SAG-AFTRA’s Halloween Costume Guidelines, Explained

As of Saturday, October 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 in a way that doesn’t encourage strike work.

SAG-AFTRA was originally published Halloween related rules on Wednesday, October 18, advising members to “choose costumes inspired by general characters and figures (ghost, zombie, spider, etc.)” and not include “photos of costumes inspired by content encountered.” to publish on social media”. However, characters from non-struck film and television projects, such as: B. animated television shows are still permitted.

An orange, Halloween-themed poster outlining SAG-AFTRA guidelines for Halloween 2023.

SAG-AFTRA’s Halloween Guidelines for Members.
Photo credit: SAG-AFTRA

The rules drew opposition online from several union members, including Ryan Reynolds, who tweeted: “Looking forward to screaming ‘scabs’ at my 8 year old all night. She’s not in the union, but she needs to learn.”

On her Instagram story, Mandy Moore asked: “Is this a joke? Come @sagaftra. This is important? We ask that you negotiate in good faith on our behalf. So many people from all areas of this industry made huge sacrifices for months. Sit back at the table and get a fair deal so everyone can get back to work.

Former SAG-AFTRA President Melissa Gilbert also criticized the guidelines. post on Instagram: “That’s what you came up with? Literally no one cares what anyone wears for Halloween. I mean, do you really think this kind of childish stuff is going to end the strike? We look like a joke. Please tell me “We will repeal this rule… and negotiate! For God’s sake, people are suffering tremendously and that’s what you have to say…come on people…”

SAG-AFTRA responded to the backlash on Friday, October 20, clarifying that the rule was never intended for anyone’s children and that it was put in place specifically to address concerns from union members and content creators about how the Strike on Halloween can be supported.

In a statement, SAG-AFTRA said: “SAG-AFTRA has released a Halloween guide in response to questions from content creators and members about how they can support the strike during this festive season. This should help them avoid encouraging strike work, and it does.” This is the latest in a series of guidelines we have issued. It does not apply to anyone’s children. We are on strike for important reasons and have been for almost 100 days. Our top priority remains getting studios back to the negotiating table, so we can give our members a fair deal and finally get our industry back on track.”

Notably, these Halloween guidelines (and backlash) come at a time when SAG-AFTRA is still trying hard to negotiate with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). However, the last round of talks failed on October 12th SAG-AFTRA announced that “industry CEOs have walked away from the negotiating table after refusing to counter our latest offer,” which addressed concerns such as artificial intelligence and streaming revenue sharing. After 148 days of strike, the WGA managed to reach an agreement with the AMPTP on similar issues, setting the bar for continuing the SAG-AFTRA negotiations.

What do these Halloween guidelines and continued negotiations mean for you? Costume this year? Well, if you’re not at SAG-AFTRA or are a content creator who was specifically asked not to promote the canceled work, not much. Unless the strikers specifically ask the public not to dress up like characters from films and television shows that did the strike, you can still dress up as popular characters like Barbie or Wednesday.

There are other ways to show solidarity with striking actors. When it comes to Halloween, you can follow SAG-AFTRA’s advice and not post pictures of these costumes on social media. Elsewhere you can share your support online (see SAG-AFTRA’s social toolkit), connect a picket line of supportor donate to the Entertainment Community Fund.

Remember: There is nothing scarier this Halloween than an unfair contract.

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