This is what happens when you send your grandmother to get your Halloween costume for you—she inevitably came back with these sneaky little lookalikes, made specifically to fool out-of-touch adults into thinking they’re buying Batman or Spider-man instead of their cheap Mexican equivalents. On the plus side, knock-off costumes such as these were wonderful lessons for kids, clearly illustrating the series of crushing disappointments life was surely going to bring in the future.
9) Colonial Girl
Released to cash in on the Bicentennial craze, this Colonial Girl costume had young ladies dreaming about what life must have been like during the early days of the United States, e.g. yellow fever and feet calloused from cobblestones. And who exactly is this so-called Colonial Girl supposed to be? She looks like some lame-ass villain that Dazzler would fight. If you are going trick-or-treating in era-specific garb, wouldn’t it be slightly better to go out as someone specific, like Martha Washington or Betsy Ross? Or maybe this outfit is based on one of Ben Franklin’s favorite prostitutes—that would certainly explain the whorish lipstick and easily removable dress.
8) Cyclops from Krull
Getting a Krull costume meant one thing; your uncaring parents, too wrapped up in their own lives, bought your Halloween costume at the very last minute, when this was the last thing on the rack. Which also means we've just unleashed a painful memory you’ve likely kept repressed. Sorry about your luck.
7) Kooky Spooks
Putting the retard in flame retardant, these monstrosities allowed kids to beg for beatings by having them prance around in a costume with a huge inflatable head. Upon their release in 1979, the Kooky Spooks series of costumes were loved by parents because they came with reflective tape that made wearers less likely to get plowed down by cars while crossing the street in search of some Tootsie Rolls. They were also more durable than the traditional vinyl costumes, which meant hand-me-downs from your older sibling now included bullshit Halloween outfits that instantly made you the deserving target of local bullies. Since each of the Kooky Spooks came with color-coordinated makeup, kids who chose the bat costume suddenly found themselves looking like pint-sized racists after applying the black face paint.
6) Rubik’s Cube
The year 1983 saw a nation obsessed with this damned cube, which even inexplicably received its own, painful, half-hour cartoon on Saturday morning. Despite the toy's immense popularity, in the end, it’s a Halloween costume of a frustrating puzzle that a nation couldn’t solve, and like it's toy inspiration, deserved to be hurled into a wastebasket in rage.
5) Chachi from Joanie Loves Chachi / Jimmy Osmond (tie)
If you ever needed proof that Halloween is Satan's handiwork, please look no further than the Chachi costume. It’s troubling to think of how many little brothers were coerced into being Chachi in order to accompany an older sister dressed as Joanie. Being Scott Baio, even for an evening, is a special torture in itself.
As for Jimmy Osmond, it should come as a complete surprise that there were Osmonds other than Donnie and Marie. This youngest singling was best known for his 1972 hit “Long Haired Lover from Liverpool.” That’s great and all, but it’s unlikely that anyone outside of Utah actually wanted to put on what is essentially a red trash bag with his face on it and then go begging for snacks.
4) The Biker from the Village People
One of the most confusing things about life is how a song about anonymous gay sex became a mainstream hit in the '70s, and yet “Y.M.C.A.” continues to be a staple of weddings/bad parties everywhere. So powerful were the Village People’s homoerotic antics that they spawned this costume, which let kids everywhere pretend...actually, let's not go there.
3) Scrappy Doo
You’ll need that plastic smock to protect yourself from the endless amounts of rotted fruits and vegetables other children will likely lob at your Scrappy Doo costume. As everyone knows, Scrappy Doo was the repulsive additional character that completely ruined the mojo of Scooby Doo forever—to go out dressed as him was like going out dressed as Hitler or Charles Manson. If you saw a kid dressed like this on Halloween, you'd be tempted to slip a razor blade into his apple.
2) Hawkeye from M*A*S*H
While no one would question the popularity of such a television classic as M*A*S*H, the question begs to be asked, how many children really wanted to be Alan Alda at Halloween? You could swill gin and throw out equal parts pathos and one liners at each door, stopping occasionally to do a Groucho impersonation. And then you could have the ever-loving shit beat out of you by all the neighborhood kids.
From a questionable line of Atari game-related costumes that included Yar’s Revenge and Missile Command, the Asteroids costume is tenuously based on the then popular videogame of the same name, which has no humanoid characters. There is simply a tiny arrow which is the spaceship, and many, many asteroids.
The costume maker could, theoretically made the pilot of the asteroid-shooting ship, which might have looked okay. But by having the mask resemble an asteroid, the wearer instead looks like he's going as massive burn victim or a discarded sponge from a men’s shelter bathroom. A clever bully could—and would—also use it as an excuse to play Asteroids by repeatedly punching you in the face.