Written by Jonathan Wojcik
The Licensed Creepypasta Costume Invasion
Long ago in 2013, I lamented for a whole article that people just didn't appreciate creepy, disturbing Halloween costumes anymore; that superheroes and celebrities and joke costumes had long taken over.
But, over the last few years, something pretty cool has been stirring...and most especially thanks to very young children, whose fascination with everything dark and scary is at least as old as spoken language and has survived time and again through every attempt to sanitize the media they're exposed to.
Today, it really seems to be children who drive the success of independent horror such as Five Nights at Freddy's, paranormal youtube videos and even every variety of creepypasta, with kids thirteen and under especially latching on to the "classics" such as Jeff the Killer and Smiledog. And while some people roll their eyes at this, lamenting that there's "better" kids could be getting into, the fact of the matter is that children are appreciating creepy, gruesome monsters far better and far more earnestly than most of the adult world, and so much so that only days ago, I stumbled upon the following in the middle of Wal-Mart, which is frankly just BANANAS:
Internet culture really isn't niche or underground anymore, and hasn't been for quite a while, but seeing the words "Creepy Pasta" actually printed on a mass produced item in a mainstream retail chain still managed to blow my mind, even after a "J. The Killer" mask already showed up a couple years ago at Party City and we got our own authentic "Hot Scary Latex Mom" earlier this year...but how much deeper did this rabbit hole go?
...You're....you're KIDDING me, right? For real? THE freaking RAKE is a children's Wal Mart Morphsuit? And not even an item under the same branding as that Salesman costume!?
There are, indeed, over a dozen "creepypasta" characters now set to go Trick or Treating across the United States, from at least two different manufacturers, and we're going to review some but not all of those currently available...
So what is that first one I stumbled across? I actually wasn't too familiar with this one myself; it's the kind of creepypasta story that feels fairly ordinary to me by now, but I can recognize that the concept of this being is a solid one, and this costume honestly looks great! It's actualy subtler than the being's description in the original story, which had sharp, yellow teeth. The eyes are the best part of this mask, perfectly circular and penetrating; much more unwholesome than the angry scowl given to most "serious" Halloween monster masks these days.
THE SALESMAN Story Here!)
This is the one I really can't believe exists. You can just go BUY a latex Halloween mask of a ghoulish Link from a "Haunted Video Game" internet tale now?? Really???! ...I guess it falls under parody, as far as copyrights are concerned, but I also wonder if the original author was ever contacted or got any money out of the existence of this. I'm going to say, probably not, since the stories were released under Creative Commons.
BEN DROWNED MASK (Story Here!)
Ben Drowned is kind of smirked at today, especially by older people, but there was a time when the idea of a cursed video game made for fresh, novel horror and this story in particular was considered genuinely chilling. It's a solid piece of modern horror history that went on to inspire a lot of other works, some of them pretty damn good!
Alright, this one I really never heard of until just this moment, and I have to admit I find this story 100% cornball. Jack's design and origins, too, are absurdly over the top, reminding me most of all of the Shinigami from Death Note or other anime villains. And yet, the story seems incredibly well received, and the hundreds of comments on it repeatedly call him one of their favorite Creepypasta monsters. I guess it's just like I was saying; most of them are probably kids, and they have a more earnest, untainted appreciation for things a lot of us adults might scoff at.
LAUGHING JACK (Story Here!)
I will say that I'm not sure if Jack's manga-villain goth clown design is really "official," i.e. exactly what the author intended, or just what caught on through fan art. The details all match up, yes, but from the story, I still get the impression of a slightly goofier-looking figure.
Laughing Jack's author should be proud of having created something that so many people have liked that much, especially for it to become famous enough that it gets a Halloween costume. That really is THE BIG LEAGUES for any original monster, I'd say, and kind of makes me want to try my own hand at a more "typical" or "old fashioned" creepypasta. The most viral one I've ever made was DAY OF ALL THE BLOOD, but that was a joke story, and doesn't even have a central monster! I totally dropped the ball!!!
Another Jack, huh? This one's also brand new to me, and the story is very straightforward, very typical in most ways. It's not one I'd have expected to catch on this well, but I think its popularity is owed heavily to that photograph, much like others here.
