Halloween howlers: 2018's worst costumes, and what happened to the people who wore them

Pick the wrong Halloween costume and you might find yourself out of a job, suspended from school or begging for the public's forgiveness.

A number of people this year have found that out the hard way. Here's a round-up of this year's worst Halloween costumes, and what happened to those who wore them.


Several Americans dressed up in blackface this year, either unaware or not caring how offensive it is.

Shelbi Heenan, a nurse in Kansas City, lost her job after she and her husband Jasmond dressed as music stars Beyonce and Jay Z.

Shelbi Elliott-Heenan/Facebook
Photo credit: Shelbi Elliott-Heenan/Facebook

"On Monday afternoon, Saint Luke's Health System became aware of a Saint Luke's East Hospital employee who posted photos on personal social media accounts of her and another individual dressed in blackface for what appears to be a Halloween event," her former employer said in a statement, according to local media.

"While it is against Saint Luke's policy to comment on specific personnel matters, we can confirm that this individual is no longer a Saint Luke's employee."

It's not clear if her husband, a Costco employee, suffered the same fate.

Meanwhile, a UPS employee in Sharonville, Ohio was fired after 25 years of service after she arrived for work dressed as a mammy. A co-worker said on Facebook management "marched her ass right out of there", reports the Daily Mail.

She's reportedly going through her union to try and get her job back.

A British mother has refused to apologise after painting her three-year-old daughter totally black from head-to-toe to impersonate a "beach trader".

Claire Flynn/Facebook
Photo credit: Claire Flynn/Facebook

"If people want to be all PC about it they need to take a look at themselves - it's really not an issue," she told Scottish paper the Daily Record.

"It's a kid in a costume wearing facepaint. People need to get a grip… People dress up as Jimmy Saville and and no one calls them a paedophile and the people who dress up as Hitler don't get called supporters of Nazi propaganda either."

Other blackface costumes were reported in Massachusetts, where a white student showed up to a party dressed as a black character from comedy film White Chicks; and in San Diego, where three staff members and a sports coach have been suspended after dressing up as members of the Jamaican bobsled team made famous in the film Cool Runnings.

Jimmy Savile

A Leeds United supporter dressed as paedophile necrophiliac Jimmy Savile was cheered on by fans, hoisted into the air. Horrified fans of the football club expressed dismay on social media, while defenders said the cheering was "ironic", reports the Daily Mail.

Twitter/JonLUFC94/Getty Jimmy Savile
Photo credit: Twitter/JonLUFC94/Getty


Fourteen employees at an Idaho elementary school have been placed on leave after showing their support for US President Donald Trump by dressing up as Mexicans and a wall, reports the Washington Post.

Half wore stereotypical 'Mexican' fare, such as sombreros, ponchos, maracas and fake mustaches, while the others dressed as patriotic American symbols such as the Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam. The latter group also carried parts of a wall, which when put together spelled out 'Make America Great Again'.

"I want to say we are better than this," said superintendent Josh Middleton. " Do I think that there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don't. Was there a poor judgment involved? Absolutely. And we now have to own those decisions."

Columbine killers

Two female students in Kentucky have been suspended after showing up to school in outfits similar to those worn by Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, who infamously gunned down 13 people at a Colorado high school nearly 20 years ago.

"They pretty much had on all black with fake blood on their faces," a student told USA Today. "At the time, it wasn't really scary because they didn't have weapons or anything, but the whole thing was really weird."

Columbine halloween
Photo credit: Instagram/supplied

No one was quite sure who they were meant to be until one of them said, "We're the school shooters."

"It wasn't the costumes that freaked people out," the student told USA Today. "It was when they started telling everyone and posting photos on social media that things really got out of hand."

Arab terrorist

Brazilian footballing star Rafinha has apologised after attending a Halloween event with his teammates, dressed in Saudi-style headwrap and carrying a box of fake explosives.

His club Bayern Munich appeared to have no problem with his choice of costume,tweeting it out to their 4.5 million followers.

Bayern Munich/Twitter
Photo credit: Bayern Munich/Twitter

They later deleted it, and Rafinha said it was "not my intention to anger anyone through my disguise or hurt someone's feelings".

Ku Klux Klan

A man wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit, complete with Confederate flag, was kicked out of a Mississippi bar's Halloween party, Fox News reported.

One of the bar's owners told local media there were several black customers at the party, and the man's costume was "garbage".

Hitler skeleton

This one's not a costume, but fits the bill. A Florida family put up a Halloween display consisting of a skeleton doing Adolf Hitler's 'seig heil' salute. It had concentration camp identification numbers on its arms, and a Star of David on its chest.

Adding insult to injury, the slogan 'Arbeit Macht Frei' appeared on a sign next to the skeleton - the phrase, which translates to 'work will set you free', was displayed at the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

NBC hitler skeleton
Photo credit: NBC

The owner of the house told local media she is Jewish, and made the offensive display to protest her local homeowner association, which she says is trying to take her house.

Big knife

A 10-year-old boy was sent home after teachers found a massive plastic knife in his bookbag.

Danny Fine, a fifth-grader, said he didn't even know it was there. He told CBS he's angry about the three-day suspension because he has a test he needs to be ready for.

Frankenstein lynching

Another display rather than a costume, but shocking nonetheless - a Frankenstein hanging from a tree with a rope around its neck.

NBC frankenstein lynching
Photo credit: NBC

As shocked neighbours pointed out, "from far away it looks like something different".

Doc Brown

Host of NBC's Today show Al Roker offended some on social media by portraying Back to the Future character Emmett 'Doc' Brown in a sketch. Roker is black, while Christopher Lloyd - the actor who portrayed Doc in the trilogy - is white.

Reuters Al Roker
Photo credit: Reuters

But as Roker pointed out, he didn't go whiteface.

"I can be Doc Brown, and I wear the outfit and wig and not change my skin colour," he wrote on Twitter. "If you're white , you can be President Obama if you want. Just don't colour your skin!"

Ironically, Lloyd himself has been accused of doing blackface when he portrayed a Klingon commander in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.