Actors Not Allowed To Dress Up For Halloween

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Published

Jenna Ortega Wednesday
Wednesday Addams is off-limits for SAG-AFTRA members

Sure, they might be famous. Yes, they might be rich. But Hollywood actors are, after all, like the rest of us—that is, they enjoy dressing up for Halloween and snapping photos of themselves in costumes as much as we do. But, according to The Hollywood Reporter, this Hallow’s Eve will surely be a little different: The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) just put out a set of strict guidelines regarding what its members can (and cannot) wear or even post online pictures of this spooky season. 

SAG-AFTRA members will not be able to dress up for Halloween as characters from any studio targeted by the ongoing strike.

What sort of costumes are off the table? 

Any get-up representing a character from explicitly struck content—the prohibited content including such overly recognizable icons as Barbie or Robert Oppenheimer, for example. This means no Twitter pics of actors in Marvel character costumes for Halloween, as they fall under the Disney umbrella. 

No SAG-AFTRA member can be Barbie for Halloween

What can actors wear for Halloween? SAG instructed its members to opt for generic, run-of-the-mill tropes of the holiday, meaning if Ryan Gosling rings your doorbell, he’ll probably be dressed as a normie ghost or perhaps be sporting a yawn-including pair of cat ears. Hopefully, you’ll still give him candy (he deserves it). 

This means no Twitter pics of actors in Marvel character costumes for Halloween, as they fall under the Disney umbrella.

The ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, which is rapidly approaching its 100th day, lies behind these new rules. Tensions run higher than ever, with the enormous union and hugely powerful studio heads failing to reach an agreement this past Saturday. In this heated context, it’s easy to understand the union’s impetus for denying actors the right we all enjoy—dressing up as whatever we want for Halloween and snagging selfies for the ‘Gram.

cillian murphy
Oppenheimer, despite being a historical figure, is also off-limits

Like any striking, picket-line-attending workforce, the union wants to discourage its members from promoting the content of studios with whom they are currently in a dispute. This means avoiding, as much as possible, lending any inadvertent publicity or promotion to the big whigs at major studios until all parties concerned ink a fair contract. 

SAG-AFTRA suggests that members dress up as the classic tropes, such as a generic ghost or wear cat ears.

Due to a labor dispute between the American actors’ union SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike commenced on July 14, 2023. Indeed, the dispute encompasses issues much more severe than what actors can be for Halloween. The strike, alongside the comparably major 2023 Writers Guild of America strike that concluded in September, is a significant disruption to the American film and television industries, only comparable to the fallout of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. 

Issues central to the dispute include the rise of streaming and its impact on residuals, as well as obstacles posed by AI and emergent digital recreation technologies. Truly historic, the strike is the first actors’ labor dispute in the U.S. since 1980 and the first combined actor-writer strike since 1960. 

And on and on it goes. 

Though, we all hope actors will be able to freely choose whatever costumes they want, at least by next Halloween.