Celeb Halloween costumes are their own micro-content economy. Famous people blow a rent cheque on extravagant outfits that they wear for one immaculate photoshoot, make a TikTok friendly joke, and then promptly give their PA a mountain of fabric and fake blood to put in storage forever. And content being what it is, one lewk isn’t enough: there’s gotta be a perfect trifecta of cosplays to fill out magazine listicles that mould over like a jack-o-lantern within a day. (If you’re wondering why I’m writing this in the first week of November: no you’re not.)
When you’re famous, Halloween costumes are like a window into the soul. Almost nobody really does spooky or scary anymore. Instead it’s a chance to look hot in various different pop culture references. But who you pick speaks volumes. So let’s analyze this year’s trio of choices from noted that bitch, Lizzo.
First, Lizzo did what seems to be a low-effort version of Chrisean Rock. This is “low effort” in that it looks the most like what a regular person might wear at Halloween: clothes you already own, make-up to sell it, a fit you can hang out and play beer pong in. Do I know who Chrisean Rock is? No. Did I find out for the purpose of writing this column? Well, she has 1.7 million Instagram followers and lists “email@example.com” for bookings and inquiries, so she’s a woman who will not pay GoDaddy for a domain name and I respect that.
But then we get to the spicy costumes. Lizzo decided to embody two unorthodox sex symbols from earlier times: suburban mom-of-three and one-time Playboy cover star Marge Simpson, and camp felt-puppet icon Miss Piggy.
As Marge, Lizzo painted her skin yellow and donned a trademark towering blue updo. The green dress, red shoes and red necklace sold the look, as did cartoonish make-up with bold black and white lines. But Lizzo’s body language proved nothing like Marge’s. She beamed and snickered. When wagging a finger in imitation of Marge’s stern nagging, she looked amused. The whole post is goofy. That’s the point.
Marge has always been a parody of 1950s killjoy housewives, transplanted into the ‘90s where she didn’t really fit, further removed from a nostalgia-fuelled past with every year that passes. Her demure front always hid a wild side, like short stints as a cop or model. Lizzo’s Marge was delightfully silly, clowning on propriety.
You know Marge would’ve been hmm-ing at Lizzo playing slave-owner James Madison’s crystal flute, or hiding her eyes at the sight of Lizzo twerking joyously to “Juice” while secretly wanting to join in. Lizzo’s Marge took all the fun Marge wished she was having and wrote it large.
Or this could all be overthinking, as her caption — “I AM HIM — HIMMY NEUTRON — MARGE HIMPSON” is a popular TikTok sound. Painting yourself yellow for a meme? Power play.
And then the pièce de résistance: Lizzo as a “W.A.Piggy.” In a mirror-house of references, Lizzo lay wrapped in a huge python, wearing nothing but a blonde wig and porcine prosthetics to embody Miss Piggy. The image comes from a 2005 photo of the naked porky puppet posed the same way, which itself was a reference to a 1981 portrait of actor and model Natassja Kinski.
“A tribute to my forever icon, MISS PIGGY. The epitome of grace, style, confidence and a warrior for love,” read Lizzo’s Instagram caption.
Whereas Marge is repressed, Miss Piggy is voluminous. Everything about her is extra: her lashes, her first-person “moi”, her karate chop, her confident self-delusion that nobody in the room matters more than she does. Marge is the voice of reason in a chaotic cartoon world, while Miss Piggy brings the drama everywhere she goes. She’s underappreciated, teased, mocked — but true to her big, brash, bold self.
“Fame is pretty new, but I’ve been used to people judgin’ me,” Lizzo sings on “Special”, the title track of her most recent album. “That’s why I move the way I move and why I’m so in love with me.”
Nobody loves themself more than Miss Piggy. She’s not a warrior for loving an on-again off-again frog who, in British parlance, is a bit of a muppet. She’s a warrior for loving herself.
If Halloween is a chance for celebs to present a socials-friendly thesis statement, then Lizzo says she’s grounded, silly and sexy. She’s someone who knows her worth, no matter what. And what’s worth more than 988,000 Instagram likes (and counting)?
Now if you’ll excuse her, she’s got a lot of yellow paint to get cleaned up.
Lizzo plays Rogers Arena on Monday (November 7).