No Barbie or Ken: Hollywood writers' union Halloween rules annoy stars

Union shared strict guidelines for actors who want to dress up for the holiday

Ryan Gosling as Ken and Margot Robbie as Barbie in Barbie. Looks from the summer hit are one of the top Halloween costume choices this year. Photo: Warner Bros
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Hollywood actors will have to think differently when picking out their Halloween costumes this year.

The Screen Actors Guild, or Sag-Aftra, which represents 160,000 performers including A-list stars, recently shared its "strike compliant" guide to celebrate the holiday.

The actors' union announced a strike in July that began due to failed negotiations with the major studios over dwindling pay and the threat posed by artificial intelligence. Talks to end the strike, which has now lasted 100 days, are set to resume on Tuesday.

Some of the rules shared by Sag-Aftra for this year’s Halloween include choosing generic costumes rather than dressing as a specific character "to stay in solidarity with the strike".

"Dress up as characters from non-struct content, like an animated TV show," one of the pointers reads.

But some celebrities were none too pleased.

Mandy Moore, who voices Rapunzel in Disney’s Tangled, shared her thoughts on Instagram, saying: "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."

Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds also mocked the rules with a post on X.

"I look forward to screaming 'scab' at my 8-year-old all night. She’s not in the union but she needs to learn," he posted. A scab is someone who breaks strike rules or crosses picket lines.

The reactions led to Sag-Aftra issuing a follow-up statement, which said that their rules did not apply to the children of actors.

"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," it said.

The strike has disrupted film and television production, leaving thousands of crew members without work, as well as the actors.

Members of Sag-Aftra are seeking a deal with the Alliance for Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates on behalf of studios.

Updated: October 22, 2023, 11:31 AM