The io9 Halloween Costume Show Gallery Is Here!


Happy Halloween, everybody! For the last month we’ve been asking you to share with us your devilishly delightful plans for costumed creeps this All Hallow’s Eve, and you’ve been spooking up a treat. Here’s just a few of our favorites from your wonderful entries.

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The Joker Looks Sicker Than Ever, Thanks to a Hollywood Legend


The Joker has gone through dozens of different looks over the last 70-odd years, with artists making him more horrific or cartoony as they re-imagine him. With a new bust depicting the Clown Prince of Crime, special effects make-up master Rick Baker joins the roster of creators who’ve tackled the DC Comics villain. Of…

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How Fear is the Path to Hope in Star Wars

Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.” Yoda, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

The underlying foundation of the Star Wars saga is defined by one single yet enormously important word: hope. Yet it’s often fear that propels the struggle to cling to hope, a hope running throughout almost every moment of Star Wars no matter how big or small.

Luke Skywalker stands alone on Ahch-To.

It’s fear that pushes Luke into self-imposed exile on Ahch-To, cutting himself off from the Force, after his failure to help Ben Solo, now Kylo Ren.

It’s the fear of losing his mother that nudges Anakin Skywalker down his path of self-destruction, fear that stokes his desire for Padmé and, in the end, fear of losing Padmé that costs him the love of his life, unleashing a plague of darkness on an unsuspecting galaxy.

It’s fear of discovery that drives Caleb Dume to abandon his identity and adopt a new life and name, Kanan Jarrus, in the aftermath of Order 66.

“I think fear is both an overt and underlying current in a lot of Star Wars storytelling,” says Charles Soule, author of several Marvel Star Wars comics, including the second volume of Darth Vader. “Even from the earliest days of the prequel trilogy, you hear Yoda talking about what fear leads to.”

Anakin comforts Padme. Darth Vader's mask is lowered for the first time.

Darth Vader, the living embodiment of fear for his enemies, is not so much guided by the emotion, but cursed by it. “Certainly his journey from Anakin to Darth Vader is about fear of losing control of himself, control of his life, losing Padmé– which obviously happens — and then after all that happens, it’s fear of facing up to what he’s done,” Soule says. “Vader … is strongly governed by fear and he’s supposed to be the cautionary tale of what fear will do to you if you give into it.”

No matter how you define fear — be it the modern definition of an unpleasant emotional response to a perceived danger or the ancient and archaic mix of dread and reverence — it’s a living, breathing part of Star Wars, paramount to all other emotions within the saga save, perhaps, for hope.

Fear, in the real world and the Star Wars universe, too, is immutable and immortal, a natural reaction in almost all living things to something they can’t understand, and an ever-present part of the Force, too. You can’t have Star Wars without fear. You can’t have tales of courage and valor or despair and dishonor, either.

Owen Lars feared for Luke Skywalker were he to discover his true history and lineage. Beru Lars feared for Luke’s hopes for the future. Old Ben Kenobi, he wasn’t to be trusted, always getting in the way, putting the Lars family at risk with his scattered involvement.

Obi-Wan Kenobi fights Maul for the last time.

For Obi-Wan Kenobi, his greatest fear was losing Luke, failing in his mandate to keep him safely ensconced away from prying eyes, loose lips and the omnipresent malevolence of not just Darth Vader but Darth Sidious. That fear drove Kenobi to endure years of a solitary life, punctuated by brief yet startling confrontations with Tusken Raiders and, of course, a final showdown with Darth Maul.

Fear is one of the strongest factors which propel the stories in Star Wars, no matter the era or the medium.

In A New Hope, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin and the Empire embrace fear while wielding what is believed to be the ultimate threat and power. “Fear will keep the local systems in line,” he tells his officers. “Fear of this battle station.”

Captain Phasma leads First Order troops in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Delilah S. Dawson, author of Star Wars: Phasma, showed how the fierce warrior made her way into the embrace of the First Order. Was it fear of losing that prestige and power and position that kept her motivated?

