How Heidi Klum became the undisputed queen of celebrity Halloween

Composite of three Heidi Klum Halloween costumes from 2022, 2019, 2013
Left to right: 2022, 2019, 2013. Photo credit: Getty Images

By Kristen Rogers of CNN

For over two decades now, Heidi Klum has served up tricks, treats and ever-outlandish ensembles to retain her title as the queen of celebrity Halloween costumes, arriving at her annual bash on or in gurneys, spaceships, biohazard trucks and clouds of smoke.

And that's before we even get to the looks themselves.

When the German model first moved to the United States in 1993, she "immediately fell in love with Halloween and the spookiness of it," Klum told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018. "All that was missing was a fantastic party. It felt like a real opportunity for me."

In the years since, Klum has spent hundreds of hours in, and likely hundreds of thousands of dollars on, hair, makeup and prosthetics preparing for her star-studded festivities, dedicated to her goal of doing for Halloween what nobody has dared do before.

"I have sleepless nights over Halloween; you have no idea," Klum told People magazine earlier this month. "I can't rehearse this; it's only on the day. I always hope that it works out."

Musing over what her next costume will be often begins the day after Halloween, she told THR, because of both enthusiasm and needing ample time to construct such elaborate costumes.

We've yet to see what Klum has up her sleeve this spooky season, though she did tell Entertainment Tonight that "it's going to be very colourful, and super big." For now, then, here are some of her most iconic Halloween looks from years past - from 2022 dating back to the early aughts.

2022: The worm

Last Halloween, Klum wriggled and writhed into her annual party as a very realistic earthworm, with only her eyes peeking through the sculptural worm-suit itself. (She later changed into a sheer bedazzled bodysuit for the party - lest she be limited to doing the worm on the dance floor - but left her facial prothesis on.)

Klum's husband Tom Kaulitz accompanied her on the red carpet dressed as a fisherman with a ghoulish twist - a prosthetic eyeball hanging from his socket.

Heidi Klum is seen on October 31, 2022 in New York City.
Photo credit: Getty Images

2019: The skin graft zombie

Perhaps one of Klum's creepiest costumes, her 2019 look saw her dressed in a head-to-toe bodysuit resembling a decomposing body - scarred and visceral, flayed in parts and with an exposed brain - seemingly revivified by cables and other surgical bits.

Klum and Kaulitz - a zombified astronaut, naturally - arrived together in a biohazard truck.

Heidi Klum's 20th Annual Halloween Party presented by Amazon Prime Video and SVEDKA Vodka, Inside, Cathedral Restaurant at Moxy East Village Hotel, New York, USA - 31 Oct 2019
Photo credit: Getty Images

2018: The ogre

In 2018 Klum and Kaulitz dressed as animated movie stars Fiona and Shrek, respectively, in costumes so realistic it was as if they had walked off a character parade float at Universal Studios. 

2017: The 'Thriller' werewolf

Back in 2017, Klum paid homage to Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' music video by recreating the werewolf look Jackson transformed into in the music video's movie-within-a-movie opening scene. As well as meticulously copying the clothes Jackson wore in the video, the costume also incorporated prosthetics, so Klum's werewolf face moved with her own features. (Klum's zombie entourage, also pictured above, referenced the second horror movie trope referenced in 'Thriller'.)

2016: The clones

Technically this wasn't a costume "on" Klum, because she came to her party dressed as herself. Her Halloween twist, though, came with her plus-one - or plus-five, rather: a group of models she enlisted to appear as clones, using eerily-accurate prosthetics and identical outfits.

2015: The cartoon bombshell

Halloween is often synonymous with "sexy," and in 2015 Klum went as one of Hollywood's most iconic sex symbols, Jessica Rabbit - a costume both realistic and yet also so quintessentially cartoonish. The costume's two hours-long removal at the end of the night - which cost her some of her own skin - called for a nail polish remover-like substance and a chisel, Klum told People magazine.

2014: The butterfly

As a longtime Victoria's Secret Angel, Klum had spent years wearing wings for the lingerie brand's annual Fashion Show, but never ones quite like this. For her 2014 party, Klum become a butterfly - with wings hand-painted by artisans who'd worked on Victoria's Secret Angels' wings. Her glowing bugs' eyes were powered by batteries placed inside the mask, near her real eyes.

2013: The senior citizen

Klum aged herself by a few decades for this Halloween costume. From head to toe, she was made unrecognizable with layers upon layers of makeup and prosthetics that gave her wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots and yellow teeth. (Nonetheless, she donned an elegant tweed twinset, paired with a paisley blouse, pearls and a tan handbag.)

"Just going into my future is what I wanted to do for myself," she told Yahoo Entertainment in 2022. "I wanted to, like, look in the mirror and be like, 'OK, I want to see, you know, what I might look like when I'm like in my 80s."

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Heidi Klum attends the 2013 Heidi Klum Halloween Party at Marquee on October 31, 2013 in New York City.
Photo credit: Getty Images

2011: The flayed body - and the ape

A predecessor of sorts to her alien zombie look, Klum in 2011 wore a body suit (and matching face paint) designed to look like the human body sans skin. She made a grand entrance to her first of two parties that year in Las Vegas rolling in on a gurney pushed by two people dressed as bloody doctors.

But that wasn't all - in her second look for a party in New York City, Klum and then-husband Seal donned outfits inspired by the Planet of the Apes films.

"We didn't really think about, you know, going to the bathroom," Klum told Yahoo Entertainment of the costumes. "It was very tricky."

2010: The glam robot 

In preparation for her red and purple costume that transformed her into a Transformers-worthy robot, for days Klum practiced walking on stilts in her backyard, she told People magazine. "It was amazing, though, because I was so tall and I could just tower over everyone," Klum said - until she'd had a few drinks.

2006: The Garden of Eden

Then nine months pregnant with her third child, Klum and then-husband Seal dressed as the biblical forbidden fruit (wrapped by the serpent, no less) and Eve, respectively. The original sin here, though, is the lack of effort put into Seal's ensemble.

2004: The vampire witch

In a testament to just how over-the-top Klum's costumes have become, it's telling that her 2004 look - a sexy vampire witch costume which featured a voluminous wig, oversize witch's hat, knee-high boots and blood red makeup - now seems positively understated. "I was rigged from the ceiling and then I was flying over all the people like 'Happy Halloween ha ha ha' on my broom with a skeleton on my back," she told People of her grand entrance to that year's party.

Since she wanted a full, realistic skeleton, Klum bought one from a supply store for doctor's office materials.

2003: The gold-grilled E.T.

At her 2003 party, Klum made her arrival by exiting a golden spaceship, dressed as a cyberpunk-style golden alien. Reminiscent also of the Grecian god Hermes, her look featured gold armor and boots with leaf accents, golden belt detailing, gold body glitter, a golden grill and gold ribbons woven into her long braids.

2001: The Anglo-Saxon legend

In 2001, Klum dressed as the 11th-century Anglo-Saxon gentlewoman Lady Godiva. Though the eponymous legend told of Godiva's naked ride through the English town of Coventry on horseback, Klum covered up, wearing a white bodysuit with crystalline detailing. She added a long blonde wig.

"I was always looking for something that I hadn't seen, and so I was Lady Godiva," Klum told People magazine. "I came on a horse, obviously. It was a police horse from New York City."