The Memo: SAG-AFTRA announce restrictions on Halloween costumes for members

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SAG-AFTRA announce restrictions on Halloween costumes for members

Tyler Rigby – 30 October 2023

Happy Halloween! While the rest of us are gearing up to enjoy the revels and celebrations dressed as pop culture favourites like Barbie, members of SAG-AFTRA will be missing out on all the fun, as the guild has forbidden its actors from dressing as characters from struck studios.

You may have thought the strikes were over, but you’d be only half right. The Writers’ Guild of America reached an agreement with the superpower studios of Hollywood at the end of September ending their strike, but SAG-AFTRA (the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) are pushing on through their now over 100-day strike looking for their own deal.

As tensions mount during this portion of the elongated strike, the desire to get back to work butts heads with the determination to get what they see as a fair deal. What’s more, SAG’s decision to enforce this costume ban has not gone down well with its members. Some of the noted criticism involves the apparent silliness in the fact that SAG members would be forbidden from dressing as Austin Butler’s Elvis from Warner Bros.’ film of the same name, but would be welcome to don the high quiff as Jacob Elordi’s take on the icon in Priscilla from the unstruck studio A24.

Historically, trade unions have had a complicated relationship with the law. It was once believed that the courts were full of the same social classes that strike action was targeted at. But this is changing. Increasingly, trade unions are taking employers to court over issues like working conditions and pay. According to government statistics from just two years ago, one in four workers in the UK belonged to a union.

Despite the fallout, the guild has held firm in its decision. All SAG members in both the US and UK (and around the globe) are required to not post any costumes inspired by struck studios characters or else they’ll be in breach of the guidance of their union. Whether you think any sacrifice is necessary for a fair deal, or that Halloween should have nothing to do with this strike at all, if you’re a guild member, it might be better to dress as a generic vampire this year.