“Whether we fear dying, suffering, losing someone we love, or becoming something we dread, every character’s motivation is rooted in fear,” Dawson says. “For Phasma, she wouldn’t personally consider her primary motivation to be fear, and yet her life is dedicated to survival, which is basically the flip side of the coin of death. Outside of not wanting to die, she doesn’t want to go without again, to be hungry again, to have to make the tough choices that come with life on Parnassos. Of course the First Order and their promises of order and plenty would appeal to her.”

In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Jyn Erso beats back her apathy and fear of involvement to join with Cassian Andor and his team to not just find her father, but to steal the Death Star plans.

For those watching the films and television shows, for readers devouring page after page of novels and comics, playing the video games, the fear that our avatars within Star Wars experience is amplified, reflected even, upon us.

Luke Skywalker in the cave on Dagobah.

Consider Luke’s brush with the dark side in the cave as shown in The Empire Strikes Back. Sitting in a darkened theater, surprised by the sudden appearance of Darth Vader only to see Luke’s face within the cracked-open helmet, the image jarred audiences in 1980 and continues to shock in 2018.

Cavan Scott, author of some of IDW Publishing’s Star Wars Adventures and the recent five-issue miniseries Tales from Vader’s Castle, is using fear to drive the story, jumping from era to era and focusing on how it can affect characters’ motives and determination. Yet fear cannot exist without hope, he says.

“They have to coexist in a story otherwise there is no conflict and therefore no momentum. It’s fear that drives the story forward, fear that if you stop the bad guys will win, that you will lose those who are important to you and, often in Star Wars, that you will lose yourself,” he says. “But, for me, one of the greatest truths in Star Wars is that, no matter how scary a situation or a foe, whether it’s a giant monster or facing down an entire Imperial fleet, you are not helpless if you have each other. We need our heroes to face seemingly insurmountable odds for us to show that they gain strength — and hope — from each other.”

The cover of Tales from Vader's Castle #5.

Writing an all-age Star Wars comic that’s focused on scary events has some boundaries, but as Scott notes, “kids love to be scared.”

Still, there is a balance to be maintained, too.

For Scott, it provides a fulcrum on which to use differing levels of fear to tell a story that adults will find creepy and unsettling, yet without sending kids screaming from the room.

“Obviously, you have to be responsible and not push things as far as you would in a tale for adults. Also, with kids you can use humor to counterpoint the scares and ease the tension if need be,” he said. “And, as we’ve seen time and time again, humor and horror go hand-in-hand. Just look around the theater next time you see a horror movie. I can guarantee the audience will jump at a scare and then laugh, some of them nervously, of course, but it’s a laugh all the same.”

Much like Star Wars, where humor and being scared are often present together.

Ultimately, fear can be both an ally and enemy, in our everyday lives and in a galaxy far far away.

“I think fear is one of our most primal and important emotions. I think it drives us to do a lot of things and make a lot of choices, make a lot off decisions,” says Soule. “It keeps us away from things and pushes us toward things.”

Matt Moore is a writer and editor and co-creator/co-host of Comics With Kenobi, a weekly podcast detailing and discussing contemporary Star Wars comics from Marvel and IDW Publishing and their role in advancing the Star Wars saga.

How Fear is the Path to Hope in Star Wars

Star Wars Costumes of Halloweens Past

Since 1977, Star Wars and Halloween have been conjuring up a colorful connection like no other. Almost instantly, the film’s distinct wardrobe and imaginative character design flew off the screen, landing into the collective consciousness of trick-or-treaters and Halloween costumers. Appropriately enough, some of the earliest Star Wars licensees hawked Halloween-related goods. (Some are on display at Lucasfilm right now.)

This merchandise niche has since transformed into a creature of wampa-like proportions, with far too many product highlights to mention. To celebrate this frighteningly fun history, scares up a few of the ghosts of Halloweens past.

Ben Cooper Inc. Costumes

When the first Star Wars film arrived, Ben Cooper Inc. was the 800-pound pumpkin in the Halloween costume business. They specialized in simplistic and affordable kiddie outfits, each featuring vacuum-formed masks made of thin plastic, an elastic string on the back to keep it in place. The accompanying slip-on suit — made of either thin cloth or vinyl-like material — typically skipped any hint of realism with a bold, dynamic illustration of the character on the front.

