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  • October 08, 2023 7 min read 0 Comments

    As we make our way into October, I can’t help but enjoy the Halloween season. It’s not that I’m a thrill-seeking, horror film aficionado. Rather, I merely love the four C’s I associate with the time of year: the colors, the climate, the candy, and the costumes. It’s Fall, the leaves are changing colors, pumpkin decorations are everywhere, pumpkin flavored everything is now available for sale, and of course the annual trick or treating tradition is rapidly approaching.

    While I forwent the practice of trick or treating long ago, I still find the occasional excuse to dress up in a modest Halloween costume in order to immerse myself in the holiday. It also helps to have two young children, who also dress up and go door to door seeking out candy from strangers.

    To honor one of my favorite holidays, this week I’m going to explore eight classic Magic cards with artwork that would make for fantastically spooky Halloween costumes! My focus will be on cards printed before 1995, so stick with me and you just may see a new card or two that you’ve never seen before!

    The Fallen

    The Fallen

    Originally printed in The Dark and reprinted in Chronicles, this black creature has got to be one of the creepiest in the game. Is it so far-fetched to envision having a nightmare where there’s an ominous, slow knocking at your front door, you open it up only to find this figure standing there, hunched over? Even the ability is ominous—if The Fallen damages an opponent just once, that opponent is doomed to take damage from this creature for the rest of the game!

    The flavor implies that once you are hit by The Fallen, you are permanently impacted. There’s no going back from a confrontation with this creature. Jesper Myrfors hits all the details just right to make this a truly haunting image: the long, disheveled hair, the oversized pointy teeth set in a wide, malicious grin, and the red pinpoint eyes. The image is not only frightening, but also surprisingly feasible from a Halloween costume standpoint!

    Rag Man

    rag man

    Sticking with The Dark, next on my list is Rag Man, the 2/1 creature with an awkwardly worded discard ability. First you look at the opponent’s hand, and then they discard a creature at random. I guess the wording had to be this way so you can confirm your opponent is being honest about the number of creatures in their hand. It’s also interesting to see that this ability can be played at instant speed, albeit only on your turn.

    Abilities aside, imagine being in the second story of the building on the right side of Daniel Gelon’s artwork (the one with the lighted windows), looking outside, and seeing this dark, decrepit figure lurking about. The artist chose not to show the face of the hooded figure, which makes it even more intimidating somehow. Do you think Rag Man has a skeletal visage? Perhaps his face is also bandaged up just like his arm. The imagination fills in the blank.

    The scariest part of the figure just may be his creepy-looking hand…or should I say, claw? I don’t want to know what he can do with such appendages. Once again, the figure is humanoid and would make for a fantastically scary Halloween costume!



    From Irish folklore, a Banshee is a female spirit who heralds death of a family member. She is frequently associated with an ear-piecing screech (e.g., “to scream like a banshee). Jesper Myrfors strikes gold yet again with his depiction of the creature from The Dark. Like with The Fallen, this creature also has red, glowing eyes. That’s where the similarities end, however, as this creature instills discomfort in a very different way from The Fallen.

    First off, its hand gesture is an ominous one: the Banshee is out to get you, and her arms are positioned in such a way as to indicate it is going to grab you! The eyes are piercing, but what’s even creepier is the fact that you can’t see the rest of her face! Her hooded garb hides the rest of her features, which may be for the best because banshees are known to have a ghastly complexion.

    This Halloween costume is also straightforward enough: some red lights for the eyes, a white sheet to drape over your head and body, and a mask of sorts to hide the rest of your face, and you have yourself a makeshift banshee costume. Just try not to get too close to any family members you like…

    Headless Horseman

    headline horseman mtg

    It’s no secret that Wizards of the Coast derived this Magic card directly from Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In fact, the flavor text of the card is a direct quote from the story (and a chilling one at that)! “…The ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head…he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast…”

    Quinton Hoover is one of the greatest Magic artists of all time. His work on Headless Horseman is phenomenal, from the details of the creature’s costume to the full moon lingering in the background. This character needs no deeper explanation—the headless horseman is a well-known mythical figure whose legend has been around since the Middle Ages. I assume headless costumes have been around for many years already, but it may be a nice twist to use some elements from the Magic card to inspire a unique take on the classic costume.

    Uncle Istvan

    uncle istvan mtg

    I suppose it’s fitting that The Dark is riddled with disturbing figures and scary creatures. The set is called “The Dark” after all, so we’d expect dark creatures abound!

