Project Run Scared :: The Ten Worst Halloween Costumes

With Halloween fast approaching your Unkle Lancifer and Aunt John have been combing the interwebs for inspiration for costumes. (Yes, we’re kinda sorta fighting over who will be Joan from MAD MEN). During our Google-y endeavors we came across a list on RETROCRUSH which lists the worst Halloween costumes ever to be created. Rather than take this list as a cue to go no further and simply compromise (losing straw has to be Pete Campbell), we decided to challenge ourselves and see if we could find even worse Halloween costumes out there in the sparkly interwebville. Everyone one knows that if you’re looking for crap the second place after the outhouse is eBay, so off we went. With visions of the impending PROJECT RUNWAY finales cat walking through our brains, we decided to review the ultimate worst of what he had discovered….

10. Nicholas Bradford from EIGHT IS ENOUGH

UNK: (as Tim Gunn) Why are there two? They are both worse than each other somehow. It’s pretty sad to me that a child would be so unimaginative that the best that he or she could come up with was dressing like another child of approximately the same age. As I look at them, I hear annoying Ewok songs in my head.

AUNT J: (as the Klumeister): Where is the Mary Bradford costume? With her raspy voice and devotion to medical school, she’d make for a much better costume. PERIOD.

9. Lil’ Hotlips from M.A.S.H. BABIES

UNK: In my opinion M.A.S.H. BABIES was the worst cartoon that ever aired on American television. That said, the idea of sending my young child out into the night with the words “LIL’ HOTLIPS‘ emblazoned across her vinyl smock makes me ill. I’d also like to add that M.A.S.H. BABIES sounds more like a demand from the Marquis de Sade then an animated Saturday cartoon aimed at children.

AUNT J: You’re right, M.A.S.H. BABIES was released right around the same time as the MICHAEL JACKSON/ Pepsi commercial incineration debacle. Too many little girls were bombarded with snickering taunts of “Major Burns… hah!” Plus LORETTA SWIT never translated well as a youthful character.

8. Some old guy from ON GOLDEN POND

UNK: Is that grey area on the costume plush? I feel it may be plush. Anyway, is that mask supposed to represent the celebrated actor HENRY FONDA? He may have beat his children like they owed him a gambling debt on a daily basis, but he never wore his hair THAT long. (P.S. eBay seller, you’re welcome for Photoshoping the stains out of your carpet).

AUNT J: Correct me if I am wrong, but I think it’s a KATHARINE HEPBURN mask. Overall, I am not very FONDA this getup.


UNK: Any child wearing this will never have their demands met. I predict a treat bag filled with pennies and lint-covered, unwrapped Velemints.

AUNT J: Is that sign attached to the crotch? The whole purpose of Halloween is to collect free candy, not splinters south of the border! PASS!

6. Aurora Greenway from TERMS OF ENDEARMENT

UNK: I just threw up, not so much in my mouth, but all over the front of my KRASS BROTHERS suit. eBay person, are you really going to try to sell something this filthy? Nobody wants your old dumpster diving gear. This looks more like crime scene evidence than anything that should be worn in public. From this picture, I can glean that its wearer already received their first review when the neighborhood children pelted her with dog feces.

AUNT J: If I saw this one coming down the street, I would totally bolt the door and turn out all the lights! Where is the imagination? Couldn’t the child don a hospital gown, slap on some deathbed pancake make-up, and try to pull off the DEBRA WINGER look? This is too easy.

5. Vera from ALICE

UNK: I don’t hate this, at least not as much as I hate the character of “Vera”. It could work if you carried around a box of soda straws and pretended to spill them every couple of yards on your Halloween trek, and maybe bump into a light post or two. It needs a bit of work but it’s almost there.

AUNT J: To quote the opening theme from ALICE, “Kicking myself for nothing was my favorite sport.” This costume is neither a kick nor sporty. I’d much prefer to see Mel’s Mom (MARTHA RAYE) immortalized in a plastic costume.

4. Steve Burns (AL PACINO) from CRUISING

UNK: I thought I’d seen it all with the VILLAGE PEOPLE costume on RETROCRASH, but this is even more alarming to my small town sensibilities. Then again, black vinyl is notoriously slimming. Plus liquids roll right off of vinyl, be it water or lemon juice or urine.

AUNT J: Can we turn that costume around? Yikes! October is far too brisk a month to be sporting assless chaps about town.

3. Anne Romano from ONE DAY AT A TIME

UNK: I love this! I have ALWAYS enjoyed her work. That’s Twiki’s robotic girlfriend “Tina” from BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY right?

AUNT J: Striking a blow for womens’ rights and single moms everywhere in the late seventies, the Ann Romano costume was oft-mistaken for both Twiki and Lee Grant. Sad, really….

2. Walter from MAUDE

UNK: Why is there a picture of MAUDE on the chest of this costume? Even as a Halloween costume BILL MACY gets upstaged. God will get you for that BEA!

AUNT J: I read somewhere that BEA demanded that her visage be placed on the entire MAUDE Halloween costume collection. Regrettably, there was enough real estate on the bodice of ADRIENNE BARBEAU‘s to include two such images.

