kill other people” thing.
These costumes are so topical...they arrived too late to make it into the video! In case you didn’t know, we’ve got an election this year and it’s a bit of a doozy, with lots of voting by mail to try and keep people safe while exercising their rights. So, we’ve got Postal Babe (Yandy) and Mail-in Ballot (Yandy) holding the front lines. But that’s not all, there’s the ever-popular Tiger King shout-out with So Exotic (ForPlay). Also, remember when the Murder Hornet (Yandy) was a thing? What happened with that.
‘Tis the year of DC’s Batman. We’ve got last year’s Joker with Wicked Prankster (Yandy) and CW’s Batwoman as Dark Nights (ForPlay) dominating the superhero costume collection this year. Of course, you’ve still got plenty of old-school Jokers with Nobody’s Fool (Yandy) and Mad Gambler (Starline). On the Marvel side, we’re guessing this Atmospheric Honey (Starline) model is supposed to be dressed as X-Men’s Storm—which, if true, yiiiiiiiiiikes.
The Wonderful World of Disney heads underwater with the mesh-filled A World to Sea (Yandy), finds Princess Tiana with Bayou Beauty (ForPlay), gives Jack Skellington a taste of Christmas with Nightmare Hottie (Starline), and pulls a Maleficent sequel with Evil Mistress (ForPlay). But the most baffling entry would have to be the pairing of Classic Mouse and Fantasy Mouse (both Starline), which come with furry boot covers and a half-open robe that you know is going to keep flopping open throughout the night.
Last year’s live-action Aladdin has become a major trend in 2020 Halloween costumes, with several new baffling entries like Wishful Thinking (ForPlay) and Magic Lamp Honey (Starline). I also wanted to point out Arabian Prince and Princess (Yandy)—not because the costumes are terrible, although they’re not great, but because that looks like the saddest Aladdin I’ve ever seen.
Behold the mish-mash of characters from popular fiction, from the Curvy Cartoon (ForPlay) costume that looks like it could never stay up to the generally okay Yellow Brick Road Honey (Starline) that is only on this list for having the ugliest bow I’ve ever seen. We also “found” the Lost Cutie (Starline)...and who could pass up dressing as a literal object you throw stuff into, as Collectable Ball (Starline)? Finally, the obligatory terrible Leia ensemble with Galactic Princess (Starline). But that’s not the only Star Wars reference we’ve got, as I recently found a treasure trove of WTF outfits from a galaxy far far away.
ForPlay delivered this year in the Star Wars department! We’ve got gems like The Darqueside (ForPlay), Ray of Light (ForPlay), Such a Trooper (ForPlay), Captivating Co-Pilot (ForPlay), Like It’s Golden (ForPlay), and Robotic (ForPlay). Some of them look kinda cute—I’m partial to that C-3PO jumpsuit myself—but dear god that Rey costume is giving me nightmares.
Another group costume that was only a matter of time. All from Starline. Side note: It’s weirding me out that they’re all the same model.
Step into a world of dreams and magic. There’s the ill-fitting Fairy Dust (ForPlay) that just looks like bad lingerie with wings thrown on. Then you can go into the days of yore with Fairy Tale Knight (Yandy), Barbarian Babe (Starline), and Robbed to Riches (Yandy)—the last of which is gracious enough to give you shorts but then makes the dress part just short enough to look weird. Finally, I added Caring Little Bear (Starline) into this collection because that Care Bear Stare is pure magic, people. Pure magic.
Witches and upside-down pentagrams were everywhere this Halloween—I’m guessing because of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (which has an admittedly awesome costume from Yandy this year)—but these don’t quite capture the magic. There’s the awkward “good witch” in What a Witch (ForPlay), then we’ve got two men of the night with Bad Blood (Yandy) and Prince of Darkness (Yandy). Also, the Voodoo Swamp Witch (Yandy), another example of a bad Halloween costume that gets extremely racist very easily.
But I think my favorite is Pentagram Schoolgirl (Starline), quite possibly the most-baffling costume I found this year. It’s like someone thought: “Let’s see here. Schoolgirls are always popular, and people like witches and pentagrams right now. Let’s just throw them together with no explanation and see what happens.” The result is, well, that.
Another big trend this year is religious/mythological figures and monsters, with Greek gods, mummies, and angels running rampant. There are a couple of terrible mummy outfits this year (see Yummy Mummy from Yandy), though I have to give the award to Mummy Dearest (Yandy) for throwing a snake headband on top. Then there’s Egyptian mythology with Egyptian Goddess Cleopatra (Leg Avenue) and Goddess Anubis (Yandy), the latter of which is just a leotard with a face on it. Finally, you’ve got the Grecian Prophetic Deity (Yandy) and what might be the worst angel costume I’ve ever seen, Celestial Angel (Starline).
It wouldn’t be a bad costume list without a trip to outer space! We’ve got an awkward alien with Martian Mayhem (Starline), along with an alien named Outer Space Cutie (Starline) that looks like a Joker costume gone wrong. Then, there are the space explorers, Comet Me (Yandy) and Spaced Out Diva (Yandy). I want to give a shout-out to Spaced Out Diva for one thing: The costume may be bad, but Yandy’s page for it includes a gorgeously pulpy promo shot that makes the outfit instantly look 10x better.
Throw a cheesy title and pen name on top and you’ve got yourself a hit novel.
Oh, you thought we were done?
We saved the most terrifying for last.
Believe it or not, these costumes came out before CW announced that Powerpuff Girls reboot from Diablo Cody, about the girls as beleaguered 20-somethings forced to return to their crime-fighting ways. Costume inspiration, maybe? All ForPlay.
For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.