    Sure enough, here’s another one that’s actually a human! In fact, Wizards of the Coast errata’d this card to have the human creature type, since Uncle Istvan tribal was never going to be a thing. I remember seeing this card from time to time when I started playing because it was reprinted in Fourth Edition, and was therefore readily available. Just because we had copies of the card didn’t mean we actually played them though—a creature that survives combat 99% of the time is pretty good on defense, but the fact that the creature was four mana (triple black!) for a 1/3 didn’t really inspire any offense.

    Daniel Gelon’s artwork, on the other hand, inspires a lot of things! Namely intimidation with a little bit of fear. To make this costume work, you’d have to purchase the ax, paint the tip red to denote blood, and then tie a skull and a couple bones onto it. The rest of the costume would be relatively straightforward: a long beard, a heavy coat (I’d recommend using faux fur), and a trepidatious snarl and you’ll be set for trick or treating!

    Northern Paladin

    northern paladin mtg

    I’ve been dwelling quite a bit on dark, frightening creatures, but Halloween costumes don’t always have to be horror-inspired. For a nice change of pace, I put forth Northern Paladin from Alpha as a viable costume with a lighter spin. Sometimes people just want to dress up as a “good guy” for the holiday, and it doesn’t get much holier than the paladin. This creature’s soul purpose is to go around destroying all the hideous, evil creatures I referenced above.

    Douglas Schuler depicts the figure with a giant cross on his livery covering a full ensemble of chainmail, coif and all! As far as difficulty level goes, obtaining fake armor (the real thing would be extremely heavy to wear around all day) and throwing over a yellow tank top with a cross on it seems relatively straightforwad. Voila! You have a viable Halloween costume; pine trees in the background not included.

    Prodigal Sorcerer

    prodigal sorcerer mtg

    “There are some who call me…Tim.”

    Perhaps the most iconic wizard from Magic’s early days, the creature became synonymous with Tim the Enchanter from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He’s not just a fun throwback to Magic’s golden years, however.

    I could also see a fun costume depicting key elements from Douglas Schuler’s classic artwork for the card. The beret-like hat would be a key feature of the costume, as are the mutton chops he’s sporting. The third and final component would be the black and gold striped shirt he wears for a casual Sunday stroll through the park, perhaps. The simplistic costume may not be recognizable to many, but it’s a clever way of paying homage to the blue mages of Magic.


    joven mtg art

    I would be remiss to not include at least one red card from my article. There are numerous possible choices, of course, but I decided to return to Douglas Shuler and his art once again for the legendary creature Joven. The reason I selected this card should be fairly apparent—just look at the guy! He’s so tough looking with his crossed arms and menacing expression. You don’t want to mess with this human rogue!

    Not only is he a recognizable character, but his costume would again be fairly doable. Start with a gray, sleeveless cloak, throw on some leather bracers and a decorative armband, a wig for those who lack naturally flowing, brown hair, and you’re nearly ready. The final component for the ensemble would be the goatee and excessive eye makeup. He wakes up every morning and decides to put dark makeup around his eyes and down his face, to make it look like he cried and ruined his mascara? It’s not a look I’d strive for, but it definitely stands out!

    Wrapping It Up with an Honorable Mention

    baron sengir mtg

    Before concluding, I wanted to share a fun idea for a family costume, a popular pursuit amongst Halloween enthusiasts. I could have gone a number of ways with this idea, including Aysen Bureaucrats, Folk of An-Havva, or Clergy of the Holy Nimbus.

    Instead, I’m going to look to none other than the Sengir family for inspiration! There’s a costume for everybody! We have Veldrane of Sengir for son, Irini Sengir for daughter, Grandmother Sengir for mother, and Baron Sengir for father.

    grandmother sengir

    To pull off such an ensemble would be quit the impressive feat! Amongst the family grandma’s costume would require the right mask to create that wrinkled look…plus a ton of hair product to keep it standing on end like that. The rest doesn’t look so bad, though! Shout-out to Pete Venters and Susan Van Camp for such iconic artwork.

    veldraine sengir

    That’s a wrap for this week. I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane, exploring some of the more provocative (and feasible) costume ideas as inspired by classic Magic. Do you have your own suggestions you’d add to the list? Drop a comment to me on Twitter (@sigfig8) and I’d love to hear your ideas.

    In the meantime, I want to wish a Happy Halloween to those who celebrate, and a heartfelt thank you for your continued readership.