What's the point in playing a gig on Halloween if don’t hit the local costume shop first? All manner of bands have decked themselves out in all manner of weird and wonderful outfits as part of their All Hallows Eve celebrations. Here are 10 of the very best.
Limp Bizkit as Guns N’ Roses
Another band who went down the 80s rock route, Limp Bizkit gave it their best Guns N’ Roses impression at a show in Perth, Australia, with Fred Durst donning full Axl Rose get up and the band kicking things off with Welcome To The Jungle before seguing into Rollin’. Bonus entry: Bizkit got a little Halloween love themselves in 2019, when pop-punks The Wonder Years covered Break Stuff, while sporting Durst-approved red caps and bucket hats at a pre-Halloween show of their own.
Killswitch Engage’s Adam D as a slice of pizza
As part of their run of three Monster’s Mosh shows in 2014, metalcore titans Kiillswitch Engage embraced ghoulish skeletons, demons, 80s rock gear, luchadors and in the case of guitarist Adam D, that most common Halloween fancy dress ideas, a slice of pizza. At least he was more mobile than the time he dressed up as a rubbish bin.
Metallica’s James Hetfield as Elvis
Metallica’s St Anger sessions were notoriously fraught, but it wasn’t all therapists and rehab. Three days before Halloween, James Hetfield decided to dress up as Elvis Presley and knock out quick karoake version of Suspicious Minds. It was fairly brief, but at least Papa Het put in more effort than he dd for the Halloween performance captured on 2009’s Quebec Magnetic DVD, which amounted to little more than a skull mask.
Bring Me The Horizon as the Village People
Oli Sykes and co like dressing up for Halloween onstage and off. While BMTH’s wardrobe has featured skeletons, demons, superheroes and, uh, Adolf Hitler (not a good look, guys), Peak Halloween came at a 2020 show in Las Vegas when they dressed as 70s disco kings The Village People. And yes, they did the YMCA dance.
Parkway Drive as a hair metal band
Headlining a bill that included a costumed Miss May I and Thy Art Is Murder’s CJ wearing a dress, Parkway Drive took those Dokken comparisons on 2015’s Ire up a notch for Halloween 2015, dressing in full 80s hair metal gear. Due to the ludicrous amount of pyro they now use we can’t see them repeating this anytime soon, given how hot it is wearing wigs and their general fire hazardness.
Korn as Stormtroopers and Olaf from Frozen
Another band that annually raids the local costume shop, dressing up as Motley Crue, Rick James, Bootsy Collins and often girls in skirts (well Head does). But it’s the sight of Olaf from Frozen and a Stromtrooper rocking out to devastating opener Blind in Oakland in 2015 that exemplifies the whole notion of bands dressing up for Halloween shows in all its absurd glory.
Tool’s Adam Jones as a luchador
Every day is Halloween for Maynard James Keenan, costume-wise. So hats off to guitarist and massive wrestling fan Adam Jones for upstaging his bandmate on Halloween 2016 at a show in Little Rock, Arkansas by taking the stage dessed as AEW luchador Pentagon Jr.
Machine Head as a banana, a basketball player and Dracula
One of the entertainingly jarring things Halloween gigs is watching bands playing deadly serious songs while dressed in ridiculous gear. Take Machine Head, whose blistering version of Now We Die at 2018 show was slightly undercut by the fact it was being played by men dressed as Dracula, a basketball player, a banana and, in the case of Robb Flynn, a cute little red dress. Mind you, given that Phil Demmell and Dave McClain had announced they were leaving just a couple of weeks before, you can’t blame them for trying to get laughs wherever they could.
Avenged Sevenfold in skeleton, zombie and Scream masks
The tour in support of 2010’s Nightmare album was pretty spooky in itself, what with all the skulls and cemetery gates. So we can forgive Avenged Sevenfold for not going the full Halloween when they hit London on October 31 – skull, zombie and Scream masks are fine, but they’re not a giant slice of pizza, are they?
Pantera as Kiss
With their iconic make-up and costumes, Kiss own Halloween (well, they don’t, but you can bet Gene Simmons has looked into it). Everyone from Papa Roach to Stone Temple Pilots has taken the stage on Halloween night dressed as the New Yorkers. But the clear winner are Pantera, who met Kiss in 1997… while wearing full Kiss make-up. OK, so it wasn’t actually Halloween but still, the spirit’s there.