EYELESS JACK(Story Here!)
This really is an exquisitely unsettling image for how simple it is, and the idea that this thing just steals people's organs for no known purpose is pretty damn effective! I feel like this could have easily been one of the scariest I've ever read if it were just a little subtler and more atmospheric.
The costume, unfortunately, doesn't quite recreate the feel of the photo. The "design" is recreated right, but I think the eye sockets ought to be a lot larger, the face a little rounder, and the nose more prominent to really capture the same uncanniness. This is just me, though, being a monster snob again. Kids aren't gonna care, and it's pretty awesome that they can ask for a costume of a monster this seemingly obscure and specific.
This is under the Creepy Pasta costume branding, but I'm honestly not sure who he is, unless he's another take on Slenderman, or their own original monster. Most of the costumes have an official description that actually names the story they came from, but this one simply says "anyone who loves reading petrifying stories on Creepypasta is sure to love this Mr. Slim Mask." It definitely does feel like it's a Slenderman imitator since he's is actually copyrighted now, but while The Man of Slend has that plain, blank face I'm frankly just not that impressed by, "Mr. Slim" has a cool, stapled-up face that distorts where his mouth or nose have even gone off to, and his shiny, bulging, alien eyes really complete the look. They have a cold sadness to them that I think goes under-appreciated in monster design.
"MR. SLIM" ???
Wait, really? Zalgo? That's...weird. This is made by a different company than the other costumes on this page, in partnership with the company that owns "morphsuits" as a concept, and probably with no involvement from Zalgo's known original creator, which is not a subject I think anyone here needs to discuss and please don't do so in my comments. All we're here to say is just how strange it is that these obscure internet phenomenon can no longer be dismissed as such, and that this honestly is a damn cool looking costume, which gives the wearer a half-transparent effect against either very light or very dark surroundings, and the circular red-rimmed eyes look particularly cool. There's still no reason for it to be sold as "Zalgo" when the being has no particular design to my knowledge, but again, it's "interesting" at the very least.
Okay, this one's description lists "The Puppet Creepypasta," but Robbie here is not the puppet from The Puppet, which is another new one to me and actually a solid quality, admirably original piece. The story is accompanied by another wildly disquieting photograph, but that isn't the puppet in the story either, which specified big, bulging white eyeballs and huge, blocky teeth. I feel like "Robbie the Doll" is just another original creation they decided to put under their Creepypasta label because he feels like a Creepypasta character, and that's fine, honestly. He is a pretty ghastly looking wooden puppet, and he has those round fake eyeballs again that seem to be a signature of this company and work really well. I think the staples over the mouth might be a bit much, but as far as scary puppet, doll and dummy costumes go, this might be one of the best looking you could ask for, and I saw it, too, in children's size at Wal-Mart. Whether they know or care about creepypasta at all, I'm sure a lot of kids would love to be something this dreadful looking this year.
ROBBIE THE DOLL(Story Here!)
This one is definitely just an original monster in the "spirit" of Creepypasta, borrowing a little from the look and feel of Jeff the Killer or Smiledog but kind of doing its own thing. One costume store described this mask as looking like a scarier version of "Where the Wild Things Are," and that's definitely in the right ballpark, I think, because what I love about this mask is how "drawn" it looks. Even in three dimensions, it feels like a scratchy, scribbly painting or a monochrome crayon drawing. It's quite frankly badass.
NIGHTMARE MASK ???
Now this one's such a classic, I forgot it was even as recent as 2009. I could have sworn it was one of the oldest 'pastas there were! Unfortunately, it's one of those stories that I think should have ended about halfway through. I believe Kris Straub, the author of Candle Cove, holds the same opinion and has talked about it in more detail, but this story would have been chilling if it ended exactly on the line "We no longer want to be freed." The rest is so graphic and excessive that it just becomes totally silly, predictable and ultimately underwhelming, even back when I read it for the first time.
THE RUSSIAN SLEEP EXPERIMENT (Story Here!)
That said, this costume is quite unlike the picture that has long been loosely associated with the story, except for the presence of a straightjacket, which is imagery the horror genre really needs to move away from anyway, so if they kept only one thing similar it really ought to have been that ghastly, ghastly face. THAT said, the mouth of this mask is a lot cooler looking than most grody ghoul mouths I've seen of its type. The little, yellow teeth in the huge black gums are pretty damn effective!