Ben Cooper Star Wars Halloween masks.

Above and below: Ben Cooper Princess Leia costumes from Star Wars fan Justin Haynie’s personal collection.

Ben Cooper Princess Leia costumes.

“Instead of costuming and trying to represent the character, you were almost a walking billboard on Halloween, showing how big of a fan you were,” says Star Wars memorabilia collector Justin Haynie of Lawrenceville, Georgia.

In the late 1930s, Ben Cooper made its mark with a Mickey Mouse costume, and continued its decades-long success creating outfits based on popular kid-centric characters. By 1977, the company had enough foresight to snag the Star Wars license before the movie’s release.

That Halloween, not even five months after Star Wars hit, young fans were clamoring for Ben Cooper Star Wars gear, causing a shortage at some stores throughout the country. You could choose from Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and C-3PO.

Cheralyn Lambeth, ready to help R2-D2 deliver the Death Star plans.

Cheralyn Lambeth of Charlotte, North Carolina, was lucky enough to grab a Threepio costume that first Halloween, and wore it as part of a troop of candy-seeking friends, each donning their own Star Wars duds. More than 40 years later, Lambeth creates elaborate props for film, TV, and live events. Yet, she holds serious fangirl affection for that kitschy C-3PO costume, and still owns it today.

In tandem with the release of the original trilogy, Ben Cooper continued rolling out more Star Wars costumes, from Princess Leia to Boba Fett. Collectors often salivate over the four featuring Revenge of the Jedi (the original title of Return of the Jedi) branding on the costumes themselves: Wicket, Admiral Ackbar, Gamorrean Guard, and Klaatu.

Brann Dailor's vintage Star Wars Halloween masks.

Brann Dailor’s vintage Star Wars Halloween masks.

As a child, Brann Dailor, drummer for hard rock band Mastodon, fell under the spell of Star Wars Ben Cooper costumes. His mom had a knack for costume creation, so Dailor says he would often bypass the suit portion and pair the mask with homemade and found apparel and accessories. When rocking the Yoda mask, Dailor had a rubber snake, a walking stick, and a DIY robe. Bundling up bode well, he says, on cold Halloween nights in upstate New York.

“One Halloween I wore the Ben Cooper stormtrooper mask and white long underwear,” Dailor says. “We packed it with stuffing and used a black magic marker to draw the outlines of the armor.”

Today, the Grammy-winning musician keeps his original Ben Cooper masks in his Star Wars collection, alongside the popular Don Post stormtroooper and Darth Vader helmets from the late 1970s.

Don Post Studios

This company, whose namesake developed the first over-the-head latex mask, knew a screaming good opportunity when they saw one and became an early Star Wars licensee. The denizens of Lucasfilm’s galaxy fit right in alongside the ghouls, goblins, classic movie monsters, and other characters Post and his crew were immortalizing in latex.

The initial 1977 release featured Darth Vader and stormtrooper helmets, and C-3PO and Chewbacca masks. The latter, with its open-mouthed face, was discontinued after a 500-piece run. Unhappy with the likeness, Don Post Studios resculpted Chewie’s mug and gave the Wookiee a closed mouth for the 1978 version.

Long before online shopping, countless fans bought their masks via mail order ads found in the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland and other genre magazines. This included a then 13-year-old Bob Bean of Atlanta, Georgia, who deemed himself too old for Ben Cooper. After stocking up allowance money, Bean received his Vader helmet in time for Halloween.

“So I started making the rest of the costume myself,” recalls Bean, who now works as a professional prop maker in the entertainment industry. “I used vacuum cleaner parts to make a lightsaber, and my grandmother gave me an old cape.” You can see the most impressive results to the right.

An array of other Don Post masks followed, including a Yoda to coincide with the release of The Empire Strikes Back. The mask even scored a cameo in the trick-or-treat scene in 1982’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

Star Wars fan Blake Morgan in his Nute Gunray mask.

