The phenomenon of the OTT handcrafted celebrity Halloween costume is a lot more recent than you might have guessed. For most of the past century, it was still just a kids' holiday, even for those whose real-life job description is basically "play dress-up." You can actually find photos from Hollywood Halloween fundraisers in the '90s where actors dared to show up in civilian clothes, toting children with costumes that were clearly (the horror!) store-bought.
The change was slow. Then, it seemed to come all at once. In the late '90s, we can see celebs stepping up their game at Bette Midler's birthday party — which, incidentally, was one of the first places we got to see Martha Stewart's Halloween fanaticism beyond her magazine's pages. In 2000, Heidi Klum began holding her annual costume party; models, musicians, and actors have showed up to show off ever since. Then came the development of Twitter and Instagram. Now, even if they're nowhere near a red carpet in October, famous people give us glimpses of their cleverest getups.
Here, we present some of the absolute best celebrity Halloween costumes — an objective call we made based not on how good or hot they looked, but on originality, humor, and devotion to the holiday spirit. If we can see you in lycra and cat-eye makeup any day of the week, you best be sporting full-body prosthetics, unrecognizable makeup, or a geeky pun to make our list.
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