This is a really obscure choice. I mean, isn't it? Or am I just out of the loop? There's no single creepypasta from which Grinny Cat originates, as it was literally just a feline counterpart to Smiledog. Why, then, is there no Smiledog mask? Back when I first saw "J. The Killer," I said a Smiledog would be killer, but still no dice! We got the kitty cat parody version first! It's not bad I guess, though this isn't a monster that ever had a single, iconic enough design to be too recognizable. It could kind of be almost any weird Cheshire Cat sort of character, but maybe that's for the best, since the original creator of Grinny Cat is confirmed to have not signed off on this at all. The amount of fan art in a quick google would imply that the character has a fandom and is still regularly searched for, so even if the design is totally different, manufacturers probably shouldn't be able to use the name itself.
THE GRINNY CAT
Oh wow, I can't believe this is another one I don't know already? Am I a creepypasta POSER?! This was apparently a 2011-2012 Alternate Reality horror, in that it was written like a series of "authentic" accounts, research and encounters regarding a child-eating monster. The Seed Eater (so named for the diet of kiddos) has no single official design, with depictions even within the blog varying from one witness sketch to another, probably because many of them are children themselves. Having now seen various interpretations, I think this mask by Ghoulish Productions is a solid, accurate general representation of the monster, even if my personal favorites are those with a more toothless, gas-mask-like muzzle. What I've read of the monster's lore so far doesn't especially stand out to me, but it is VERY cool looking and makes for a great horror mask!
THE SEED EATER (Story Here!)
Was this one authorized, though? Both the name and the design this time are pretty spot-on, like several of the others here. Was anything on this page authorized?
Wow! Damn! This actually looks freaky as hell! There's no avoiding a weirdly stretched, low-res look to any printed detals on a morphsuit, but that's exactly right for something that's supposed to look disturbingly "off," and works especially well for what actually is one of the oldest Creepypasta monsters. The first time I ever read The Rake, I remember it actually, successfully freaking me out a little, and I gotta say it still holds up. I think it's the nature of who's narrating the original story and why, the element of loss and emotional pain other than just a visceral fear of death that still works so well.
"THE RAKE" MORPHSUIT(Story Here!)
This is another take on a Jeff the Killer costume, and for those not in the know, Jeff the Killer is a creepypasta icon inspired by a single weird, distorted photograph of a face. I've never felt that the creepypasta really lives up to the eeriness of that image, and it's really something of a let-down that the character is simply a badly scarred, teenage serial killer. He is, however, enormously popular with kids who continue to make their own spin-off stories and fan-art, and while there might be a debate to be had over how safe or how healthy this is - we all know about that Slenderman incident - I think most children are interested in characters like this in an innocent enough way. Even when I was a child, talking pull-string Freddy Kreuger dolls flew off the shelves of Toys R' Us, and I think I'd much rather kids be into Jeff, more of a vengeful bogeyman who no longer knows what he's doing, than be into a canonical child predator like Kreuger.
"GO TO SLEEP" Mask (Story Here!)
Anyway, this costume is a pretty accurate take on the "original" Jeff photograph and named after his catchphrase, though I can't for the life of me remember when Jeff had braces. I guess if anybody needs them, it's this guy? Whether you know the reference or not, it's objectively one of the most horrific kid's-size costumes I've probably ever seen, and I'm sure that as we speak, there has to be at least one argument going on somewhere between a kid who really, really wants this to be their costume and an exasperated parent who really, really wants it to not be. Come on, let them have this. You're only a kid once!
There is of course also the "J. The Killer" mask from 2017, but my favorite of all is the above mask, which is cheaper than either of our other options, and looks the part. They did do a fantastic job on the "Go to Sleep" costume and deserve appreciation for that, but this ostensibly lower-quality option looks the closest to the crudely airbrushed JPEG that first went viral, and has a special sort of raw charm to it.
We're all done here now, and I think what we can get from all this are two things: one, that there's absolutely no divide anymore between "internet culture" and the rest of pop culture. And two, that the tastes of young children have pretty much saved Halloween and rejuvenated its relationship with horror.
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