Send in the droids: Star Wars fan Blake Morgan in his Nute Gunray mask.

Up until 2000, Don Post Studios continued producing Star Wars masks, including characters from The Phantom Menace. These masks still attract teens, including 18-year-old Blake Morgan of Acworth, Georgia, whose collection not only stirs up his own Halloween spirit, but stokes the fires of his Star Wars fandom.

Morgan marvels at the attention to detail, from the tiny whiskers on Watto’s chin to Nute Gunray’s cloth headdress. “When you put on the Gunray mask and look through the lenses,” he says, “it gives you distorted vision as if you were him.”

The Tradition Continues

After more than four decades of Star Wars Halloween, today’s generation of trick-or-treaters carries the lightsaber. Like Vader and the Emperor, Star Wars and Halloween go together as the perfect pair. The cinematic series claims a Death Star-size niche within the season, forging its own kind of tradition within.

“People want to live in the Star Wars universe,” Haynie says, “and the costuming aspect of Halloween really plays into it.”

Jon Waterhouse is an award-winning journalist, radio show host, and performer whose byline has appeared in a variety of print and online publications including EsquireBlackBook, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and on He helms the geek travel blog

Star Wars Costumes of Halloweens Past

This Party Isn’t Over: Mace Windu Joins the Black Series

Prequel-era fans, raise your purple lightsabers and rejoice.

Mace Windu is coming to Hasbro‘s Star Wars: The Black Series line of 6-inch action figures, it was revealed today at Lucca Comics & Games in Italy. The Jedi Master who defeated Jango Fett and was the first to challenge the secret Sith Lord, Palpatine, Windu will arrive in spring 2019, marking the 20th anniversary of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. caught up with Steve Evans, design director at Hasbro, for commentary on the icon’s jump to figure form, as well as the recently announced Black Series battle droid and new additions to the 3.75-inch Star Wars: The Vintage Collection.

Mace Windu Star Wars: The Black Series figure with Jedi robes.

Mace Windu Star Wars: The Black Series figure.

“This figure is, personally, one of my favorite applications of Photo Real,” Evans says, referring to Hasbro’s new, highly-accurate painting technique for head sculpts. “Mace comes with full Jedi robe and, of course, his incredible purple lightsaber.”

B-1 battle droid Star Wars: The Black Series figure.

B-1 battle droid Star Wars: The Black Series figure.

“Time to army build and give your prequel Jedi and clones some battle fodder!” Evans says of the battle droid figure, announced on Sunday at MCM London Comic Con, and also coming spring 2019. “The coolest aspect of this figure is that it folds up, as seen in The Phantom Menace.” Roger roger.

R2-D2 Star Wars: The Vintage Collection figure.

R2-D2 Star Wars: The Vintage Collection figure.

Also first shown at MCM London Comic Con is a charmingly grimy R2-D2, based on his Star Wars: A New Hope appearance and set to arrive in the Vintage Collection in summer 2019. The reason for this release of the overweight glob of grease? “We want to bring new collectors into the Vintage Collection line that may not have been able to pick up classic and foundational characters,” Evans says. “Plus, the fact that R2-D2 has never been seen on an A New Hope cardback before.”

Poe Dameron Star Wars: The Vintage Collection figure.

Poe Dameron Star Wars: The Vintage Collection figure.

Finally, Poe Dameron flies his way to the Vintage Collection in fall 2019. Hasbro had several reasons for this new 3.75-inch iteration of the hotshot pilot. “I always liked the pilot figures, and Poe in The Force Awakens is so cool,” Evans says, “but we always wanted to do a better job with his face deco. Bringing Poe to the Vintage Collection for the first time on a cool new The Force Awakens cardback AND being able to give him PhotoReal face deco at 3.75-inch scale was an obvious choice.”

In case you missed it, check out’s features on Padmé Amidala coming to the Black Series and the return of Black Series favorites in the upcoming Archive Collection.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

This Party Isn’t Over: Mace Windu Joins the Black Series