Can you still dress up as your favorite movie character?
Credit: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images
As of Saturday, Oct. 21, SAG-AFTRA has been on strike for 100 days. And with Halloween just around the corner, the actors’ union has issued guidelines on how union members can celebrate and dress up in a way that doesn’t promote struck work.
SAG-AFTRA initially posted Halloween-related rules on Wednesday, Oct. 18, advising members to “choose costumes inspired by generalized characters and figures (ghost, zombie, spider, etc)” and not to “post photos of costumes inspired by struck content to social media.” However, characters from non-struck film and TV projects, like animated TV shows, are still allowed.
SAG-AFTRA’s Halloween guidelines for members. Credit: SAG-AFTRA
The rules were met with online pushback from several union members, including Ryan Reynolds, who tweeted, “I look forward to screaming ‘scab’ at my 8 year old all night. She’s not in the union but she needs to learn.”
Tweet may have been deleted On her Instagram Story, Mandy Moore asked, “Is this a joke? Come on @sagaftra. This is what’s important? We’re asking you to negotiate in good faith on our behalf. So many folks across every aspect of this industry have been sacrificing mightily for months. Get back to the table and get a fair deal so everyone can get back to work.”
Former SAG-AFTRA president Melissa Gilbert also criticized the guidelines, posting on Instagram: “THIS is what you guys come up with? Literally no one cares what anyone wears for Halloween. I mean, do you really think this kind of infantile stuff is going to end the strike? We look like a joke. Please tell me you’re going to make this rule go away… and go negotiate! For the love of God, people are suffering mightily and this is what you have to say… c’mon guys…”
SAG-AFTRA responded to the backlash on Friday, Oct. 20, clarifying that the rule was never meant for anyone’s children, and that it was specifically put in place to address concerns from union members and content creators about how to support the strike over Halloween.
In a statement, SAG-AFTRA said: “SAG-AFTRA issued Halloween guidance in response to questions from content creators and members about how to support the strike during this festive season. This was meant to help them avoid promoting struck work, and it is the latest in a series of guidelines we have issued. It does not apply to anyone’s kids. We are on strike for important reasons, and have been for nearly 100 days. Our number one priority remains getting the studios back to the negotiating table so we can get a fair deal for our members, and finally put our industry back to work.”
Notably, these Halloween guidelines (and the backlash) come during a time when SAG-AFTRA is still very much trying to negotiate with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). However, the most recent round of talks broke down on Oct. 12, when SAG-AFTRA announced that “industry CEOs have walked away from the bargaining table after refusing to counter our latest offer,” which addressed concerns like artificial intelligence and streaming revenue share. After 148 days on strike, the WGA were able to reach a deal with the AMPTP involving similar issues, setting the bar for the continued SAG-AFTRA negotiations.
So what do these Halloween guidelines and continued negotiations mean for your own costume this year? Well, if you’re not in SAG-AFTRA or a content creator who’s been specifically asked not to promote struck work, not much. Unless those on strike specifically ask the public not to dress like characters from struck film and TV, you can still dress up as popular figures like Barbie or Wednesday.
You can show solidarity for striking actors in other ways. Halloween-wise, you can choose to follow SAG-AFTRA’s advice of not posting images of said costumes on social media. Elsewhere, you can share your support online (check out SAG-AFTRA’s social toolkit), join a picket line as a supporter, or donate to the Entertainment Community Fund.
Remember: This Halloween, there’s nothing scarier than an unfair contract.
Belen Edwards is an Entertainment Reporter at Mashable. She covers movies and TV with a focus on fantasy and science fiction, adaptations, animation, and more nerdy goodness.