1. Cousin Jeri from THE FACTS OF LIFE

UNK: Ugh! This really rakes my nerves. Enough with THE FACTS OF LIFE! When will that show’s iron grip upon our culture loosen? I’ve taken the good, I’ve taken the bad and what do I have? MORE FACTS O’ LIFE! GERI JEWEL is the absolute last person that I wanted to see today. I actually made a mental note of that fact as I climbed out of bed this morning. Thumbs down, a real stinka-roo!

AUNT J: Ummm… NEWSFLASH Unkle…this costume didn’t come off of e-Bay! I wore this costume in the second and third grades. JERI JEWEL was a role model, not only to me, but also to other blossoming stand-up comediennes everywhere in the early ’80s. For reals, for reals! And by the way, this lil’ number garnered me “Best Box-Job Costume” in 1982 and 1983 at my elementary school.

UNK: As long as we’re being perfectly honest, I may have a M.A.S.H. BABIES costume lying around in a trunk in the castle somewhere (lil’ Father Mulcahy natch!) Maybe we do have Halloween outfits for this year’s festivities after all!

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14 years ago

Sheer genius. I’m crying from laughing so hard… or maybe I’m just crying ’cause, you know, Gerri Jewel was the last person I  wanted to see before going to bed. Damn you all for that! Now where’s my Magnum P.I. porn stache? brb!

(1 minute later.)

Ahhhhh, that did it.
Night fellas.

Amanda By Night
14 years ago

Two things… I SO need a Cousin Jeri costume. It’s so hawt.

Two, I’m DEFINITELY marrying you guys. Even if it means holding a gun to your head! If I can’t have you two, then I’ll settle for Cousin Jeri… I know, but that’s how I roll…

Excellent article! As per usual!

14 years ago

This post is the greatest thing I have ever seen.  In the entire world.  The greatest.  

14 years ago

DAMMIT, you guys!  Genius, just genius.  I LOVE KINDERTRAUMA!
If anyone wants to dress up and (role) play as Nicholas Bradford and Steve Burns just e-mail me and we’ll work things out.

14 years ago

Does Norma Rae come with no bra and erect nipples like the film version?

Corey Convex
14 years ago

Holee Fucking Shit!  I have to admit that I thought this was a real list of crappy costumes..My jaw hit the table when I saw MASH Babies!  How come I never even heard of this abomination?!

Slowly but surely I finally figured out that it was all a brilliant joke.  Wow.

You boys rule…seriously.  And dammit, I NEED me a Steve Burns costume immediately!  I was going to be an Indian this year, but fuck that!  I’m ready for some poppers and hot gay sex…then some hot gay murder!

14 years ago

This list is inspired.

I’m going to hell for my cousin Jeri imitation and I don’t care.

14 years ago

This is the most hilarious list ever! But I think you forgot the Barnaby Jones (Buddy Epsen) and Cannon (William Conrad) costumes. The Barnaby Jones costume comes with a bottle of Geritol, and the Cannon costume comes with his ultra-groovy state of the art car phone (extra padding not included).

14 years ago

It really inspired me to think outside the box. I WAS gonna go as either a French Maid or a witch but now after looking at your list I say ‘F*ck it! I’m goin’ as Abe Vigoda!”

Corey Convex
14 years ago

@ Mammamiasweetpeaches,
You know the Halloween costume rule for ladies…you have to be a sexy Abe Vigoda!

I can’t wait to see those pics!

aunt john
14 years ago

: Now there’s a costume idea… just the ‘stache.

@Amanda: Actually, the Cousin Jeri costume doubles as my bridal gown.

: In hindsight, we should have worked in a PAUL WILLIAMS costume.

: Check your e-male…

: I believe it does.

: I am definitely coming tricks-or-treating at your house.

: True story, I was once in a car accident that was a direct result of the driver imitating Cousin Jeri. And no, I wasn’t driving.

: Excellent suggestions for our next list!

@mama: I’m with mrcanacorn on this… work in some fishnets and go as SEXY ABE VIGODA!

14 years ago

Saying “Sexy Abe Vigoda” is redundant. The man IS sexy! A true Silver Fox that one. ROW!

14 years ago


This post has me fillin’ up the litter box, fast n’ furious!

14 years ago

I’m SO GLAD you guys have solved the costume party dilemma I was having!  I am definitely going to my Halloween party as gender-bending Steve Burns.  Good thing there’s a mask so no one will know my true identity.  I’ll Pack and everything. It’ll be hott.

14 years ago

Yes, a Paul Williams costume would have been amazing, but I think this list can’t be topped.

And I do agree with many of the posters that halloween has changed drastically since these gems were manufactured and women can now be what ever they want so long as the costume is prefaced with “sexy” or suffixed with “wench.”

Also, I was fully fooled by this list, and was like this Vera costume could be real… then I looked up M*A*S*H* babies. This is 100% true.

Pax Romano
11 years ago


I had that Steve Burns costume, really made a hit at the VFW costume ball that year.